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Henderson Trail #53
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8 by photographer avatarOregon_Hiker
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Henderson Trail #53Prescott, AZ
Prescott, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 25 2013
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking2.60 Miles 760 AEG
Hiking2.60 Miles
760 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
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This hike was on the morning of Day 2 of my 3 day exploration of possible Indian ruin sites in the mountains along Henderson Trail #53. The hike starts at my campsite for the first night just off of FR181 (car camping) and heads north crossing trail #53 towards the location of a ruin site marked on the 1973 USGS Sycamore Basin topo map. There is no trail so bushwhacking around and through some brush was required and the uphill section requires some route finding around cliff outcroppings but is fairly easy if you take the time to find a safe route.

As I started up the hill towards the bench location of the ruin there appeared a stone wall of perfectly fitted volcanic rock - wow, those Indians were busy but for what purpose? Closer inspection revealed it was a natural geologic feature but it primed me for what I was hoping to find up on the bench. Arrived at the bench and after thorough searching could not find any sign of Indian ruins - not sure why the location was marked as ruins on the old USGS map. I decided to explore further up the ridge line where there appeared to be at least two more benches. While circumnavigating a cliff outcropping I stumbled upon a cave which had the remains of a rock wall at the entrance. The cave appeared to have been blackened by campfire smoke but I've noticed that the rock can be stained black from natural causes so I'm not sure. The back of the cave funneled down to a small passageway just big enough for a person to slide through on their stomach. It may have opened up past this small opening but cave crawling is not my thing. Anyway, it appeared to have some connection with past Indian occupation - maybe that's why the "ruin" site was indicated on the old map.

I kept climbing higher up the ridge line and stopped at the base of a cliff for a lunch break. After lunch I decided to turn around at this point and head back to camp. It appeared that a ledge could be followed around the cliff on the west side which then provided access to a slope which could be climbed to the top of the cliff. This is still a considerable distance below the top of these mountains. The hike back to camp was without incident and I packed up the car to drive further east along FR181 to look for other interesting areas to explore that afternoon on the north side of trail #53.
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Henderson Trail #53Prescott, AZ
Prescott, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 25 2013
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking2.20 Miles 820 AEG
Hiking2.20 Miles
820 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This is my third short day hike on a 3 day search for Indian Ruins along the north side of Henderson Trail #53 and my 2nd hike posted for this day. For this hike I drove 3.1 miles east along FR181 from my previous night's campsite. I found a drive-in campsite about a 100 yards off the road and just south of the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness. The mountains here have high cliffs with deep cuts made by the short drainages flowing southward.

I did not have any "known" ruin locations to seek for this hike so I just headed off across country to an area of the cliffs that looked promising. I hiked up the west side of a drainage into an area that was like a huge amphitheater surrounded on three sides by high cliffs. I found no sign of Indian ruins although the scenery alone made the effort worthwhile.

I hiked back down out of this amphitheater and traversed across a hillside to the east to reach the next drainage. I climbed up the west side of that drainage until I reached the base of a cliff. At this location I found the remains of dwelling rock walls but nothing significant. Then I looked to the west across the drainage and there on a ledge of the cliff was a rectangular walled structure. Close examination through my binoculars revealed that it had very well constructed rock walls that had stayed intact even though it had been exposed sufficiently to the elements to loose all its original adobe mortar and wall plaster. It was a curious structure with no visible roof beams and appeared small for a dwelling. I suspect that it may have been a grainery for storing food. There were several rock walls on a ledge below that appeared to be 5 to 6 feet tall all though size/height can be deceiving when viewed at a distance. It appeared that technical rock climbing skills and equipment might be required to reach these ruins. It was getting late in the day so I headed back to camp.
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