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Hike to Robbers Roost Cny Ruins and Rock Fence, AZ
mini location map2018-11-02
12 by photographer avatarOregon_Hiker
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Hike to Robbers Roost Cny Ruins and Rock Fence, AZ 
Hike to Robbers Roost Cny Ruins and Rock Fence, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 02 2018
Hiking2.00 Miles 660 AEG
Hiking2.00 Miles   3 Hrs   7 Mns   0.64 mph
660 ft AEG
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This was a short hike southeast along the west side of Robbers Roost Canyon from FR41. Robbers Roost Canyon is one of several canyons which cut into New River Mesa on its northwest side and drain NW into New River. The primary purpose of the hike was to verify the existence of some sections of rock walls which I had seen on Google Earth. This was a continuation of my earlier investigation of these walls in March. [ photoset ] , [ photoset ] , [ photoset ] After that March trip I got in contact with a former TNF Ranger who worked for 23 years as the range conservationist on the Cave Creek Ranger District which includes New River Mesa. She had seen these rock walls while checking out the range with an old rancher. He told her the walls were a fence built for sheep by Charley Cook (who Cook's Mesa was named for). This probably would have been sometime in the late 1800s.

I got a late start from home and it was a long 2+ hour drive to the mouth of Robbers Roost Canyon. The last few miles had sections that were quite rough and steep which made for very slow going. The hike started off up the hillside from FR41 easily picking my way between bushes. After cresting the hill the steep cliff sided rocky spine that descends from New River Mesa came into view. Sections of rock wall were visible along this spine. Closer inspection revealed that some of the walls were most likely part of the ranching fence but further up the spine other walls were definitely part of a hilltop fortress type ruin. I didn't feel like climbing up the face of the cliff to inspect the fortress (maybe because I'd already been up there). [-( So instead I checked out the section of rock fence which descended down the side of the ridge towards a flat bench area above the canyon. A charred fence post at the downhill end of the rock fence held woven wire fencing, the same kind I had seen along other sections of the rock fence back in March. At this point the rock walls of a pueblo compound style Indian ruin were visible hidden in bushes on the flat bench top below. The ruin had at least 5 large rectangular rooms measuring 15x10 to at least 20x15 ft. These rooms were significantly larger than the typical 8x10 ft rooms I've seen in the compound style ruins along Cave Creek. The compound covered an area about 250 ft long by 80 ft wide with the rooms on the outside and a courtyard in the center. Small pottery sherds were scattered on the ground.

After exploring the ruins I headed down into Robbers Roost Canyon to check out another section of ranching rock fence visible on Google Earth. After confirming the existence of this section of fence it was time to head back to the car. The quickest and safest route would have been to go back the way I had come but I much prefer loop hikes to out-and-back. So I decided to return to the car along the bottom of the canyon. It was a steep scramble down the side of the canyon followed by crawling through dense brush. Although shorter than returning the way I had come it turned out taking at least a half hour longer. The reward was finding a remains of a small single room Indian ruin near the creek. This may have been a field house for tending gardens along the creek.

Although running a little later than planned I arrived home at 6:30pm. While backing the FJ Cruiser up the driveway I heard a clunking sound coming from somewhere in the back end. The next day I noticed it again. Upon checking it out I found that the threaded end of the shaft of the left rear shock had separated (not fractured) from its mount on the axle and was thumping against the tire rim when the tire went over a bump. It was very close to going into the side wall of the tire which would be somewhat dangerous if it occurred at speed. So now I get to replace the rear shocks ($172) but at least it's a repair job I can do myself.
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