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mini location map2015-10-31
14 by photographer avatarOregon_Hiker
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Rough CanyonGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Oct 31 2015
Oregon_Hiker
Canyoneering8.50 Miles 1,475 AEG
Canyoneering8.50 Miles   8 Hrs   40 Mns   0.98 mph
1,475 ft AEG12 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
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It was my fifth day camped at Reavis Ranch and after two restful days taking short hikes around the ranch area I decided to do something a little more adventurous. Upper Rough Canyon had intrigued me while planning for this 6 day trip but the routes others had taken to get there seemed a little too much for me both in duration and exposure. So I had taken a look at Google Earth and plotted a "short cut" that headed mostly due west from the Reavis Ranch 109 South trail about 2 trail miles south of the ranch. Although I had been warned that this route was "Manzanita Hell" there appeared to be a mostly clear route into the upper part of the canyon. So I decided to go check out my GE planning track to see if it was a viable route with no intention of venturing down Rough Canyon into the rugged narrows or looking for the cliff dwellings others had found there (yeh, right!).

It was a beautiful morning, I was feeling great and was setting a good pace up 109 South when I encountered two young gentlemen out on a morning stroll from their camp. That encounter developed into a lengthy delay as we exchanged stories about the area. Oh well, I wasn't in a hurry since I was only going to "check out" the off trail route. The off trail section of my planning track turned out to be accurate in leading me on an easy path through clearings and animal trails all the way into the park like setting of upper Rough Canyon. It also followed what appeared to be an old road bed as it descended from the saddle dividing Rough Canyon from Reavis valley. This old road bed even appeared to descend along my track into upper Rough canyon and follow the creek for a short distance. I have since found out from the guy who's camera I found that there were some fire breaks bulldozed in this area during a fire in the 1960s which probably explain the road like features I saw.

My track followed a small ridge that protrudes westward into upper Rough Canyon. At the end of this ridge where it starts to drop down into the canyon bottom there were the remains of an Indian ruin - lots of rock piles hidden in Manzanita thickets. While poking around in the ruins I found an old digital camera laying on the ground. After arriving home I was able to recover 143 pictures from the memory stick and with the help of HAZer wallyfrack was able to identify and get in touch with the owner. see forum http://hikearizona.com...

The area along the creek where I descended into upper Rough Canyon was a park like setting with towering Ponderosa pines. Despite the all-night rain just two days ago the creek bed was dry. I would see a few isolated small pools of water further down canyon. At this point the upper Rough Cny cliff dwellings were only about a half mile away so I decided to go for it even though my leisurely pace had used up a lot of daylight hours. Probably not the best decision. The canyon narrowed between steep side walls with several poor offs and many large boulders littering the creek bottom. I hate descending pour offs and wasted a lot of time going high up on the hill sides to bypass them. As I approached what appeared to be a smaller pour off I started to climb an animal trail up the creek bank to bypass this section. Waiting at the top in a gap between boulders was a black tail all coiled and ready to strike. He didn't give his warning buzz until I was only a few feet outside his striking zone. He would not leave his position blocking my path so I retreated to the creek bottom and started down through the pour off which turned out to not be a pour off and was a much easier route. Sometimes a rattlesnake encounter can be a good thing. This encounter plus the sudden realization that my Spot emergency locator probably would not be able to contact a communication satellite from down in the canyon scared the hell out of me but I kept going.

I finally found one of the cliff dwellings at least an hour past what would have been a reasonable turn around time. I took a few quick photos and knew there must be another dwelling near by but just didn't want to take the time looking for it. I didn't want to take the lengthy pour off bypasses on the way back so I followed a track from FOTG from an earlier visit when he had his dogs with him. Despite the poor GPS reception down in this deep narrow canyon his track was still reliable and led me to much shorter bypasses around the poor offs. As I headed back up the canyon bottom I spotted fragments of blue tarp on a shelf above the creek bed. That was probably the location where the injured hiker had waited a week for rescue (see hike description for more details). Although trying to make a hasty retreat up the canyon it still took me an hour and 15 minutes to go about 0.5 miles in this rough section. After that it was a fairly quick hike backtracking to the Reavis Trail and I was able to make it back to camp before dark.
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