“Similarity of intention with others marks the fool from the explorer.” - Bukowski
Dingo the Bad Dog
Drewsky-Bachelor Party Boy
The Sierra Anchas is a relatively small wilderness, forested with Ponderosa Pines within the Tonto National Forest and offers some great remote natural features, but travel in some areas is very difficult due to the extreme topography.
We took a rough Cherry Creek back road to the middle and upper reaches of Cherry Creek where we could set up cowboy base camp and explore ruins in the heartland of the Anchan world. The Anchan developed out of an indigenous Archaic population dating at least as far back as A.D. 800.
Here we sought to find the Pueblo Ruins, hidden in the rugged steep walled canyons leading into Cherry Creek. We had been here once before and had done an intimidating climb to the Cooper Forks Canyon Ruins. Travel and route finding was extremely difficult and we struggled to return before dark.
We started our bushwhack at ten in the morning, hopeful to be back in camp before dark and not requiring a return with headlamps. After about 2 steep miles we were able to spot them with binoculars. Awesome!!!!
We finally arrived, bloody by the thick brush, but elated to find this prehistoric apartment complex. Quite a few of the rooms reach a second story and one building stands three stories high with a partially intact wooden ceiling between the first and second floors. There were wooden beams the size of telephone poles that once supported roofs or second stories lying on the ground. A number of seeps answered our question of "did they have to climb all the way to Cherry Creek for water?" Still, why had the Anchans chose to live in such a challenging environment?
We returned to cowboy camp well before dark, in time for an extended Cerveza Happy Hour.
EL Lobo H. Grande romping in the Sierra Anchas
Hard to find San Pueblo Ruins across the canyon (middle of the picture)
Zo examining the Anchan culture
Zo the ancient wood gatherer, laboring for the cowboy fire
Cowboys Behaving Badly
Dingo & Zo - for having a pre-hike beer and leaving poor Lobo short of beer for his dinner.
Group - for reenacting the infamous Blazing Saddles scene, after having a steak, potatoes and Cowboy BEANS dinner, mmm.
Lobo - for turning down post dinner seegars and 16 year old single malt scotch, and instead going straight to his sleeping bag after his belly was full.
Zo, for perhaps having a vision of Brokeback Mountain and yelling at Lobo to zip up his sleeping bag. Note: Zo could not sleep with his head outside the tent because of high winds and rain.
Dingo, Zo and Drew for having the rest of the scotch in their morning coffee.
Lobo for getting up very early and yelling "where's my koffffffeeeeeeee!!!! at Los Borachos to get them up. Also for dancing wildly to "What a Feeling" by Irene Cara.
"Take your passionand make it happen.Pictures come alive, now I'm dancing through my life."
Drew - for ignoring the group’s combined wisdom and still planning on going through with his wedding. (Good luck Brendan)
Drew - Whom on a previous trip to Gila Wilderness New Mexico handed Lobo a useless bottle of Beano and proclaimed "This is ridiculous" On this trip he often had a satisfied smile followed up with MMMMMMMMMMMM