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Fred Pranty Cabin - 3 members in 4 triplogs have rated this an average 3.7 ( 1 to 5 best )
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May 29 2015
CannondaleKid
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 Guides 43
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 Photos 20,356
 Triplogs 1,879

69 male
 Joined May 04 2004
 Mesa, AZ
Fred Pranty Cabin & Ruin Site, AZ 
Fred Pranty Cabin & Ruin Site, AZ
 
Hiking avatar May 29 2015
CannondaleKid
Hiking3.80 Miles 1,293 AEG
Hiking3.80 Miles   2 Hrs   46 Mns   1.46 mph
1,293 ft AEG      10 Mns Break20 LBS Pack
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trixiec
After the rough drive along FR 894, FR 134 & FR 1938 we knew we'd be able to drive past the cabin and down to Gun Creek, but what would be the point of a 3-day hiking trip if we didn't do much hiking?
:whistle:
Besides... if we had driven that part of FR 939 I'm sure we would have missed the best part of the hike. Yes, the part many folks who visit the Fred Pranty Cabin miss.
(Ah, but you'll have to read on to find out... oh wait, the triplog title already spoiled the surprise) ](*,)

About halfway from our starting point at the intersection of FR 1936 & FR 939 I happened to look up to our right and spotted what sure looked like a ruin wall at the top of Peak 4922. After zooming in for a few photos and getting a better look from a couple different viewpoints along the road we decided to climb up and explore it on the return leg.

We spent just enough time at the Fred Pranty Cabin for a series of photos in and out, including a snake that appeared to have been caught in the window frame and died.
:yuck:
Although we knew there were numerous mine adits in the area that fact was overshadowed by our growing excitement to check out the ruin site so Tracey took a break at Gun Creek while I scanned for at least one mine adit. The only one I found was in a spot not easy to reach and looked to be caved in a few feet in from the entrance so enough! let's hit the ruins!

Onward and upward... to the ruins we climb!
Thankfully we were able to follow a number of elk trails zig-zagging up the slope then Tracey and I split up, each following our own route to the summit. Yes! It was well worth the climb. While not much was left of many of the individual room walls, there were a good number of still-high walls. The best part was the curved wall of an overlook from where we could see the cabin.

Unfortunately this site was picked clean and even eagle-eye Tracey found not a single shard. (That would come later today on another mountain and not too far away... more suspense)

One video:
Wandering a Native American Ruin
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CannondaleKid
1 archive
May 04 2013
RedRoxx44
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 Guides 5
 Photos 19,067
 Triplogs 520

