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Black Mesa-Arrastre Creek Loop, AZ
mini location map2014-04-26
33 by photographer avatarHansenaz
photographer avatar
page 1   2   3
 
Black Mesa-Arrastre Creek Loop, AZ 
Black Mesa-Arrastre Creek Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Apr 26 2014
Hansenaz
Hiking5.23 Miles 1,472 AEG
Hiking5.23 Miles   5 Hrs   3 Mns   1.32 mph
1,472 ft AEG   1 Hour   6 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Alston found interesting stuff at the top of Arrastre Creek and posted a nice triplog. I did some extensive research (well I Googled it) and found out there are petroglyphs somewhere in that canyon. So with a possible rainy day on tap I thought this would be a nice trip with minimal mud since I'd be parking (approx) on I-17.

Parked at the Bumble Bee exit and though I first planned to contour (well above the highway) over to the Arrastre:I-17 intersection, the contouring was no fun so I headed up to the mesa and walked to the upper part of the "canyon". It was rainy and windy and I didn't see anything interesting along the way. The cliff band on the south side of Arrastre showed potential and was nice to walk along but I saw no signs from the ancient folks until I got to the top of the canyon. Here I saw a big concentration of bedrock metates and some old petroglyphs. Immediately north were impressive rock walls/corrals. All this was well characterized by Alston. I've not seen anything like these well built corrals before...but one idea (gleaned from a 2009 issue of Big Bug News) is that they were made by the US Army during the Indian wars. Makes sense to me.

Now the petroglyph search. Heading down the drainage I soon hit a big drop/waterfall (dry -the light rain had stopped). A load of petroglyphs could be seen on the rock walls (mainly) below the falls. I took a long way around to get down there, but from below it looks like there is a direct route using some ramps for the brave and agile. It's an impressive collection of petroglyphs and there are many very faded ones mixed in the more prominent ones. Apparently these glyphs were studied in detail by the late Grace Schoonover who linked many of the designs to Hopi culture. They do look different compared to most of the petroglyphs I've seen in the Perry Mesa area.

I continued down the rocky drainage and encountered several more smaller pour offs, a few water pools, a defunct windmill, and a couple more metates. The drainage hit I-17 about 100' below road level so I walked up to the shoulder and took that back to the car.

I can recommend the trip from mesa edge down to the road; however making it a loop from the exit is not great. For the energetic a good idea might be to start on top (like Alston), take Arrastre down, then return up the spur canyon just south of Arrastre.
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