|Explore FR203 Upper Peak 5051, AZ|
|Explore FR203 Upper Peak 5051, AZ|| |
Explore FR203 Upper Peak 5051, AZ
|1,200 ft AEG||10 LBS Pack|
||no linked trail guides|
|This was supposed to be a day of rest at Camp Grasshopper in Upper Cherry Creek Canyon after the previous 2 days of hiking. I suggested to Hank that we revisit the ruins I had found near camp on our first day and explore further along that ridge for more ruins. It would be a short easy hike with very little AEG. So off we went. We spent some time looking for artifacts at the ruins but all we found was one small pottery fragment. It had a geometric white pattern lined in black which was unusual for this area where most of the sherds I have seen are the rusty red plain ware type. We had a great view of the cone shaped knob (Peak 5051) we had seen from a distance on our hike the previous day. There had appeared to be ruins on top of the peak in a super zoom picture I had taken that day. We started talking about a way to hike up the brush covered knob. Hank recalled that last year I had plotted a planning track up the south side which I then recalled had looked fairly brush free on Google Earth. Hank decided we should go check it out. So much for the day of rest.
We continued on our planned short hike out to the end of the ridge where there were great views up and down Cherry Creek Canyon as well as up China Spring Canyon. But no more ruins so we headed back down the ridge. On the way back through the ruin site I looked behind us and saw a large Javalina boldly walking directly towards us. I yelled at him but he kept coming. Both Hank and I stopped and held up our trekking poles for protection while yelling. I really wanted to get a picture of this guy. Hank was between me and the Javalina so I decided the beast would go for him first giving me time to snap a few pics. The Javalina stopped his forward advance and I got a couple of pics just before he retreated but then he came back. Finally after several minutes of a standoff the beast took off with a buddy to never be seen again.
We stopped for some refreshment at camp before heading to Peak 5051. (No, not the Chumley type of refreshment but I could have used some after the Javalina encounter.) The route up the south side of Peak 5051 was steep but fairly free of brush with only one 50 yd thicket of Manzanita. We struggled up a short section of cliff at the top which violated my rule of never climbing up something I will be afraid to climb back down. Fortunately after reaching the top we spotted an easy way to get back down. On top we found a rock wall that completely surrounded the perimeter of the peak - about 80 ft in diameter. Sections of the wall were 4-5 feet high but had been much taller when built. There were also crumbled down walls outlining rectangular rooms for living quarters. It appeared that either pot hunters or archaeologists had dug out the interior of these rooms. We found no artifacts laying on the surface. This ruin appeared to have been a hilltop compound or fortress. A nice find and one not mentioned in Haury's 1934 report or Lange's 2006 "Echoes in the Canyons ...".