female
 Joined Feb 15 2003
 outside, anywher
Fred Pranty CabinPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
4x4 Trip avatar May 04 2013
RedRoxx44
4x4 Trip
4x4 Trip2 Days         
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Went in from Young and out the Seventy Six Ranch. I'll say about 90% 2wd and HC. Some steep, and mostly rocky trail. Brushy in spots. Great views. We stopped and looked over some large tumbledown Indian ruins; a few pot shards but I was excited to see a short curved wall in the brush, out of place in this mostly linear walled place. Reminiscent of kiva structure.
The road to the cabin was very brushy and had a couple of bad spots. We met some folks on quads and a guy driving a beater Toyota with three or four hunting dogs.
The cabin area is nice, the area of Gun creek even better. We explored some, always remember to check carefully tunnel entrances as I was squatted down shining my light and as I proceeded almost put my hand down on what looked like a Mohave, he was cold and never rattled. Did not get a good pic.
Going out had Brian drive did not like a short hill climb but with 4wheel lo and rear locker the Toyota didn't even falter.
Later on I just about torched the clutch trying to back up into a place off a moderate steep faint jeep trail. We walked then, then drove on to find a camp. Uh-oh, the aroma of hot or burnt clutch. We found a great car camp spot, near a hike we thought to do the next day. With the vehicle possibly crippled we did a quick inspection, then after a restless but quiet night packed up and headed out the shortest way possible. Of course we did not have complete maps because we weren't planning on heading out this way. We stopped at Soldier Camp but no one was home to answer our questions. We drove on out; toward the Seventy Six ranch on the rough and steep Coffee Pot road. We saw a nice fat Gila Monster. We lucked out after crossing Tonto Creek, the rancher was home and very courteously allowed us through and gave us the gate combination.
Going toward Globe we did a road test of power/RPM to see if the clutch was slipping and the car performed flawlessly. So I probably shortened the clutch life (92K on the Toyota, just breaking the engine in) but we got out so there----
Named place
Named place
Gun Creek
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May 29 2010
skatchkins
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 Guides 2
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41 male
 Joined Dec 22 2007
 Mesa, AZ
Fred Pranty CabinPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
4x4 Trip avatar May 29 2010
skatchkins
4x4 Trip1.00 Miles
4x4 Trip1.00 Miles
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bigredjeepchick
This was part one of our Memorial Day Weekend. Just wanted to mark it off the map (thanks again Eric).
When we passed through Seventy Six Ranch, my brother-in-law realized he had slept on the huge viewed porch 27 years ago with a friend. When we passed back through we spoke with the owner and indeed Jonathan's story played out and it was the owner's nephew. Small world.
Anyway, took the 134 to the 1936 to the 134 to the 939.
Popped a tire on a hill climb, but we threw the compressor on while I plugged it and we were on our way. Very much a 4wd trail.
Sad we didn't see many animals out. Shared our lunch with a big white and cream colored rat at the cabin. Lighting wasn't much good for pictures and we didn't stay too long.
We camped on the wilderness boundary after a failed hike.
On the way down to the pavement the next day we saw a Gila Monster and I moved a large Gopher Snake out of the road too.
Named place
Named place
Mazatzal Mountains Mount Ord
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May he guide you through the wilderness : protect you through the storm;
May he bring you home rejoicing : at the wonders he has shown you;
Armchair Crisis Design
Jul 04 2009
ssk44
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 Guides 19
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44 male
 Joined Mar 31 2008
 Gilbert, AZ
Fred Pranty CabinPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
4x4 Trip avatar Jul 04 2009
ssk44
4x4 Trip
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(Fred Pranty Cabin, 07/04/2009)

If you're into early 1900's Arizona history, you will love this homestead. I found it to be in amazingly good condition and built with surprising attention to detail. The location of Fred Pranty Cabin is very remote and showed little evidence of human tampering at the time I was there. The site is truly unspoiled. This is a fairly hot area to visit in the summer, however your efforts will be rewarded with healthy and lush riparian vegetation along Gun Creek and other surrounding drainages.

I reached this location (by atv) from Jakes Corner (Tonto Basin), through the Seventy Six Ranch (FR894). There are zero access issues at the Seventy Six Ranch. Register at the "Private Land Access Sign-In Book" before driving through the property. Driving to Fred Pranty Cabin is strictly 4x4; however most stock (edit: rear locked high-clearance) four-wheel drive vehicles with "LT" rated tires should not have any problems. All roads used to reach Fred Pranty Cabin are noted on USGS topo maps and current forest-service maps.




Payson Roundup, 10/21/2002...

The legend of Fred Pranty's bones (HISTORY)
By Stan Brown
October 21, 2002

The bones of Fred Pranty were hidden in a gunny sack on a shelf in the old jail, forgotten for many years. When the newly elected judge cleaned house, he made the strange discovery. But who was this prospector who kept to himself during his years in the Rim country, and was he really murdered as rumor had it?

He was born Christopher Frederick Prante, son of Ernist (yes, spelled like that) and Mary Prante (with an "e"), in Friendship, Ind., Dec. 22, 1861. The "y" ending on the family name came after common usage by their neighbors.

Fred was the third son in a family of 10 children and life was hard. Their father Ernist was subject to periods of depression, and a month before Fred's 11th birthday the father committed suicide. Mary was overwhelmed with the responsibility of children ages 1 to 17, as well as by the stigma of what had happened. She planned to move to her brother's town of Peru, Neb., and sent her two oldest sons ahead to buy land. Instead, they went to nearby Louisville, Ky., squandered the money and returned empty handed. It was four years before she could recover financially enough for the move, and this time they all went together except for Fred. He was commissioned by his mother to drive the family livestock to Nebraska.
The year was 1879, and Fred was 17 years old. He never appeared in Nebraska. His family was certain he had been killed along the way. Actually he simply wandered during the next 10 or 12 years. Where he went remains a mystery.

