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Moody #140 - Rim #139 - Murphy #141 Loop, AZ
mini location map2020-05-08
20 by photographer avatarOregon_Hiker
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Moody #140 - Rim #139 - Murphy #141 Loop, AZ 
Moody #140 - Rim #139 - Murphy #141 Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar May 08 2020
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking7.74 Miles 1,368 AEG
Hiking7.74 Miles   8 Hrs   12 Mns   1.30 mph
1,368 ft AEG   2 Hrs   16 Mns Break
 
1st trip
I set up my car camp near the Moody Trailhead off of FR487 in the Sierra Ancha (near Aztec Peak) for a 6 night stay. The plan was to go on day hikes in the area over the next 5 days. The first day hike was down the Moody Trail #140 then follow the Rim Trail #139 north to where that trail passes by the very upper end of the North Fork Devils Chasm. That part of the canyon had some interesting looking geology on Google Earth which I wanted to explore. My hike went off trail to follow the rim of that canyon north from its head to where it makes a right angle turn to the east. The canyon does indeed have some amazing geology starting out with a very narrow slot canyon that gets wider until it opens up as it turns east. The upper part of the canyon was a deep slot so narrow that a person could touch both sides with his hands near the top if lowered into the void and then it widens out near the bottom.

Following the canyon rim to the east, it opens up but still lives up to its name as a chasm. This canyon is seldom visited because of the rugged terrain and the boulders and brush that choke the bottom. There is a small cliff dwelling in this canyon but I've never been able to confirm its location from view points along the rim. I completed a short loop along the rim and then back to the Trail #139. I had planned to backtrack to the Moody TH on the return but my compulsion to turn all hikes into a loop led to the decision to proceed north on Trail #139 to the Murphy Ranch Trail #141. Then take that trail to its trailhead on FR487 and walk the road back to camp. That part of the Rim Trail and much of the Murphy Trail passes through scenic pine forest and patches of blooming lupine. The Rim Trail appears to get very little traffic other than critters but was in fairly good shape except for a number of fallen trees. Same with the Murphy Trail.

I made the short side track to take a look across the fence at the Murphy Ranch apple orchard. It's privately owned so no trespassing. It has been renamed by the current owner. There has to be some interesting history of that place but my researching hasn't turned up much. Walter G Murphy patented this homestead of 40.6 acres on March 14, 1921. He may have occupied this land several years before the homestead was officially recorded because the official recording couldn't be done until a land survey was completed. I suspect a Robert S Knowles (or Knoles) was the original occupant circa 1890 and was the source of the name for Knoles Hole which is a short distance from the ranch site.

I was sort of hoping to catch a ride back on the road but decided not to push it because of Covid19 social distancing restraints. Just as well, no one offered a ride although one guy on an ATV did stop to check if the old geezer with a blue Frog Toggs Chilly Pad towel wrapped around his head was OK.

It was a scenic hike I would recommend with the addition of the short off trail wander along the rim of that slot canyon part of the upper North Fork Devil's Chasm. The off-trail part is through open forested area so heavy duty bushwhacking can be avoided.
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