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Patio Area Petroglyph Site, AZ

Guide 4 Triplogs  1 Topic
  2.3 of 5 
no permit
57 4 1
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Distance One Way 1 mile
Trailhead Elevation 1,290 feet
Elevation Gain 100 feet
Accumulated Gain 200 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 1.67
Interest Off-Trail Hiking & Historic
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
3  2017-02-09 GeeEss
18  2013-09-04 beterarcher
23  2013-04-06 Hansenaz
13  2011-12-18
Along the Gila Trail - Dec2011
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,839
Routes 17,059
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 24 Male Gender
Location HAZ, TrailDEX
Historical Weather
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Preferred   Jan, Dec, Feb, Nov
Sun  6:12am - 6:35pm
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journey of the stars
by HAZ_Hikebot

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The Patio Area is the very southeastern tip of the Sierra Estrellas. Historically, it was the most visited place in the mountain range. For Gila Trail travelers, this marked a rest spot after "short-cutting" the Gila River from Pima Butte, near the junction with the Santa Cruz river, to rejoin the Gila River near present-day Gila Bend. They would stop at the Maricopa and Pima villages for rest and water before starting what was considered the most challenging part of the trip - the 40-mile desert, from the Indian villages, across the southern end of the Estrellas, through the pass in the Maricopa range and then back to the river at Gila Bend. Starting in the late 1840s, white settlers going west would use the same trail, stopping at Maricopa Wells and then following the old path west, cutting south of the Estrellas. This route would save them 2-3 days of travel (with wagons!), compared to the easier route following the Gila River north around the mountains.

For all travelers, Native American or Anglo, a mandatory stop was the small flat area at the end of the mountain, directly under what is called Montezuma's Head. It was here that people checked their supplies and rested before heading west. The trip was often made at night to escape the heat, hence the name "Jornada de las Estrellas" (journey of the stars). The Patio Area is a jumble of large and small rocks piled on top of each other. There are dozens of covered areas under and between rocks where people have sought shelter from the elements. Here they carved hundreds of figures in the rock, called petroglyphs, and ground native corn, creating bedrock mortars still found in abundance.

The bad news is that people are rapidly destroying the figures or carrying anything that fits in a pickup!!. In the '50s and 60s, the site was immaculate. Now broken glass and trash are everywhere. Some idiots have even used spray paint on the rocks, causing terrible damage to the petroglyphs. This is Reservation land, and if the Indians were to shoot anybody with a paint can, it would be fine by me. As John Annerino said in a book, ours might be the last generation to see these figures (or what's left of them!)

- John Deal (brazilbrazil)

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2018-07-14 HAZ_Hikebot

    One-Way Notice
    This hike is listed as One-Way.

    When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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    Map Drive
    Strictly 4x4

    To hike
    From Hwy 238 between Maricopa and Gila Bend, head north on the 4x4 track at the intersection with Rio Bravo Road. Alternately, from Hwy 238, turn north onto the 4x4 track at the intersection with N. Rahma Street (by the Muslim Cemetery) and join onto Gasline Road heading towards Montezuma Head at the southern tip of the Sierra Estrella Mountains.

    CAUTION - strictly 4x4 with many deep "sand traps" along the way!
    page created by Randal_Schulhauser on Dec 18 2011 7:03 pm
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