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mini location map2010-11-14
20 by photographer avatarJohn9L
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Skull Mesa RuinsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 14 2010
John9L
Hiking14.50 Miles 3,000 AEG
Hiking14.50 Miles
3,000 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
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HAZ - Event
DarthStiller
squatpuke
Made my first trip to the ruins with Chris and Larry from the club. Chris organized and also brought a GPS unit with a route from someone's previous trip. This proved a huge help as we navigated to the ruins. It was very easy to veer off the trail. We were constantly route finding and had to back track at times to relocate the trail.

It was a long and slow hike to the ruins. We made good time reaching the top of the mesa but then it took a while to bushwhack across. I was constantly on the lookout for some petroglyphs but never did find any. As we approached the ruins the going became much more difficult. There are a few challenging sections and we thought we were close but then realized we had one last section. I was pretty wiped out by that point but there was no stopping after we've gone this far.

We crossed the final saddle and reached the lower ruins. You don't see much at first but as you look around you start to notice more and more. There were a variety of dwellings and pot shards were scattered all over. After a few minutes looking around, we made the final climb to the summit to view the fort. The fort is well preserved. There are several standing walls that are roughly five feet high. It's amazing that they are still standing after hundreds of years of exposure. We had lunch and then returned to the saddle.

Once back at the saddle, we looked for a safe shortcut that would take us down to Trail 4. Chris and Larry felt that had a doable route picked out. The more I looked at it the more uncomfortable I felt. I could not justify the risk vs reward. After much discussion, the guys agreed to go back the way we came. From there it was a slow and steady pace back to the trailhead.

It was a long day and a lot of hiking. I doubt I ever return to these ruins but they are definitely worth checking out once. Thanks again to Chris for organizing. It was a great day! One last thing is I'm guesstimating on the mileage and AEG. Both may be a little high but that is how my body feels today!
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