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mini location map2018-12-13
24 by photographer avatarLosDosSloFolks
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Indian Mesa RuinsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 13 2018
Hiking7.98 Miles 783 AEG
Hiking7.98 Miles
783 ft AEG12 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Since we were not members of HAZ at the time of this trek this trip log and maybe a few more will be post dated. I have been told by a long time member (I won't mention any names but it rhymes with tibber) that this would be OK to do so I'll proceed :scared: The actual date of this trek was 12/13/18.

On the drive to the trailhead I was pleasantly surprised at the excellent condition of the unpaved section of Table Mesa Road west of the freeway. I'm assuming some of the local businesses keep it up. Well done! It was smooth as glass.

One of the objectives on this trip was to see some of the wild burros known to live in the area. There are other places near Lake Pleasant that boast having them but we tend to stay away from those areas that are heavily trafficked by tourists. We hit the jackpot! We parked in the small public parking area near the river bottom (we were the only car there) and as soon as we opened our car doors to get out we were greeted with a cacophony of braying all around us. It appeared to me that some sort of territorial dispute was occurring between two or three Jack's. But then we saw a cute Jenny trying to look invisible and it became obvious they all were vying for her attention.

Back to the hike...we crossed the dry section of the Agua Fria river and saw another family unit of burros. Some standing, some laying down in the sand. Life looked good for them. After traversing the mesquite forest we
entered a fenced corral with a sign stating the area would close on the 15th (this was the 13th) due to the nesting bald eagles in the area. Phew! We just got in under the wire by dumb luck (my usual kind). The area opens up again to people on June 15th but this is not an area I would want to hike in the summer.

For those of you that have done this hike to the mesa you know what's coming next. Possibly the largest stand or infestation of cockle burr plants in North America. I'm unsure if these plants from hell are indigenous to the area or not but they have no redeeming qualities as far as I'm concerned. :M2C: Maybe they have a pretty bloom...if so, I'll apologize to them personally! They aren't painful, but they just stick to everything (except my hiking pants.) Anyway, after the burrs the climbing portion of the hike begins. Not a lot of AEG and it gets over with pretty quickly and you are on top of the mesa sooner than you think. Just the right amount of workout for a old geezer like me. I want to thank A.Romain, aka tibber, for the excellent YouTube video she posted earlier of this trip that made path finding a breeze for us.

The ruins on top of the mesa are interesting in the fact that the rocks are white limestone as opposed to the dark brown we are used to seeing the Hohokam use in central Az. It looks as if at least one of the rooms has been "helped" out with a little re-stacking. Still a lot of pottery shards laying around considering how many people must have been up here over the years. The best part of it all is the marvelous views from up top. They sure picked a great spot to live and it's definitely very defensible. I can't imagine the trips they must have made on possibly a daily basis just to get water and food. Then I think about the fact that they did it wearing yucca fiber sandals! Geez are we ever fortunate. :worthy:

On the return leg of the trip we got to see one of the bald eagles doing a low altitude glide over the river. I don't know if he/she was fishing or just having a good time but it was spectacular. Large and in charge! I have since learned from the Az. Game and Fish website that ravens stole the eagle eggs out of one of the nests. No young'uns until next year. What a shame. We altered our return route to shake things up (and avoid some burrs) by following the far side of the riverbed back part of the way. Near the end we encountered an adult burro with a juvenile. They looked really friendly but were very cautious of us. They will be in the photoset. Cuteness warning!

On a side note, the software company Bushnell uses for my GPS is FUBAR so I'm unable to post my route properly. I cut out a screenshot of it and will add it to the photoset.
"In beauty happily I walk, With beauty before me I walk, With beauty behind me I walk, With beauty all around me I walk"
Navajo Nightway Chant
HAZ Member
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