I don’t get out and hike much, prolly because I don’t find it all that entertaining. But I’ve come across a few people who’ve mentioned their trip to the Salado Indian Cliff Dwellings in the Superstition Mountains. I knew this would be good time of the year to hit up the trail, and I gotta say it was an exceptional day. Lotsa water was flowing down the creek, and even some patches of snow.
The first thing I heard about this trail is the challenge the drive up is. The 15 or so miles of unpaved FS road almost requires a high clearance 4X4, but I managed in my Honda Element. Stream crossing after stream crossing I learned that I certainly wouldn’t go anywhere near this trail if I knew there were recent big rains, or if was forecasted to rain. It is that serious. I could certainly see being stranded out there if a gully washer came thru. I was so concerned about the road, I actually brought my mountain bike along just incase my car wasn’t up to the final approach to the parking lot. So let’s see her, I split from house in Ahwatukee at 5:30 and three hours later I finally made to the trail head. It wasn’t a pile of miles, just really, really slow miles.
How to get there:
From Phoenix - Heading East on U.S. 60 take a left on Queen Valley Road (About 2.5 miles past Florence Junction). Turn left and drive another two miles to Hewitt Station Road (Forest Road 357). Turn right and follow FR 357 3.5 miles to FR 172. Turn left on FR 172 and go about 15 miles to FR 172A. Follow this route another three miles to Rogers Trough trailhead. Here’s a google map link: Rogers Trough
The Trail Route: This trail actually started off at the high point at around 4,300 vf and followed the creek down about 1,000 feet to Rogers Canyon, where the cliff dwelling are located. I suppose a loop could be composed, but I just wanted to do the down and back. The route I did was down Reavis trail, and then about mile and half down, intersected with Rogers Canyon Trail. The trail is pretty intuitive, as it follows the creek down. In fact it has numerous creek crossings, and like I mentioned it was flowing, and as I got lower the tributaries started adding up. Rock cairns mark the crossings, but you still haveta keep your eyes peeled for the route. As for the dwelling, I kept looking for them, and eventually I noticed them while filming a shot of a waterfall. I wasn’t convinced these were the main dwellings, because I didn’t see the official sign when I went by, so I continued on. I actually went way past them. I ended going past the Frog Tank Trail junction about a half mile down and continued on the Rogers Canyon Trail for about another mile. I finally caught up to with some overnight hikers, and they filled me in that what I was looking at earlier were in fact the dwellings. I doubled back, and finally saw the FS site sign, way up on the hill; on the east side of the creek.
Speaking of the other side of creek, I musta crossed the it what seemed like two dozen times. And on my way out, on one of the last crossings, I actually step on a rock and it shifted on me, and I ended up rolling my ankle. No big injury, just kinda smarted.
Met up with some other MTBR doods, at 7:30 for a little spin on Desert Classic. For this time of year, group rides don't usually start this early, but I actually don't mind it; crowds are low, and I can get on with my day. I'm always amazed that I can start a 7:30 am ride in shorts and t-shirt in the middle of winter.
Anycow, our plan was to ride to the end of Desert Classic and hit a few options along the way. Our first option was to take the short cut to the water tank, and from there we took sidewinder (secret trail), before tying back into Desert Classic. From there, we rode out to the west end of the trail. On the way back we rode up Goat Trail to the helipad. We came down the helipad trail, and then made our way back to Pima Canyon.
Our little tour took about 3 hours, and it was pretty fun just doing the Cross Country thing. Good times.
I did the other Super Bowl today; skiing the Inner Basin in the Kachina Peaks. My neck was all outa whack last weekend, so I couldn't get any playtime in. So that now that I was feeling all good again, I decided to find some snow. I hadn't been on my skis all season, and thought I better take this opportunity get some. I also wanted a good fitness day, so I decided to hike out of the Snowbowl Resort up to the top of the ridge, and ski off the back side into the Inner Basin.
I walked up the groomers and continued up the drainage above Snowbowls 'Log Jam' run. My legs weren't all that fresh, as I had been mountain biking the past three days, but the climb up was a lot less painful than I thought it was gonna be. I split from the parking lot at 8:15, and was on top of the ridge by 11:15. Of course, I only went to the lowest part of the ridge, but I also took my time while putting some video shots together.
I set up a few staged vanity video shots of me climbing up in a tribute to Survivorman's, Les Stroud. No actual skiing int the vid, cuz that would be just too difficult.
It was a bluebird day, with only a little wind. I spent the whole day in tights, and left my ski pants and big gloves in my pack.
Since I was solo and these were my first turns of the year, I didn't want to get too ambitious and get too high up on the ridge. I'm really glad I choose the easiest and shortest line on the whole basin, because my turns were terrible. I had some really bad form going on. Not falls, but just really sloppy. The snow was packed powder with a little crust, which definitely added to the challenge. I was going to continue on down into the glades, but my triceps were kinda cramping, so I decided to head out.
I noticed a skin track heading back up to the ridge, so I put stuck my skins on and tied into it. I shoulda just boot packed it out, cuz the last little 100 feet of elevation was white knuckle terror. It looked like the people before me had some struggles getting out, and now the conditions for me where even worse. I actually lost my traction and backslid down the hill a few feet, luckily there were a couple of trees I could hang onto, on this very, very steep slope, while I pulled off my skis and boot packed up this slope. Being very nervous at this point, I couldn't get off this slope fast enough. I actually scrambled up and over a higher point than I wanted, because traversing over to the lower point was not an option. Phew, I made it.
Now it was time to ski the as always sketchy, icy, thin, and nasty snow back into the resort. The challenge is double, because the lack of oxygen, really gets me into anaerobic mode super fast, so cranking turns is really hard. This is what I hate about this route. Getting back to the groomers felt really good, except I was pretty exhausted. The first day back always hurts, but I survived.
Here's a vid of day with numerous vanity shots of myself: