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Big Saddle Cowboy Trail, AZ
mini location map2015-07-22
13 by photographer avatarOregon_Hiker
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Big Saddle Cowboy Trail, AZ 
Big Saddle Cowboy Trail, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jul 22 2015
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking3.40 Miles 1,404 AEG
Hiking3.40 Miles   6 Hrs   41 Mns   0.51 mph
1,404 ft AEG15 LBS Pack
 
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This was my second day hike in as many days down the Big Saddle Cowboy Trail from my car camp on the North Rim Grand Canyon above the head of Crazy Jug Canyon. My plan for this second hike was to check out some alcoves for possible cliff dwellings along a ledge near where I had seen pottery sherds the day before. It was a short hike down the trail to where the ledge curved around the south side of a cliff overlooking the ravine where the trail descends down to the esplanade. Working my way along the ledge I passed a couple small alcoves with no sign of ancient habitations until I reached a larger one that would have been a good location for a small multi-room cliff dwelling. There were definite signs of previous habitation but no visible ruin remains. Unfortunately the signs of habitation were from cows. Numerous piles of cow dung, probably dating back to the previous century decorated the floor of the alcove and had been well preserved by the sheltering cliff overhang.

After this disappointment I edged my way along the ledge to where it ended at a point overlooking the esplanade below. This area of the esplanade was in the opposite direction (north) from the area I had explored the day before. Far below I could see what appeared to be the remains of an old trail that possibly descended from the esplanade down to the bottom of Crazy Jug Canyon. This aroused my curiosity so I went back to the Cowboy Trail and headed down to the esplanade. Reaching the possible trail location required some bushwhacking through thickets of Manzanita with some wandering around searching for evidence of a trail. Unfortunately when I got to the possible trail location there was none to be found but I did find a broken pint whiskey bottle probably left by cowboys. Numbers embossed on the bottom of the bottle indicated it was molded in 1964. I hadn't found what I was looking for but the views were awesome so the hike was still a success. As midday approached it was starting to get uncomfortably warm so I abandoned further explorations and returned to camp.
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