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Haunted Canyon HAZoween Hike, AZ
mini location map2014-10-24
26 by photographer avatarOregon_Hiker
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Haunted Canyon HAZoween Hike, AZ 
Haunted Canyon HAZoween Hike, AZ
Backpack avatar Oct 24 2014
Backpack18.40 Miles 3,633 AEG
Backpack18.40 Miles2 Days   6 Hrs   10 Mns   
3,633 ft AEG35 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Partners 9 partners
I decided to make this HAZoween day event a weekend backpack trip to give me some time to poke around the Toney Cabin area looking for some Indian ruins which I suspected were in the hills nearby. This would be my second trip to this area. I arrived at the trail head at 8:00 AM Friday morning hoping to make it to the campsite at the lower end of the Toney Cabin property while the temps were still relatively cool. The rest of the HAZ crew would not be arriving until Saturday morning. It was a pleasant hike mostly in the shade going up the canyon.

I had checked with FOTG about water availability and he said "no problem, you should find water by the 3.5 mile mark. But don't worry, Toney Spring always has water." When there is doubt about water availability I usually carry enough water to make it back out just in case I don't find any. But this time in the interest of keeping my pack light and trusting FOTG I carried just enough to get me to Toney Spring. As it turned out the creek was pretty much dry all the way to the spring except for some small puddles that I'd only use as a last resort to avoid dying of thirst. I got to the campsite, unloaded my pack, and immediately headed for the spring concerned that it would be dry. The spring was only running a trickle but it was enough to keep the trough full with clear, cool water. So I guess FOTG was half right.

I did some exploring on the hill side to the west of Toney Cabin that afternoon and then settled in for the evening. Haunted Canyon lived up to its name. There were lots of spooky sounds all night. I'd wake up and listen for a while, then all of a sudden all noise would stop at the same instant as if some dangerous predator had shown up. Then fifteen or so minutes later the noise would start back up and I would drift off to sleep. Then I woke up to some animal poking its nose under the tent near my head. My first thought was Blanco then, NO! BEAR! :scared: By the time I figured out it was only a nightmare my heart was thumping. But concerned that it might have been real, I yelled out "Hey, get out of here!" There was no sound of a critter running away so I drifted off to sleep again.

Saturday morning I relaxed in camp over breakfast and a pot of coffee, then went for a 2 mile loop hike following an old discontinued trail that followed a ridge line to intersect with the Paradise Trail. From there I dropped down into Haunted Canyon and hiked back to camp arriving at about 10:15 AM. FOTG, Blanco, Cup, John9L and Chumley showed up a few minutes later. Not much later a boy scout troop showed up. Haunted Canyon was starting to get a little crowded. They camped close by but it worked out OK - they weren't any more obnoxious than our group of HAZers. Blanco and Cup kept sneaking into their camp to beg for snacks.

That afternoon after everyone had arrived, we hiked up canyon past the Toney Cabin. On the way back Lee, Stephen and I started poking around off trail in the manzanita looking for rock piles. There were lots of pottery sherds in one area. Stephen and I started plowing through the manzanita heading up to some nearby hilltops. Lee shouted encouragement from below. As we neared a bench on the hillside we started seeing some sherds and by the time we got to the bench, the sherds had become some of the largest pottery pieces I have seen at any of the sites I've been to. All the sherds were the plain redware type. There were some rows of rocks that looked like either foundations or retaining walls but nothing of any height. There was also more recent stuff like rusty cans, food jars, boot soles, a couple rusty 5 gallon cans, and a few short pieces of very weathered 2x3 lumber. This stuff looked like it was from early to mid-1900s. All this raised more questions than answers but the pottery sherds for sure were a significant find. On the way back taking a different route we discovered a rectangular cement and rock trough divided into two deep compartments with a rusty pipe leading to it from up the draw. It didn't really look like a watering trough for cattle - maybe vats for brewing moon shine?

That night we enjoyed a huge campfire thanks to Chumley and John9L for gathering wood. Then the rocks in the fire ring started exploding sending sharp shrapnel whizzing by our heads. I retreated to the safety of my tent. The next morning I hiked out with FOTG, Chumley and John9L on the Bull Basin Trail. Pushing through the brush going up the steep climb out of Haunted Canyon with temperatures probably approaching 90 really slowed me down. FOTG and Chumley offered to take about half of my load about halfway up the hill and it got a lot easier after that. :thanx: FOTG showed us an interesting ruin site along the way that had some walls reaching 5 to 6 ft high but also looked like some of the rocks from the ancient ruin had been re-purposed for a corral. Then it was back to FOTG's car at the Paradise TH and a fast :scared: drive to drop me off at my car.

Thanks to JJ for setting up this HAZ event.
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