I have client, based in Show Low Arizona who has contracted me to shoot a couple of times now. After Christmas week at my folks place in metro Phoenix, I headed up to Show Low for another job.
The job entailed going to an ancient indian ruin (~1337 A.D.) to create some images my client could use for future papers and presentations. Getting there, however, was the story.
Normally, the trailhead comes in from a spot about a mile north of where we were going in. My client has been up to this ruin a number of times, but wanted to try and get some images from across a small valley, to provide a little more scale to the images I’d create closer in.
The first part of the hike was fairly easy; then we got to the hill where we would have to climb up to a cliff face and follow that around towards the ruin. As we started the climb, we had to skirt our way around cactus and other scrub-brush. Eventually we made it to the cliff face and started to make our way around towards the ruin. Unfortunately, the going was very slow due to very thick brush and small trees. We stopped a couple of times so I could create a few images and eventually had to find a path that was suitable for travel.
We had made our way to a sizable scree-slope and going down was not really the best option as climbing back up on the other side of the valley would have bene a heck of a lot of work! As much as I was not thrilled with our choice of path, I agreed it was the path to take. That mean climbing up a short cliff face (yes, I had to remove my chest pack and backpack and get those up to the top first), then make my way up. Once we got up to the top of the cliff face, we still had a bunch of brush (scrub-oak and other such brush, some with thorns that made my hands look like I’d gone through a major battle!).
Eventually, we got to a point where we had to go down and back up the small valley (maybe 75 ft down and 75 ft back up) and finally we were on the same level as the ruin. A few hundred yards later we were at the eastern end of the cliff dwelling ruin. I cannot divulge the name of the ruin, though I can share a few pictures that are nondescript enough to not give away anything.
These ruins are high up above a couple levels of cliffs, so when you look at some of the large log-beams used for wall / roof support, it makes you wonder how the heck the inhabitants got the materials up to the location. The large logs are 12 – 15” in diameter, so it would have taken a number of men to carry them up (think about doing this barefoot [yikes]).
Here are three images I can share from the ruin (the ruin has been fenced off to keep unauthorized folks out [as best they can]. The trailhead is out in the middle of nowhere, so getting to that point alone take quite a bit of effort. Then you have to hike up to the ruin and that is quite a chore too!
Once I had completed my work and with the sun getting lower in the sky, we started to make our way back to the trailhead. What took us five and a half hours to get to only took us an hour and thirty minutes to hike down. We did have to scramble down to rock cuts at each cliff level, to get to where the path down was more or less a straight shot down. Looking at the elevation profile on my Garmin Tactix GPS watch once back at the trailhead, I laughed heartily at the steep slope of down down down. Overall hike was nearly 7 miles round-trip.
The opportunity to visit this ruin and see something not many folks have seen was awesome!