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Doll BabyTrail Ruins, AZ
mini location map2014-11-05
30 by photographer avatarOregon_Hiker
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Doll BabyTrail Ruins, AZ 
Doll BabyTrail Ruins, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 05 2014
Hiking4.70 Miles 1,332 AEG
Hiking4.70 Miles   6 Hrs   25 Mns   0.73 mph
1,332 ft AEG15 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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This was a hike with GH to check out some ruins off of the Doll Baby Trail in the Mazatzal Wilderness. ssk44 had alerted us to some ruins he had spotted on a hill top using Google Earth. A quick check of revealed that guyinthewoods had already been there. His pictures showed some lengthy and very tall ruin walls. The MyTopo map in Mapdex also showed a ruin at this site so it is obviously well known. The HAZ CT 1930 map showed 3 possible ruin sites in this area including the well known site so we decided to check out the other locations as time and energy allowed.

At the Doll Baby TH we met Tom who was starting out for a solo 6 day backpack on the section of the AZT from LF Ranch to Sunflower, about 50 miles. He only had two sections of the AZT left to complete, this one and the one crossing the Grand Canyon. In response to our question he revealed that he is not a HAZer but is a member of some competing website :o the name of which I have forgotten but seems to offer similar features. The first section of the hike is along the LF Ranch road which switchbacks up to a saddle on the ridgeline we would follow to the ruin site. We left Tom at the saddle and wished him good luck. He would need it, he was really huffing and puffing up the final grade to the saddle and had much worse ahead of him. The ruin site is on top of an east facing cliff which the road passes under on its way up to the saddle. We found a fairly heavily traveled trail leading up the spine of the ridge from the road but it splits in to several different trails when it starts to climb up through the final rock outcroppings before reaching the top. We picked one that appeared to follow guyinthewoods' gps track and we were soon at the top with some minor scrambling along the way.

There were great views of the East Verde River Valley from the top of the flat topped ridge so we took our time taking lots of pictures. After proceeding south about 500 yds along the top of the east facing cliff, a long high rock wall loomed into view. It's highest section was about 7 feet high. This hilltop compound or fortress is U-shaped with the open side of the U on the cliff side and measures about 135 ft by 65 ft. The U is split in half my a wall perpendicular to the cliff edge. One end of this center wall has a smaller partial rock walled enclosure that could have been a room. Other than that one possible room there was no other evidence of rooms inside the enclosure and we found no pottery sherds or metates. At the south end of the west wall was an L-shaped walled entry. The huge amount of rock required to build these walls suggests that the builders had to haul rock from up to a quarter mile away. The purpose of this structure is not clear. Why were there no rooms inside and why was it split in half? Maybe there had been rooms that were built out of materials which didn't survive the 800 or so years since it was built. Too many unanswered questions as usual.

Next we headed for what I'm calling DBT Ruin #2. The GPS waypoint I had marked for this site based on the CT1930 topo map was about 0.6 miles SE of the first ruin. Getting to this second ruin site required some bushwacking through waist high brush and we started wandering up the hillside in what we thought was the correct direction although GH and I had some disagreement on which direction. We were also trying to pick the clearest path and that kept getting us way off. I was convinced the ruin site was on top of a knob ahead of us and kept plowing through the brush in that direction. After a while it appeared that the straight line distance to the site on my gps was increasing instead of decreasing but I chose to ignore it. We passed a couple of short wall sections along the top of rock outcroppings that looked too amateur and small for those made by the ancients - not something that would have survived 800 years without completely falling down. After stopping on top of a false summit below our destination we looked around and spotted a long rock wall crossing the flat top of a bluff to the south of us across a deep ravine. Assuming this was ruin site #2 and without further consulting our GPS's, we settled for some telephoto pictures of the distant ruin site. It's location was very difficult to access surrounded on three sides by cliffs and a long hike to get around the upper end of the ravine. The wall was similar in construction to those at the first ruin and appeared to be a defensive wall forming a barrier across the section between cliffs. Again there appeared to be no walled rooms inside the defensive perimeter. Later when uploading my gps track on to HAZ I would discover that this site was not at the location we had been attempting to reach. Visually searching pictures and GE for visible ruins at the "correct" site revealed that there was probably nothing there and if we had gone to that location we would have never found this other site. Sometimes our gps bumbling pays off.

We then set off to check out the third possible ruin site. It was on the east side of the East Verde River not far from the trail head. We found nothing there but a huge Cottonwood tree. If there had been a ruin here it would have been washed away long ago by flash floods. I thought I spotted a pile of rocks high on the hilltop above the river that looked suspiciously man made. Not wanting to climb the hill we settled for a telephoto picture. I discovered when later zooming in on the picture on my PC that it was just a thicket of dead prickly pear which had turned a gray rock color. Oh well, two out of three isn't too bad when looking for old Indian Ruins.

Note: We have chosen to show these ruin sites on HAZ because of the apparent absence of artifacts and because the most accessible one appears to already be well known.
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