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Upper Moody Point - Sierra Ancha, AZ
mini location map2019-10-26
37 by photographer avatarOregon_Hiker
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Upper Moody Point - Sierra Ancha, AZ 
Upper Moody Point - Sierra Ancha, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Oct 26 2019
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking7.20 Miles 1,640 AEG
Hiking7.20 Miles   8 Hrs   5 Mns   0.89 mph
1,640 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
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Blanco
friendofThundergod
The objective for this hike was to reach the eastern most tip of Moody Point where we expected to have some amazing views down into Devil's Chasm and into Cherry Creek Canyon. ssk44 indicated there may be a special treat for us out there based on his study of the area on Google Earth. Over the last year Grasshopper and I had been studying the terrain for the last half mile of this hike for a possible route and determined that it would be over extremely rugged terrain potentially requiring rock climbing skills as well as a willingness to tackle a brushy jungle. GH decided to opt out. So not wanting to attempt it alone, I recruited friendofThundergod. He in turn, recruited his friend, Katie, his trusty dog, Blanco, and Katie's two trail tested dogs, Chipper and Quinci. We would be an unbeatable team. Note: The attached photoset is a collection of photos taken by friendofThundergod, Katie and myself.

We started down the Moody Point Trail from its trail head on FR487 near Aztec Peak at 8:30 am and made good time down the trail except for a few minor mis-directions on my part. :oops: The trail is in good shape except for being somewhat overgrown in some areas with New Mexican Locust with its nasty cats claw thorns. The off-trail part of the hike soon slowed us down as the ridge top narrowed down to a spine covered with rock outcroppings and thick brush. It was a difficult scramble and route finding challenge to follow that narrow ridge spine out to the end of the point. FOTG led the way crossing back and forth across the spine as he searched for the safest route while Katie and I, and their 3 dogs, waited for him to signal us on. An interesting feature as we proceeded along this rocky spine was a narrow crevice about 10 to 20 feet deep that crossed the ridge top. At the narrowest point someone, maybe the ancients, had jammed large rocks into the top of the crevice to form a bridge across to the other side.

The end of the point widened out into a space roughly 150 ft x 150 ft. This area was perched on top of cliffs on all sides and blocked from entrance on the ridge top spine by three 20-30 ft high massive rock knobs clustered together across the ridge top. They looked a little like the knuckles on a large fist. After some searching FOTG found a route around this fist on a narrow ledge, about 20 inches wide at its narrowest point and hidden by brush and a tree. There was a 40 ft drop straight down from the ledge. I was thinking at the time that this would be the best protected location for an ancient hilltop fortress or lookout that I’ve ever been to. And so it was, there in front of us hidden in a cluster of manzanita was the special treat that ssk44 had predicted.

We found two fairly large rectangular rooms (approx 15 x 20 ft) built by the ancients. They were located side by side with partial walls still standing from 2 to 4 ft high. Both rooms had a doorway in one wall. Both doorways faced east. There was an open space between the rooms with a wall on the west side connected to the adjacent room corners. A third room was located about 20 ft away with most of the walls crumbled to the ground and most of it hidden by manzanita. FOTG and Katie found a number of large pottery fragments, some of the largest I’ve seen at ruins. Most had a plain corrugated outer surface quite common to the Sierra Ancha.

This hilltop location had a great view down into the mouth of Devil’s Chasm and the well known ancient dwelling on the north cliff side of that canyon. FOTG and Katie saw people at the dwelling and were able to get their attention by yelling at them, thus supporting the thought that this must have been a lookout to warn the people below when intruders approached.

The hike back to the trailhead went much faster even though it was mostly uphill. Retracing the route through the brush along the spine was made easier by the dogs. Whenever we were unsure which way we had come, we just let the dogs follow their noses and show us the way. The dogs were tired and wanted to get back to the car just as much as we did. Both Blanco and I had trouble climbing up some of the cliffs on the way back, we're both getting old. But Katie and FOTG gave us boosts where needed. At the end of the hike we drove back to camp in Reynold’s Creek Canyon where Grasshopper was waiting with a meal of spaghetti with meatballs and smoked sausage, and a fresh salad. He quickly made some adjustments to the menu to accommodate dietary restrictions of our guests and we all enjoyed an excellent meal from the GH Camp Kitchen.

A special thanks to ssk44 for cluing us in to the location of yet another ancient dwelling. It was an exciting find for FOTG and Katie as well as for myself.
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