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Lower Deep Creek Ruins, AZ
mini location map2018-04-19
18 by photographer avatarOregon_Hiker
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Lower Deep Creek Ruins, AZ 
Lower Deep Creek Ruins, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 19 2018
Hiking4.20 Miles 744 AEG
Hiking4.20 Miles   6 Hrs      0.70 mph
744 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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This was our first planned day hike on a week long car camping trip to the Sierra Ancha Mountains. Our camp was within a quarter mile of the SA Wilderness Boundary and all our planned hikes would be within the southern part of the wilderness. ssk44 had previously located this ruin on Google Earth and personally checked it out in February. However we would find out a couple days later when RedRox44 visited us that ssk44 was not the first HAZer to go to that ruin site. (sorry, ssk44) She had been there years before but never reported it on HAZ. It was a pleasant hike with great views of the south side of the SA. More than half of the hike is off-trail but animal trails made it easy to make our way through the scrub oak and manzanita.

The ruin lived up to ssk44's description. The layout of the site is somewhat unique in that there is a small cliff sided butte in the center of what was at one time about a 20-30 room pueblo style community. There was evidence of retaining walls along two sides of the butte to provide level ground for building rooms. Most of the walls had collapsed partially or completely but there were many sections 3 to 4 ft high. One remarkable section of wall was slightly over 10 feet tall and held back rock rubble from collapsed walls above it almost to the top of the wall. There were walls on top of the butte indicating probably 2 to 4 rooms were located there. The cliff sides of the butte were crumbling layers of rock making it too risky for GH and I to consider trying to climb to the top.

There is evidence of a bulldozed road leading along one side of the ruin. There was a lot of prospecting/mining activity in this area in the mid-1900s. We saw many cairns marking mining claims and stumbled across one that still had the claim paper in a very rusty tin can hidden in the rock pile. It was for the Donna Lee #1 claim and was dated 1967. Mining history indicates claims in this area were originally made in the 1950s so the claim we found was probably somebody "re-claiming" old claims that had not been patented. It appears that the bulldozer may have knocked out a substantial section of the pueblo style rooms on the west side of the ruin. Large piles of rocks (building blocks) had been pushed down the hillside to clear a pad where a vertical 3-4 inch diameter pipe is stuck in the ground. This was probably left there by a core drilling machine used to check for minerals in core samples.

This ruin is significant enough in size and uniqueness that I'm surprised there is no mention of it in the "Echoes in the Canyon" archeology report of the Sierra Ancha. It does show up in a map showing the scattering of sites throughout the SA so they must have known of its existence. Perhaps they didn't include it in their report because it had been so corrupted by mining activities.

We got back to camp in time to relax and cook ourselves a nice dinner before dark. Unfortunately the wind had started to blow kicking up enough dust to obscure the great views from our ridge top campsite. After dinner I retreated to the shelter of my FJ Cruiser while GH got to listen to the wind flapping his tent half the night. Just part of the wilderness experience. :)

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