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West Black Mesa Loop, AZ
mini location map2020-10-24
27 by photographer avatarHansenaz
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West Black Mesa Loop, AZ 
West Black Mesa Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Oct 24 2020
Hansenaz
Hiking6.33 Miles 881 AEG
Hiking6.33 Miles   5 Hrs   25 Mns   1.26 mph
881 ft AEG      24 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I didn't have a good idea of where to go today. I initially planned a "central" eastside of Black Mesa walk, the edge above the Agua Fria is usually worth exploring. But Friday afternoon I ran across an old gps track which reminded me I'd already walked the planned route 4years ago so I needed a quick plan B.

I've not looked on the west side of the mesa (west of I-17) before. Though I didn't expect to find much in the tall grass it had an easy approach (at the I-17 Sunset rest stop exit) so why not?

For the first hour or so I only saw one or two small pieces of pottery and was prepared to be skunked. But then I walked right into a really nice petroglyph and things started looking up. Small (not too good) petroglyphs started showing up and then a ruin site with associated collapsed walls, petroglyphs and pottery sherds pretty near the Interstate.

I had originally thought I'd go down Alkali Canyon - sometimes drops like that have rock art and metates at "water falls". But the very top was pinched by the highway and looking down it looked both "no fun" and unlikely to have ever had much traffic. So I continued north along the edge. Good choice because there was a pretty substantial ruin at the mesa corner.

Steep drop down to Alkali Creek (butt sliding on crumbly rock was involved) then I walked the flats through ranch land before walking up to the car. I don't think a lot of hikers travel around here - the few faint paths on the mesa top probably due to wildlife. A ranch road on the flats is probably the best route but I didn't figure that out til the end.

Still learning the phone camera. I now know the funny noise it makes when I take a picture means it's recording a video. Got a lot of footage inside my pocket.
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