He next appears in the public records Oct. 17, 1892, when he signed The Great Register of Gila County with an address in Globe. He prospected around central Arizona and soon became a resident of the Rim country. His name is on a number of mining claims around Payson and Gisela. One claim was for the Smuggler Mine, filed in February 1897 along with co-signers David Gowan and W. E. Frazier.

In 1900, his name again appears on the Great Register, and during the next two decades, Pranty made his mark in the memories of local settlers.

Carrel Wilbanks (the younger) described him as "soft spoken, medium build, fair complexion," a prospector who had a cabin in the Sierra Ancha range west of the Wilbanks' Spring Creek. It was located on the ridge of Sheep Mountain between Gun Creek and Alder Creek. From there, he would go on prospecting trips for weeks at a time, and apparently found just enough gold to keep himself in groceries.

"He never bothered anybody," Wilbanks remembered, but Pranty would go into Globe about once a year to serve on the jury. In 1914, he again signed the Great Register, and voted in Gisela.
The Ogilvies of Star Valley remembered him as an "educated gentleman" who graced their table more than once. The parents of Anna Mae Ogilvie Deming told her they often invited Pranty for the holidays, either at their ranch or with their relatives the Goodfellows at the Natural Bridge.

The last time anyone saw Fred Pranty was early in the second week of May 1924. He had brought his burros down to Wilbanks' pasture to fatten them up before going on another prospecting trip. He said he would be gone a week or 10 days, and then he disappeared.

Some weeks later, in June, his burros wandered into the Ogilvie ranch with broken tie ropes and reins. Pranty's saddle was on the larger animal he rode; his chuck box and bed roll were secured to the other burro. Obviously something was wrong, and local ranchers got up a posse to go to his cabin. It was secured with a lock, and when they broke in they found everything in place. His big silver railroad watch was on the table, along with two dollars in change. His rifle hung on the wall. The men went to Payson to make their report, and the justice of the peace suggested they retrieve his belongings for safe keeping.

Upon returning to the cabin, Wilbanks, Ogilvie and the others found it had been burglarized. Only a few tools and a few of Pranty's belongings were left. The men replaced the lock and began to search for his body, to no avail. The disappearance of the 62-year-old miner became the talk of the Rim country.

It was about 10 years later, in the early 1930s, when Dude Greer found part of a skeleton on the Rim, above the old military road. There was a leg bone and a few others, along with a skull that had a single bullet hole in it. Nearby lay a .38 automatic pistol and a miner's pick. Greer took the remnants back to town, and the J.P. called a coroner's jury. Wilbanks identified the pick as Pranty's, having his mark on it. He also recognized the pistol. But the final identification was made from Pranty's many gold fillings and gold crowns. He had occasionally been called "Gold Tooth Pranty" by the locals.

"We decided it was Fred Pranty all right," said Carrel Wilbanks "Some thought he might have broken a leg or was snake bit, but he'd been around snakes all his life. If he'd been bit he'd have slashed the spot with his knife, sucked out the poison and gone on up the mountain. No, I always did think he had a stroke and just shot himself."

The bones were placed in a gunnysack, and tossed on a shelf in the old Payson Jail where they were forgotten. It was years later that Cal Greer, after being elected Justice of the Peace, found the gunnysack of bones and retraced the story of how they got there.

It was time to lay Pranty's remains to rest... The bones were placed in a coal oil can and buried in Payson's Pioneer Cemetery, just inside the gate. The years of mystery had given rise to the rumor that maybe he was murdered. But all the evidence pointed to someone who had inherited his father's tendency for depression, and was haunted by the memory of a father who committed suicide.

Or, perhaps it was as Wilbanks suggested. The aging miner had a stroke or a paralyzing injury, and being far from help he decided to take his own life. With no family to care for him and the lonely years having taken their toll, the long trail found its end.

Note: Some of the light shed on the mystery of Fred Pranty came from an article in the April 1973 "True West" magazine, written by his niece Lois Stevens.


:GB:
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Gun Creek
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average hiking speed 1.46 mph

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