|Middle Mtn Explore - NW Sierra Ancha, AZ|
|Middle Mtn Explore - NW Sierra Ancha, AZ|| |
Middle Mtn Explore - NW Sierra Ancha, AZ
|Hiking||2.76 Miles|| 2 Hrs 34 Mns ||1.13 mph|
|291 ft AEG|| 8 Mns Break|
||no linked trail guides|
|The purpose of this hike was to check out what appeared to be a ruin wall on Google Earth with access provided by a road which wrapped around the south end of Middle Mountain where the "wall" was located. This road does not appear on maps but could be clearly seen on Google Earth. I was curious about the purpose of the road. The hike starts on FR236 near the Cataract Tank. We easily found the mysterious road and it made a good hiking trail although it is not drivable due to a washout and at least one fallen tree. After a short uphill scramble to the "wall" location we discovered it was only a rock outcropping about 3 feet tall. After putting up with some ribbing from GH we did some exploring in the nearby area looking for signs of ancient habitation but found none. We then returned to the road and followed it to its end.|
Near the end of the road we found three holes in the center of the road spaced at about 100 yd intervals. The vertical holes were about 8 inches in diameter. Dropping a rock in one of the holes it took 11 seconds before it hit an obstruction that stopped it. My best guess is that these were drill holes for obtaining prospecting core samples. The sole purpose of the road was to provide access for the drilling equipment. Evidently nothing of value was found because there was no evidence of mining activity. Edit added 4/3/21: Some quick research using a map of mining claims in Gila Co. indicates that this location may be the site of a claim titled "Cataract Uranium Deposit" with the development status listed as "Prospect" which explains the core sample drilling with no subsequent mining activity.
Having satisfied our curiosity about the purpose of the road and striking out on finding ancient ruins, we returned to the car and drove down FR236 to Buckaroo Flats for another short hike. This section of FR236 had some rough sections requiring 4WD and high clearance.