Saturday, February 01, 2014

WE FOUND SLEEPING MAN CAVE, GRINDING STONE CAVE, GRAY TANK, & MORE…….

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Had to kick us on a little heat this morning first thing.  Gusting winds in the night have kept things on the cool side.  Happy to see stars in the predawn sky.  Our past 2 day cloud cover was in the process of heading out.  Sunny days were here again but with winds still a blowing it drove the temps down into the 50’s out here in the Kofa Wildlife Refuge.

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SUNRISE THROUGH OUR REAR BEDROOM WINDOW THIS MORNING

Figured we had better let old Sol crawl himself up a little higher in the sky before we headed out so it was about 9 when we had our dusty little Jeep a-rollin again for the day.  With Ann’s directions scribbled on a piece of paper back in December we turned off King Valley road at marker 42 & headed south on a Jeep road for about 2.5 miles until we spotted a campsite fire pit on the left side.  Pulled in, parked, & from here we were on foot.

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THIS IS THE TRAIL HEAD FOR OUR SEARCHES TODAY

With a drawn map diagram in hand we soon found Sleeping Man Cave after a short hike along a nearby ridge line.  Someone had piled a few stones at the entrance.  Maybe room enough for 3 or 4 people to sleep if they wanted to.  Maybe Indians used it because we soon found all kinds of evidence that this was indeed an area frequented by Indians hundreds or maybe thousands of years ago.  I would suspect there is probably an old Indian Village site somewhere near by simply because of the accessible water in the area.

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WE HEAD UP & ALONG A RIDGE IN SEARCH OF ‘SLEEPING MAN CAVE’

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FROM THE RIDGE LINE WE SPOT IT ABOUT 50’ TO OUR LEFT & DOWN A BIT

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INDIANS MAY VERY WELL HAVE SLEPT IN THIS SMALL CAVE AT ONE TIME

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KELLY HEADS UP TO WHERE WE HAVE SPOTTED ANOTHER LARGER CAVE

Our next find just South of the Sleeping Cave ridge line was a larger cave at the end of a rock outcropping.  A short climb had us standing at the opening of what must have at one time been a very busy & very sociable place.  We had never seen so many Indian grinding holes (Morteros) in one place before. And never holes as large & deep as these.  Counted 17 major holes with close to another dozen smaller shallower holes.  Oh if this cave could only talk & tell the ancient tales of many people here for many years sitting & grinding their grain in these many holes.  And on the walls were very faint almost un-seeable Petroglyphs.  They have all but faded away with the ages but if one looks carefully they can still be seen.  This was a great find today.

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KELLY POINTS TO FADED INDIAN PETROGLYPHS

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INDIANS IN THE CAVE LOOKED RIGHT OUT AT THE KOFA MOUNTAINS TO THE NORTH

What a great morning this was turning out to be.  Despite the wind driven cooler temps it was just about perfect for hiking & repeatedly blowing my hat off.  Just like it blew my hat off Friday when I reached the top of the ladder at Hidden Valley Tank.  The scenery here this morning was second to none.  The road had led us into 2 Box Canyons.  Horse Tank which we had been to in December & Gray Tank which we were headed for.  Didn’t take Kelly & I long to both agree this was one of more prettier areas we have come across in our wanderings.

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JUST ANOTHER BEAUTIFULLY SCENIC PART OF ARIZONA

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OUR VERY OWN LITTLE ARIZONA MOUNTAIN DOG HAD A GREAT TIME TODAY

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THE SHADOW COWBOY TAKES A PICTURE OF KELLY TAKING A PICTURE OF THE SHADOW COWBOY…MIGHT HAVE TO LOOK CLOSELY AT THIS ONE

From the Grinding Cave Ann’s directions said to walk East until we encountered a wash.  Here following the wash we turned south for the half mile walk to Gray Tank. 

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WALKING ALONG THE DRY CREEK BED WE CAME ACROSS MORE INDIAN GRINDING HOLES

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CREEK BED WAS ROCKY IN SOME SPOTS WITH SAND, GRAVEL, & GREENERY ALONG THE WAY

Most of the wash is walkable but we did have to make a few portages along the east side to get around underbrush.  About a quarter mile in we did have to finally get out of the wash & make our way along the East side.  It was about this point I spotted what I guessed to be Gray Tank about a quarter mile ahead & half way up a canyon wall.  We re-entered the creek bed again & about 10 minutes later we were indeed at Gray Tank.

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TELEPHOTO SHOT OF GRAY TANK STILL ABOUT A QUARTER MILE AWAY

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FOLLOWED THIS ROCKY CREEK BED RIGHT TO THE TANK…NEW IT WAS THE RIGHT PLACE WHEN I SAW THAT OLD CEMENT WALL TO HOLD BACK THE SILT & SAND

What a marvelously quiet & peaceful place this was as we came up to several pools of water.  We were obviously standing in a dry cascading rock waterfall.  Only sound was the wind in a nearby Palo Verde tree. 

