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Sierra Ancha - Ruin V-1-200, AZ
mini location map2016-03-19
13 by photographer avatarOregon_Hiker
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Sierra Ancha - Ruin V-1-200, AZ 
Sierra Ancha - Ruin V-1-200, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 19 2016
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking3.10 Miles 1,565 AEG
Hiking3.10 Miles   7 Hrs   11 Mns   0.43 mph
1,565 ft AEG12 LBS Pack
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
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BEEBEE
This was day 3 of a week long camping trip to the Sierra Ancha with Grasshopper. He and I have had this ruin on our list for a couple years now and it was our top priority for this trip. Unfortunately I talked Hank in to doing a short "warm up" hike to a couple of possible ruin sites the day before and the last one turned in to a tough (but successful) bushwhack. This hike was going to be a much tougher bushwhack and Hank decided to take the day off in camp. BeeBee, who had joined us for the weekend, was ready for the challenge and his skill at route finding through the thick brush got us back to camp in time for dinner.

Our destination was a small compound style ruin assigned the AZ State Museum archaeology site number V:1:200 and named the Ken Gates Compound in Lange's "Echoes in the Canyons:...". Lange only gives a rough description of the general location of ruins in his book so I've employed other means to locate his archaeology sites to within a 240 yd circle. Although only a two room compound enclosed by a defensive wall, it is unique in having walls that have remained standing to almost original height. After driving some distance on FR203 from Camp Grasshopper, we started the hike up the side of the canyon following a gps planning track I had plotted on Google Earth. It was going to be a short 1.6 mile hike to the ruin but we encountered thick brush for the last mile going up a steep incline. The brush was a mix of manzanita, scrub oak, and some other bush that grows so thick it takes considerable effort to push your way through it. This slowed our progress and it took us 2.3 hours to go the last mile. Fortunately there was very little dreaded cats claw and the views just kept getting better as we gained altitude. Somewhere along this grueling bushwhack Brian hinted that maybe it was time to turn back but by then we were too close to the ruin for me to give up.

After finding a break in the cliffs that partially surround the top of the hill, we pushed through to the top. The hill is actually a knob sticking up from the canyon side with a small 100 ft x 70 ft flat area at the top. The compound defensive wall partially surrounds this flat area and varies in height from 3 to 6 feet high for most of its length only having one section that had completely collapsed over the 600+ years since it was built. The plentiful supply of rocks with two flat parallel surfaces provided ideal wall building stones and are the primary reason these walls are still standing. The archaeology sketch of this ruin shows two rectangular rooms. We found one room still had all four walls and the other had three walls still standing to varying heights. The smaller room is approximately 8 x 12 feet with walls approximately 2 ft thick. The site has several oak trees growing up in the middle which makes it impossible to get a photo of the entire ruin layout. The occupants had commanding views of access routes up and down Cherry Creek Canyon and many other ruin sites could be seen from this location.

After spending an hour snooping through the ruin, we started our descent. No pottery sherds or other artifacts were seen, probably due to the thick covering of fallen oak leaves. Brian picked a route going down a different side of the hill that I had avoided with my planning track because of its steepness. This was a much better route avoiding most of the brush and got us back to Brian's FJ in about 1.8 hours but was still slow going because of the care needed to cling to the steep hillside. It was a tough hike for me but the ruin is a real treasure and the views were amazing.
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