After getting lunch at Pita Jungle (I had never eaten there and was astounded at the portion sizes. The Moroccan gazpacho was really wonderful but whatever you do, only order the cup... which is really a big bowl.), we drove the back way to our camp (hotel) to store the cooler and then headed out for Walnut Canyon. We got there with just enough time to do the Island Trail which is accessed thru the Visitors Center.
You immediately start heading down 140 or so steps before you level off and then veer to the right to follow the loop next to the ruins. Quite a few folks were huffing and puffing their way up the steps so I thot I may be doing the same on the way out but thankfully that wouldn't be the case as I would be doing plenty of that getting up that last 1/2 mile or so of O'Leary Peak the next day.
I took a lot of video as the lighting wasn't the best and sometimes video works better coming in and out of shadow. However, the lighting would still prove to be somewhat difficult. It truly is amazing how many ruins there are along the way and across the canyon. We eventually encountered a ranger who told us all of these ruins have been restored due to the poaching of the sites back in the day. He said that many of the artifacts and such are in various museums too. People just took whatever they could and some even dynamited
the shelters to try and find more.
Also what I found interesting is originally the homes were plasterd by the women. The ranger said "tho all of the dwellings along the trail have been stabilized or restored, some original mortars remain in many of the walls. Also, like many dwellings such as these, nature provided the back wall, floor and leak-proof ceiling thereby requiring no excavation."
One set of rooms we walked by did not house people. Archeologists think many rooms were used to store tools, food and water. Residents could have stored a 100-day water supply without much difficulty, given large pottery vessels and the abundant storage rooms found in the canyon.
As we rounded the corner the trail was now shaded and we could see the moon rising above the opposite canyon wall. We enjoyed our walk as we observed the flora along the way and enjoyed the cooler temps. And finally it was our turn to climb the stairs. Ambika sprinted a couple sets of them but she was breathing pretty hard when she was done
We only had about 10 minutes left before closing time to look thru the gift shop. Ambika found this great Trail Guide booklet that included pictures of some of the beautiful interpretive signs we saw on the trail but neither of us had any money so we went out to Mr. desertgirl and had him empty his wallet. So with $8 dollars and 2 minutes we went back in to the Center. I showed Ambika this book, Flowers of the SW Mountains
for only $3.95 that Wendy and I had picked up at the Gila Wildernss Center and then we each got the Walnut Canyon Island Trail Guide. We proudly walked out with our nickel in change
to present Mr. desertgirl.
It had been 19 years since I was last here so it was good to revisit especially with my hiking companions as they enjoy this stuff as much as I do.
Video 1 (1st part of hike):http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ecb8uQVmWUc
Video 2 (2nd part of hike):http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdA96aTF9DY