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Kelly rested on a rock while I clambered up to a smaller but deeper pool.  The lower larger pool was maybe a couple feet deep but in the upper pool I could not see the bottom in the center.  Another third & even smaller pool was above that one.

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LARGEST WATER HOLE & THE DEEPER WATER HOLE HIGHER UP JUST ABOVE IT

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ABOVE THE SECOND DEEPER HOLE I COULD SEE ANOTHER SMALLER ONE FURTHER BACK

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Again as we sat there on a couple large rocks we both agreed this was probably the nicest of all the Tanks we had seen so far.  Horse Tank maybe a mile away as the Crow flies is nice but we both thought Gray tank is even nicer.

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WE TRIED TAKING A FEW ‘SELFIES’ BUT YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS TO GET A DOGGY TO POSE

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We lingered here for a bit just drinking in the beauty & ambience surrounding us.  Tall rocky canyon walls pock marked with numerous crevices, cracks, & caves.  Also an abundance of greenery including Saguaro Cactus, tall golden grasses & a variety of flowers along & in the solid rock & sometimes sand & gravel river bed.

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Looking North back out the Canyon we could see the mighty Kofa Mountains looming on the distant horizon.  What a special place for us to be on this quiet, peaceful, & sunny Arizona morning.  We could only imagine the Bighorn Mountain Sheep coming here to drink from these pools of clear water in morning’s early light or day’s end twilight.  We had a lunch in the Jeep & wished we had brought it with us.

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IN THE BACKGROUND TOWER THE MYSTICAL KOFA MOUNTAINS

Not far from Gray tank as we were walking back Kelly spotted a couple of large dark colored boulders.  It was the type of rock that Petroglyphs are often found on so we walked up a second wash for a short distance to have us a look.  Not sure but we may have spotted some very faint drawings but then again it could have been just minerals in the rock.

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KELLY SPOTTED THESE 2 LARGE DARK COLORED BOULDERS

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KELLY POINTS OUT POSSIBLE PETROGLYPHS

I walked around behind one of the large boulders & up the wash a bit into a shadowed area & found another pool of water at the base of a dry 30’ waterfall.  There are probably countless thousands of these water pools in the mountains of the South-West. 

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PHEEBS HAS HERSELF A DRINK

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MANY CURIOUS ROCKS HERE

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CAN YOU SEE THE LARGE SLEEPING MAN’S FACE SIDEWAYS IN THE ROCK… FOREHEAD AT LEFT & LONG CHIN OR BEARD AT RIGHT…CLOSED EYES, NOSE, & MOUTH ARE ALL THERE

Found some interesting rocks here as well.   And another deep Mortero hole in the solid rock but this one had a fresh pile of gravely dirt piled up beside the hole.  We figure someone dug the dirt out & checked it for gold.  Gold being heavy would accumulate in deep holes along river bottoms.

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WE BEGIN OUR WALK BACK DOWN THE CANYON…AND WE SEE A LITTLE LIZARD

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We were getting hungry & knowing we had egg salad sandwiches in the Jeep we made our way back down the dry wash & headed west between the Grinding Cave on our left & the Sleeping Cave on our right. 

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FOLLOWING THE DRY CREEK BED WE ARE NEARLY BACK TO THE JEEP

Soon had the Jeep in view & it didn’t take me long to get egg salad on my camera, my camera strap, the Jeep’s keys & my seat.  But hey, nothing on the steering wheel this time so I did good. 

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PHEEBS SMELLS THE EGG SALAD SANDWICHES & NEARBY ‘HORSE TANK’ IS LOCATED EXACTLY IN THE CENTER OF THE JEEP PHOTO

We bounced & bumped our way back to King Valley road & headed East a ways before turning south off King Valley again onto a road leading to McPherson’s Tank.  It was after 1 o’clock, we were a bit on the tired side so turned around after a mile or so & headed the short distance back to our rig.  Thought of trying to sit outside in the sun for a bit but the gusting winds just made it too cold to do that.  Oh well at least we had ourselves a big bright sunny day so no complaints from us guys:))

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Nina from WHEELING IT in the Shout Box wondered what kind of GPS we have.  It’s a Delorme P-40.  Bought it new back in about 2010 but haven’t used it a lot.  We are in the process of re-learning how it operates. 

