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Lower Deep Creek Ruins, AZ
mini location map2018-02-24
15 by photographer avatarssk44
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Lower Deep Creek Ruins, AZ 
Lower Deep Creek Ruins, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Feb 24 2018
ssk44
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I recently found what may end up being one of the most amazing obscure ruins sites I've had the privilege of visiting. It's certainly the best of this season. The Sierra Ancha Wilderness always delivers. After finding this site on GE I immediately checked in with Larry (Oregon Hiker). There's no way I've found something within the Sierra Ancha Wilderness that he hasn't already been to. To my shock and surprise, he knew very little about it. How could this site slip through the cracks? Wow.. I just couldn't wait to see it in person. The hike was within my ability. That actually surprised me. Sierra Ancha ruin sites are not known for being user friendly. The signs were there on satellite. It was vague but I just knew in my gut what I was seeing. It was time to see it person. The cool temps this weekend easily helped persuade me.

This site is a combo cliff dwelling butte ruin. My first view of the ruin was from about 250 yards away out on an isolated point. I immediately knew I was in for a treat. This was like no ruin I've ever visited. It was a small cliff lined butte with long built up terraces on two sides. All sides of the butte had cliff dwellings. The butte summit had a stunning large central room with perfectly intact walls. The stones were intricately stacked. The backside summit wall nearly defied gravity. It was very tall and actually curved outward. The cliff dwelling rooms were in bad shape but you could still envision some of the original design intent. One section appeared to have tiered levels. Deep piles of stone littered the summit base. This would have been a very special dwelling back in its day. I would have loved to see that. I need a time machine! The biggest surprise was what appeared to be a decorative hand stacked stone spire (see original photos 10 & 11). I've never seen anything like that. I actually doubted what I was seeing at the time in person. Zooming in on my photo at home clearly showed intricately stacked and places stone layers criss crossing from one side to the other. I can't believe that is still standing after all these years. These sites are about 800 years old. It's just sitting there frozen in time. The tall backside summit wall presented the same awe and wonder. Still perfectly intact.

Some of you may have noticed that I don't have any photos of the upper summit room. I couldn't get up there!! I looked from every possible angle. Vertical crumbling cliff edges everywhere. I finally spotted a curving line with stacked rocks below the upper wall that led to the backside. I found the access.. Good grief. It was nearly vertical and very high up. I carefully scrambled my way up the loose crumbling rock face to an upper small ledge. So close and yet so far.. That's were it went vertical. It looked climbable but it was sketchy. It would have required a backwards down climb. That's where I draw the line. I do now like down climbing backwards. It was just too much. I was by myself. I just didn't have the guts for it. I didn't want to get stuck up there or fall off trying. With two people, it might be a different story. Moral support if nothing else. Send the more adept climber down first.. They can help place your foot holds from below. At least then you're not going down blind.

That upper walled room was like a cherry sitting on a fudge sundae. I wanted up there so bad. I'm glad I passed. I'm getting a bit more wise. Age and bad prior experiences does that to you. You learn as you go in life. The trick is staying alive in the process. This was a special hike. One more for the books. My life story.


Eric :D



PS.. A short review. I was using a new Canon G9X on this trip. I needed a new work camera and this model combo's nicely for casual use. I did not get the new Mark II model. The old model is currently $380 at B&H. That's hard to pass up. The new model didn't really offer any improvements that I personally needed. Very briefly.. I love this camera. It produces quality photos in-camera and I found it easy to use. The menus are very similar to Canon DSLR's so that may have helped. Using the touch screen in conjunction with the inner menus was a bit different but I adapted quickly. Canon's new 1 inch sensor Powershot cameras are worth the money. The G9X is a powerful pocket camera. Sensor size does matter.


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