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Eastern Sierra Ancha FR202, AZ
mini location map2017-04-12
48 by photographer avatarOregon_Hiker
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Eastern Sierra Ancha FR202, AZ 
Eastern Sierra Ancha FR202, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Apr 12 2017
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking24.00 Miles
Hiking24.00 Miles
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
Grasshopper
This triplog and the accompanying photoset cover 6 days of hiking and 7 nights car camping from April 11 to 18 with fellow HAZer, Grasshopper, in an area of the Eastern Sierra Ancha off of FR202. During this time we hiked to 5 hilltop compound type Indian ruins , the sites of 3 abandoned mining camps, numerous abandoned asbestos mines, an asbestos ore processing mill site, and a still functioning historical cattle ranch. This is a somewhat remote area with no maintained hiking trails or camp grounds. The nearest town of any consequence, Globe, is about 50-60 miles away requiring about a three hour drive with two of those hours on a rough 18-20 mile dirt road. The area is mostly a high plateau at about 5200 to 5550 ft elevation with numerous canyons cutting through it and scattered peaks interrupting the horizon. Dryer areas have scattered Alligator Juniper trees along with several varieties of bushes and cactus. Areas with more moisture have oak and pine trees mixed with the junipers , thickets of brush including Manzanita and scrub oak, isolated clumps of agave and banana yucca and the ever present prickly pear.
The area is rich in archaeological evidence of occupation by the Salado Indians 600-800 years ago. The Salado mysteriously disappeared in the early 1400s and Apache Indians moved into the area shortly after and still occupy the Apache Indian Reservation only a few miles away. In about the 1880s cattle ranchers moved in to the area followed by a few homesteaders. The Pleasant Valley War of 1882 to 1892 started in nearby Young and most likely this area saw some action in that conflict between feuding ranching families. The homesteaders are now long gone but cattle ranching continues with a few ranch houses remaining in the area extending up to the town of Young. Asbestos mining was initiated here in the early 1900s. The first mines in 1916-17 had to pack out ore on horseback 50 miles to Globe. Many mines are scattered over a wide area and were operational for brief periods from 1916 to about 1961 but they were never large producers of asbestos. Because of the long distances over rough roads to transport ore, a local ore processing mill was built and operated here on Lacey Forks Canyon. It was in operation until 1961 when it burned down which appears to have ended asbestos mining in the area. The Clean Air Act with its restrictions on asbestos dust in the early 1970s was the final straw that made mining asbestos unprofitable in this area.
Our campsite, located by scanning Google Earth, worked well with four large Alligator Junipers providing shade for our extended camp. The weather was ideal with peak day time temperatures of 65-70 degrees. The coyotes serenaded us at dusk and dawn. We only had one nighttime visitor who I heard snooping around camp but never identified (probably javalina). There was plenty of welcome solitude with no human encounters except one 4-passenger ATV on Saturday and a surprise encounter with 2 other intrepid explorers at the most remote Indian ruin which we visited on our last day. It was another memorable and fun trip to the Sierra Ancha Mountains, one of my favorite places in AZ.
Geology
Geology
Asbestos
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