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Perry Mesa Hackberry Wash Loop, AZ
mini location map2022-06-22
23 by photographer avatarHansenaz
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Perry Mesa Hackberry Wash Loop, AZ 
Perry Mesa Hackberry Wash Loop, AZ
 
Hiking6.27 Miles 721 AEG
Hiking6.27 Miles   5 Hrs   31 Mns   1.22 mph
721 ft AEG      23 Mns Break
 
1st trip
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I thought it'd be interesting to walk the middle and lower sections of Hackberry Wash. I could walk some new ground and then check out some "mystery walls" that we've speculated about before.

Where I started, in the middle of Perry Mesa, Hackberry Wash is just a sandy streak, but continuing west it cuts deeper and has some impressive rocky walls not usually seen far from the mesa edge. I didn't see much interesting at first until I got nearer the end, not so far from New Windmill and the end at Bishop Creek.

I knew from previous visits that area has some petroglyphs but the goal for the day was to take a closer look at the stacked stone walls that line one edge of the wash and continue (?) away from the wash for quite a distance - clearly visible in satellite pictures.

There was previous speculation that these walls were either 1) ancient builds by natives wanting to channel game during hunts, or 2) more recent builds by ranchers trying to keep their animals out of the deep (and dangerous) wash.

What I saw this time (and hopefully my pictures show) is that the walls along the wash are older (more lichen) and the ones heading away from the wash are likely modern (less lichen...more barbed wire!). I can't tell if it's 100 or 700 years worth of lichen but I didn't see any embedded petroglyphs (compare to Rosalie [ photo ] ).

I'd go ahead and make my guess here (I'd probably stick with modern) but Alston would browbeat me per usual. Instead I can report a quick email answer I got from our generous local expert (the archaeologist who "wrote the book" on the area).

"As far as I know, those walls in the Hackberry/Bishop area (as well as others on the mesa) were built turn of the last century or thereabouts for handling livestock, specifically sheep.
The Great Wall of Rosalie, on the other hand is a bit of an enigma. It makes no sense for handling sheep, makes even less sense as any kind of defensive feature, and has petroglyphs and forms part of a prehistoric residential sites at one end while there is a Basque camp at the other. We treat it as if it is part of the ancient landscape, but it really needs more study to know for sure what it was - and even then we might never know...."

Filtering that through my brain I'd say the Hackberry walls were built by Basque sheepherders ca. 1900. Anyway, always a breeze up there, wasn't too hot, nice to be out.
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