My beloved had the crude so with my faithful hiking dogger Tus we set out toward St. Clair Pk. I had planned to just go through the saddle and check out the boulder outcroppings on the east side. But when I got there I said to myself I have wanted to go to the top of this mountain for over forty years. Why not! Well about mid way up as I clawed my way through the brambles and loose rock, three things occurred to me. A. I have no phone, B. I'm at the awkward stage of my life where I have no health insurance and C. That thing about with age comes wisdom thing is highly over rated. Alas I made it to the top with minor blood loss. I found the summit jar by accident and realized it had been HAZified. Who knew? The ruin was ok and on the way back came upon a nice cultivation site with lots of pottery, broken metate and check dams.
Hippy wanted to see some ruins and Devin was willing to drive. Our original plan was to go up the 17 but we decided to do something closer to home. We drove up in the morning and headed up Horseshoe Dam Road where we started following Hansenaz's track from last month. The route starts off following a dirt road. There is a spiderweb of roads and we did a combination of off trail and on trail to reach the first satellite peak. There is nothing of interest besides the flag holder in the shape of a cross. From there we dropped back to the saddle and then headed to the main summit. Once on top we found a small register and we signed HAZ in. There are no ruins on the true summit. The walls sit down below on a mesa. We checked out the area and didn't find anything else besides the walls. We couldn't even find pieces of pottery. From the ruins we bushwhacked back down to the road and returned to the truck. These ruins are just okay.
We had to walk a ways down a winding dirt road to finally reach a hill we all went our own ways up the hill, found a flag holder up top then we regrouped and played follow the Hippy to the saddle and around to what seemed to be the less steep side of St. Clair Peak. Pretty hidden valley on that side.
Then up we went to the peak, explored the top and spotted the ruins which consist of one "hippy sized wall" and some shorter walled rooms. Didn't find any pottery up here but the views were fantastic!!
Scrambled down the steep side and back to the little double track road and to the truck.
I knew three things about St. Clair Peak: the 1998 log from Mazatzal stating "there's a wall up there", the satellite view showing a bit more extensive structure, and while there has been a lot of archaeology work in the Horseshoe Reservoir area, none involved St. Clair Peak.
I also wondered where the name came from since a neighbor (with a well known hilltop ruin) on the other side of the road is called St. Clair Mountain...alas even 5min. on the internet didn't tell me.
There's a locked gate along Horseshoe Rd. roughly due west of the peak and I parked near there and walked the road. Fresh jeep tracks - the road does get used by someone. This one is in pretty good shape but a lot of the other old tracks I'd follow today haven't seen a vehicle for a long time.
I went up the NW satellite peak first. Didn't notice much of interest but there was a concrete cross on top. Nice broad saddle and a steep pull up to the top of St. Clair Pk. No cairn but a glass jar register with a few names from 2013 and 2001 (?). The "ruin" is just down the hill to the south on a level section. A confusing thing with a long wall and some discrete rooms. The higher walls looked like they'd been restacked but the rooms suggest ancient - I only saw 4 or 5 pottery sherds.
Further east is Indian Butte and I decided to head over there. Sort of an attractive route to drop off the north side of St. Clair and pick up some old tracks that stay on the ridge tops for a while. There are interesting rock formations along the way.
I bypassed the Indian Spring thicket on the right following what has to have been a Javalina track (I saw a half-dozen of them parallel across the draw and the track effortlessly went under low hanging branches). Pretty nice trail.
Top of Indian Butte has a large cairn but I didn't see a register. Nice view of the Bartlett Lake area and points east from the top. In spite of the name didn't notice any habitation signs, not even the odd sherd which were more common near St. Clair Pk.
I descended the NW ridge and took the maze of tracks back to the car. Only person I saw all day was a quail hunter and his hounds. Pretty enjoyable day.
Took an off trail route over to St Clair Peak from the Bartlett Rd and then east up to the saddle and south to the summit. One wall up here.
average hiking speed 1.74 mph
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.