|East Verde - Doll Baby Ruins Loop, AZ|
|East Verde - Doll Baby Ruins Loop, AZ|| |
East Verde - Doll Baby Ruins Loop, AZ
|Hiking||8.80 Miles|| 5 Hrs 15 Mns ||1.76 mph|
|1,749 ft AEG|| 15 Mns Break||25 LBS Pack|
|Although we enjoyed a nice cool overnight and were well-rested, after the long, tough climb of yesterday I knew Tracey wasn't going to go for another one like it, say, the North Peak Trail (one of the planned possibilities) so it was time to adjust the expectations just a bit.
While we began on a trail (one of her dictates) we were soon boulder-hopping and canyoneering along the East Verde River. One more than one occasion we wondered if this was the end and we'd have to turn back. (Either that or get real wet... not gonna happen!)
And of course, for the nth time, we are HAZ Tracks blind because I had not planned on hiking along the river. Oh well, that's the reason I'll always have a GPS along. Of course we couldn't get lost following the river, but it would be nice to know if we had to bail out and climb we'd have an idea of what route would work best.
But, once we completed what would turn out to be the highest climb up the north wall to avoid a large deep pool, we figured no matter how creative we had to get, we were not turning back. As soon as we encountered massive evidence of bovines we knew the worst was behind us.
Along the flat area toward L F Ranch we stopped at a defunct (well-rusted pump) windmill and a tank, which appeared to be unused in a long time. Tracey took this photo stop as a quick snack stop as well. But as usual, once the photos are done we're on the move... as she was still eating her Fiber One bar.
So... by time she finished her snack, finally having both hands free, she realized her hiking pole was back at the windmill. Ok so it wasn't more than a few hundred yards, but it wasn't something she had in mind either.
Now it was time to find our way across the river one last time and head toward the L F Ranch. Before reaching the ranch we came across a couple large cairns, and what-do-you-know, it was part of AZT #24. Since we had spent way more time than expected on the hike along the East Verde River, we decided to skip the ranch and start heading south. We did just that until we heard the calls of various birds, including a hawk circling above us. But the more I listened I knew there had to be peacocks somewhere nearby. And since I'm so easily distracted, what's another distraction? So I headed straight toward the sound, and was rewarded by a quick photo op.
Ok, time to get moving! We continued along AZT #24 just until it veered away from FR 406W, where we continued along the road. Next up, the Doll Baby ruins site on Peak 4104. But rather than continue along the road to the well-beaten trail up to the top, we decided to take a more direct approach, at least from where we were on FR 406W when we spotted a tall cairn marking a long-lost road. By seeking out the various game trails we found a reasonable trail up toward the summit. When we came to the first large flat ledge with a view over FR 406W and toward the East Verde River we sat down for lunch.
Lunch over and within a few hundred yards of the ruin site we quickened our pace. It turned out to be just like the photos from Hank and Larry's photosets of late last year, one of the largest ruins we'd encountered. While exploring the site, we encountered a couple older women and two poodles, no less. They told us they found five metates a short distance below toward the north. Since we already planned on continuing northward along the edge of the bluff, why not seek them out.
We were expecting five individual metates, so were a bit surprised by one large boulder with four metates ground into it, and the fifth metate on another boulder nearby. As I wandered around them I found a small alcove which being so close to the metates we thought may well have been used as a grain storehouse. It was fun to speculate, but who knows?
Ok, so now we're thinking about the second ruin Hank and Larry had been interested in. We continued along the bluffs until we found a drainage that looked easy enough, scanned for and found a few game trails and cow-paths and proceeded to thrash through the brush to the bottom of the drainage, where we quickly decided to skip ruins #2 and head back to the trailhead. On the last leg along FR 406W we scanned the slopes around the second ruin site and believe we have a good plan of attack for the next time we are up this way.
East Verde River/Doll Baby Ridge panorama composite
(Sorry, the video features just a few glimpses of the actual ruin site... I put off the ruin site video while the two poodles were running loose and totally spaced-it... such is life when the mind wanders so.)