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Boynton Bushwhack, AZ
mini location map2021-07-28
25 by photographer avatarJohn10s
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Boynton Bushwhack, AZ 
Boynton Bushwhack, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 28 2021
Hiking8.37 Miles 1,250 AEG
Hiking8.37 Miles   6 Hrs   9 Mns   1.71 mph
1,250 ft AEG   1 Hour   15 Mns Break
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I took a day off in the middle of the week and headed up to Sedona to look for two specific ruins in Boynton Canyon that I'd had on my list for almost nine months. Boynton is so obnoxiously crowded on the weekends with Instagram hikers looking for the Subway Cave that I'll only go on weekdays anymore. On a related note, it was nice to see that the city is lining the shoulders of Dry Creek Road with boulders near FR 152 to prevent Devil's Bridge tourists from parking there, and they've also added a speed bump near the intersection. Blocking the shoulders is great, but I suspect the tourists may just fill the other parking areas nearby, which will be equally obnoxious...

I was confident we had the location of the ruins identified based on landmarks from previous hikes. One is an impressive ruin with well-intact (but cracked) walls in a large cave, and the other is located at the base of a large rock formation nearby. I'd seen closeup pictures of the cave ruin but hadn't seen any of the other one, so I was excited to see what was there. Looking at the topo map, I'd plotted three potential routes to get up to the cliffs where the ruins were located. The first route didn't look great when we got close, and we ended up going directly to the farthest route, which looked the most promising on the topo map. That one ended up being a reasonable climb, but it was full of brush...I brought hedge clippers and cut branches out of the way to clear a path, but we still ended up with plenty of scratches, as expected.

The first route we tried got us up to roughly the same elevation as the ruins, but there was a canyon between us and them, and we cliffed out trying to circle it. I noticed a potential spot to climb up from down in the canyon we were overlooking, so we backtracked and made our way into the side canyon. It was slow going through all the brush again, and with some pools of water along the way, we were dodging poison ivy. My partner stayed behind while I went ahead to see if the approach I'd seen from above would work to climb back up. There was water dripping in the back of the canyon and a small hanging garden on the cliff wall, and I started the climb, passing through more poison ivy...avoiding it completely was virtually impossible, but a few days later and so far, no reaction :).

Climbing up that chute worked perfectly, and I was able to reach the base of the rock formation, excited to see the ruin. It was located exactly where I expected it, but unfortunately wasn't particularly impressive--just one small wall with no mortar and no pottery sherds or corn cobs. But the view up there was spectacular...there were towering thunderheads to the north and south, and that area is one of the most beautiful in Sedona. I had a clear line of sight to the cave with the large cracked-wall ruin. With storms coming, we weren't going to have time to try to get up there today, but from where I stood, it looked like a reasonably straightforward route to get to the canyon wall with the cave...actually climbing up into it is far more difficult, I'm sure.

I took some pictures and videos and headed back down to meet up with my partner so we could start back, and it was thundering behind us on the way out as the thunderheads grew bigger and bigger to the north. On our way out, we explored along one of the canyon walls where I'd noticed some small ruin walls a few years ago but hadn't had a chance to check out up close yet. We found one wall near there that was in very good shape and had a lot of mortar, but it looked more like a partition than part of an actual structure--it was just the single wall sticking out with no sign of other walls around it. Just around the corner were the small walls I'd noticed years ago...they were sitting on a narrow ledge that looked too risky to navigate, at least from the direction we were approaching, but they weren't very impressive anyway. The Sinaguans must have used ladders, and/or those ledges have eroded significantly over the last 700 years :).

Dark clouds started to build behind us on the way out, but we stayed dry the whole day. Back in the parking lot, a confused couple asked if we knew where the Birthing Cave is located. I've come to expect five or six of those questions per visit to Long Canyon, but that's the first time we've been asked about the Birthing Cave in Boynton :?. It finally rained as we drove south, and the clouds were spectacular around Cottonwood.

It was a fun day of hiking--I'd been meaning to check out these ruins for a long time, and it was nice to confirm that we had the locations identified and that we now have an easy route to get up there. Next time, we'll have to get a closer look at the cave ruin, but this was a great start...much more exciting than a typical weekday at work.
Sinagua Dwelling
Cumulonimbus Thunderhead
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