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Blue Peak 4780 Ruins, AZ
mini location map2014-10-29
19 by photographer avatarOregon_Hiker
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Blue Peak 4780 Ruins, AZ 
Blue Peak 4780 Ruins, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 29 2014
Hiking4.80 Miles 2,204 AEG
Hiking4.80 Miles   9 Hrs   43 Mns   0.49 mph
2,204 ft AEG15 LBS Pack
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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This hike to an ancient Indian ruin on top of Blue Peak in the western Sierra Ancha was a real :pk: for Grasshopper and I. HAZ member ssk44 gets the credit for finding this ruin on Google Earth and helping us plan the hike. :thanx: The turn off to FR267 off of A-Cross Road was difficult to find, even with the aid of Grasshopper's GPS. We missed it on the first and second pass before finally spotting the small track hidden by the desert foliage. There is no road marker until you've driven in on it for about a half mile. The 3.4 mile drive on this narrow 4x4 track was a little rough on my FJ - added lots of AZ pin strips and banged the bottom a few times going in and out of washes. Might be time to add more lift. We parked the FJ near the bottom of the last wash and hiked the last 0.3 miles on the road to the off-trail starting point.

We spent a few minutes at the end of the road searching for a mine that's shown on the map but had no luck. The off-trail started out OK making our way around the thickets of prickly pear, agave and brush. We were following a GPS planning track obtained from ssk44 that crossed Blue Peak Canyon and then started the climb up a ridge line to Blue Peak. Upon reaching Blue Peak Canyon we had to search for a route down the cliff side and then follow the bottom of the canyon over a couple of small pour offs for a short distance to find a route up the opposite side. The climb out was steep with lots of loose rock. When we reached the top of the ridge above this canyon we got a good look at our planned route which passed over a couple of knobs on its way up the ridge line to Blue Peak. The last knob had a formidable looking rock outcrop on top followed by a series of small cliffs along the last stretch of ridge line. We were concerned about the risk of making our way over these obstacles and the possibility of getting cliffed out. There was another ridge line approach to the north which looked safer so we chose that route. After crossing four more drainages we reached the final climb. This climb was a steep :pk: with some rocky outcrops we had to climb over. Grasshopper reached the limit of his endurance at 3415 ft elev with 0.25 miles and 450 ft to go but waved me on to the top. The last few rocky outcrops along this ridge were a little scarey. The rock had lots of fractures and required some careful searching to find solid hand and foot holds which slowed down my progress. The steep scree slopes down each side of the knife-like ridge line brought out my fear of heights.

Climbing up over the last obstacle I was greeted by the view of a rock perimeter wall and a cluster of three rock walled enclosures, each about 10 x 10 ft. There were indeed the ruins of an ancient Indian compound on this high almost inaccessible peak! Most of the walls had crumbled to a height of only 1 to 3 ft but some short sections were 4 to 5 ft high. There was a second level about 15 ft higher up a short scree covered slope. The entire top of the peak was surrounded with the remains of the perimeter wall. There were the remains of two to three more rooms on the south end of the peak top. The inhabitants had a fantastic view of the Tonto Basin to the west and Green Back valley to the northeast. I did a quick look around for artifacts but did not see any. The layer of red rocks on the ground made it difficult to see any pottery sherds which probably would have been of the same red color. Then it was back down the route I had come to where Grasshopper was waiting.

I thought we had plenty of time to make it back to the car and then to paved road before dark but it was slow going back down due to the treacherous footing. Grasshopper was still suffering from the fatigue of the climb and hot temperatures on the way in so he was going much slower than usual. We got confused by the maize of drainages we had to cross and lack of a clear view of our end destination. We would have gotten thoroughly lost if it weren't for our gps's. The sun had dipped below the horizon and it was getting dark by the time we got to the crossing location for Blue Peak Canyon. We climbed out of the canyon with our headlamps on. Mine was pretty dim but sufficient to watch where I was placing my feet. Grasshopper's head lamp seemed to put out as much light as the headlights of a car and left me half blinded every time I looked back at him. The last mile with the head lamps was even slower going as we carefully followed our in-coming track with gps's in one hand and did our best to avoid cactus. Hank had run out of water at the canyon crossing and we split my last quart. I felt something wet running down my pant leg and feared that my water bladder had sprung a leak but thankfully it was just blood from a leg puncture during my last agave encounter. :stretch:

Back at the FJ I finished off the last of my water and we started the slow drive back on the rough 4x4 road. I had to stop and scout out the best track on foot through the treacherous wash crossings and again when we lost the road in a maze of side tracks. Grasshopper produced a large and very bright flashlight from his pack for my use. No wonder his day pack is so heavy! :wlift: We finally made it to paved road at 8:00 pm. When I dropped off GH at his car we discovered a souvenir of our adventure stuck in the rubber molding of the FJ's passenger side window - a large chunk of cholla cactus. Good thing GH kept his window rolled up during the drive out. Back home that night I spent 30 minutes pulling out all the prickly pear cactus spines from my legs and again the next morning pulling them out of the tires on my FJ - definite evidence of another successful and adventurous ruin hunt.
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