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AN UPSIDE DOWN PHEEBER SMOOCH

And if you haven’t heard or if you haven’t seen the double good news over at Donna & Russ’s place at TRAVELS IN THERAPY you had better skee-daddle yourself on over there & see what the furry fuss is all about.   Been some changes going on & it’s Jewell & Ollie who have brought those happy changes:))

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GROANER’S CORNER:((   While out in his boat the other day Angus spotted a man fishing. He watched as the fellow opened his tackle box and took out a mirror. Being curious, the man piloted his boat over & asked, ' Hey, mate, what is the mirror for?'

'That's my secret way to catch fish,' answered the man mysteriously. 'You shine the mirror on the top of the water. The fish notice the spot of sun on the water above and they swim to the surface. Then I just reach down and net them and pull them into the boat.'

'Wow’, does that really work?' asked Angus.

'You bet it does,' smiled the man smugly.

'I don't suppose you'd be interested in selling that mirror? I'll give you $50 for it,' said Angus.

'Well, ok then,' replied the man in the boat.

After the money changed hands, Angus enquired, 'By the way, mate, how many fish have you caught this week?'

'You're the sixth,' laughed the man in the boat as he happily puttered away.

20 comments:

  1. Excellent adventure and super photos! I once had to rescue a friend's dog from a similar tank in the San Rafael Swell in Utah. It went in for a drink and couldn't reach the bottom to push off of to get back out. The sides were steep and slick rock. I had to get down on my stomach and inch out until I could grab his collar while my freind held my feet. Pretty scary, but that was a deep and very full tank.

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  2. Sounds like you had a wonderful day today! We're finally heading to Q this week for the Fiberglass Gathering next weekend at Dome Rock.

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  3. well my goodness! I've lived in AZ all these years and had no clue of the place you spoke of today..... I need to get out more :-) thanks for this very fun blog!!

    cindie

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  4. This was wonderful!! Pinning this for our future. Sure can't wait to start climbing again. Flat FL is sure getting old and very humid!!

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  5. Great hike. Planning to travel that way next winter. We added list to our list of places to hike. Thanks.

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  6. Another nice rewarding day in the desert and some great finds.
    We park our coach to block the wind and can enjoy a nice sunny afternoon outside,

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  7. What an incredible hike in a beautiful area. Looks like Hans and I will have to find our way to the Kofa's at some point in our travels.

    Metamorphosis Lisa

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  8. I'm going to almost echo Cindy. I was born and grew up in AZ, scrambled all over, including the Kofa Mts, and I have never found those places! What a great find! Thanks for the guided tour.

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  9. What a fun adventure you took us on today! Loved it! Wonderful photographs, as usual, took us there so we could really enjoy it! Thanks for a great post!

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  10. Wow, what a wonderful hike! so glad your able to get around like this, last year was a different story.

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  11. What a beautiful day, and we are so in agreement with what you are enjoying in the beautiful southwest desert. We are extremely sad to be leaving but hope we can be back, and enjoying the Kofas, Borrego and other wonderful areas. Take care and have fun, which you are doing!

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  12. WoW! What a nice day trip and so beautifully documented. We miss the Saguaros here in Borrego Springs. Pheebs was having a blast. Kinda wish Fergie was more of a desert dog, but she is a little fragile.

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  13. I would have been going NUTS for all of the ancient history in that cave..and the watering holes...touching everything and channeling history..that's what I love!! I can't imagine how wonderful that would have been. I am soooo jealous.

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  14. thanks for the tour. wouldnt be able to take Riggs, he'd want to jump in for a swim and dont know how we would be able to get that big boy out

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  15. What a spectacular day you all had! Thanks for taking us with you.

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  16. Wow, you guys find the best places. I so enjoyed your pictures. I think you may have to hire Pheebs out as a tour guide. She sure seems to know her way around. didn't get to read blogs last night - kinda busy with the new pups but they did GREAT! Thanks for the shout-out.

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  17. What interesting places you've found in those KOFA hills. Great photos, descriptive, scenery galore. I need to save the directions. Hopefully we'll soon be heading in that direction.

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  18. That Pheeber Smooch at the end of an adventurous day says it all!!!!

    Amazing the years and years and years of ancients grinding their grains in those holes. Just think of the camaraderie of the women, together, probably keeping an eye on some kids to not fall off the cliff edge... no playpens in those days! LOL

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
    Karen and Steve
    (Blog) RVing: The USA Is Our Big Backyard
    http://kareninthewoods-kareninthewoods.blogspot.com
    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

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  19. Love your photos & commentary. Finally after living in Arizona since 1981 I finally have made it out to the KOFA Wildlife Refuge area.

    Love your commentary & photos on the area. Will be scheduling a trip to see if I can find them :) I've been to Palm Canyon, north of that area and then out past the historic town of KOFA (private property) to the old mining cemetary.

    Enjoy your travels in our great State of Arizona.

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