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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > GMC/Outfitter trip puts me in ruins

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whazoo

Idahome

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Joined: 10/12/2007

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Posted: 04/10/08 07:57am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Well there was no seismic activity in Arizona this week as I never had to "put the hammer down" in my Man Truck to get over any obstacles. But there was excitement enough for this old fart, I mean heart, to take.
The trip I've just finished has really put me in ruins, literally. My ultimate goal are the 700 year old ruins of Devils Chasm, ohh scary. Devils Chasm is a gouge in the eastern side of the Sierra Ancha Mountains just east of Lake Roosevelt, Arizona Territory. I like the sound of the old state name, it takes me back in time. And this trip will do that as well.
My companion on this outing is Big Dog Bear, my wife letting us have a mano e mano kind of trip.
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Our first destination of the trip is Salome Creek, old ranchers still call it the "Sally May," a year round stream that drops from the west side of the Anchas and heads to Roosevelt Lake. Most times it doesn't make it all the way to the lake, today it does. In all my years of hiking Salome I've never seen it do that, and it's with great joy I get to drive through the creek as it crosses the dirt road.
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After driving through Salome Creek I begin looking for gold. Not the kind you wear as jewelry, but the kind that pops up from the desert floor after a wet winter. And eureka I've found it!
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Ranching was big in the area in earlier days, with abandoned barns, corrals and houses scattered across the foothills. Today my truck and camper is the only animal looking at home on the range. How do you like my new barn?
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After 12 miles of dirt road travel we make it to the trailhead. Bear looks quite disgusted with me. Way too many stops for pictures Dave! Sorry there Bear...
The 3 mile hike to Salome is an easy walk on an old jeep road, and it looks like someone has thrown seeds of multi-colored flowers over the hills. I've not seen this many colors in one place since graduating as valedictorian of my nursery school and receiving as my graduation gift a full set, yes THE full set of not 12 but 150 bright colored crayons. The most colors I had seen in one place in all of my 10 years, till now
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And the colored flowers are surrounded by another color seldom seen in the desert, bright green. Wish I had more of that color in my wallet!
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Getting to the stream is like eating a fifty-fifty ice cream bar, the outside is really good and the work to lick it off is fun,but the best is yet to come. After licking the desert hike, making it to the water is the prize. And who would think this kind of stream exists here? This is my favorite stream in all Arizona. In fact my favorite thing to do is come back in the end of May when it's over 100 degrees out, and yes the flowers are gone, to swim through the slot canyon, the water making a huge elevation drop in a short distance. Climbing and sliding down the water slides and Boy Scouting the waterfalls for over 2 hours. With a 30 foot jump at the end into a bottomless pool of the clearest water ever.
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After heading back to the truck I am looking for a place to camp where years ago I happened to see, of all things, a truck and camper. That sighting and another in Colorado while 4wheeling a 13,000 foot pass in a Jeep were my 2 TC epiphanies. I had wanted a truck and camper since. It just proves the point that if you want it bad enough, and work for it, you'll get it. And so here I am, in my not quite year old TC, camping where another before me has been. Not too many though or the campsite would be a bit more degraded.
With the windows open and the stream down in the canyon in front of me I go to sleep with the sound of the wind and water. And another sound that seems alien to the desert, frogs.
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Headed out in the morning I'm going to backtrack to Cherry Creek, another desert stream. First I have to go through this here gate. I forget the combination to the lock though.
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Out on Cherry Creek Road you need to be REAL careful. Lots of blind curves that people have a tendency to cut thinking they are the only ones on the road. I've been a witness to the destruction of blind curves and in fact twice on this trip was almost tagged by people doing just that, cutting corners. This was my jeep, wiped out by a cowboy chasing cows in his truck on Cherry Creek Road. (The cows were in the bushes, not on the road.) Luckily I was alone. And after several years of building the jeep, it was gone in a second. (Bought back from the insurance company I did rebuild it, another couple of years.)
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Back to tooling down the road, the snakes are out. Also enjoying the great temps before it gets to hot to crawl in the daytime.
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Later on I met some horses out for a walk. I offered them all a ride in my cavernous Outfitter Camper but they said they were just hoofin it, headed out to play People Shoes, where they throw old used tennis shoes and try to ring them around some kind of short metal pole stuck in the ground. I didn't get it. When I asked why they all had such long faces the guy on the right said something about the fact that I should have a Dodge. Just by looking at him I could tell he was a real jacka$$ and not a horse at all. So I ignored him and drove on...
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The last 3 miles to Devils Chasm are pretty rough, but I think most trucks and average size campers could make it. The real big mondo campers would have a hard time.
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Hiking up the canyon it's easy to see why it's called Devils Chasm. A narrow, dark canyon climbing steeply to who knows where. Luckily it would be hard to get lost, there's either up or down and no in between.
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This is one of those hikes that will help get rid of that over-sized caboose and burn those quads till they yell Uncle. The last 200 or so yards have me crawling hands and feet up to, looks like some cliffs. Wait! What the?? No kidding, those people were nuts to build their house up here. And it blends in so well it takes a minute to actually see it.
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After making the grade, I can see the entrance and actually go inside. There is not another sole within miles and I'm a little spooked. I've heard that if the hike doesn't kill you the curse will. So if I never make another post here you'll know the stories are true. Go away goose bumps!
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These ruins are very well preserved for 700 years old. I'm thinking I'll go home and start taking my Dick Clark pills again and see how I look in 700 years.
And as I'm looking out what must have been the back door to the balcony I can't help but imagine Mama Ancha telling the kids to go out back and play...but no pushing and shoving.
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I keep having this feeling of being followed all the way back to the truck. It finally leaves me when I drive over Cherry Creek and get out for more pictures, out in the open once again.
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For my last night out we're headed to another spot picked out while in a Jeep. It's on top of what I've named the "Red Bluffs", looking out over Lake Roosevelt in the distance. And in the middle of the bone dry dirt road I manage to find...mud. Just when I thought I wouldn't have to hit the coin-op after this trip.
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Leaving the Red Bluffs in the morning I'm met by the first white nosed coatimundi I've ever seen. As he hurried by I tried to get him to stop for a portrait. All he said was something about being late for a very important date, with someone named Alice!
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Thanks for reading,
Dave Rogers

PS. I have used pictures of the ruins from a previous trip as a stupid blunder left my camera inoperable on the hike up, part of the curse I guess. All pictures are mine and all descriptions are accurate. Just being honest... and these are not your Grandmother's ruins!! For more pix of spring flowers and the swim down Salome go here.

* This post was edited 04/10/08 08:05am by whazoo *





Spott

SE Michigan

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Posted: 04/10/08 08:11am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks again for posting, what a great trip out.


Me - Kim - Spot
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DonCurley

La Sal, Utah

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Posted: 04/10/08 08:32am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great write-up and super photos Dave! And yes, I did like your new barn. It was nice to see so much water, and I believe this will be more of the rule and not exception in the southwest after having such a banner year (or at least winter season) of precipitation. In our neck of the woods, it is predicted that Lake Powell should come up by about 50 feet.

And don't disparage the venerable jacka$$ ... while he was quite wise to suggest a more manly Dodge over a wimpy Jimmy, I am sure we could both agree that he would do better in the desert over the long haul than either. [emoticon]

When did that accident take place? Man, that Ford looks like it fared a bit better than your Jeep (although it looks like the "FOR" letters from "FORD" got clean knocked off his hood in the collision). Hopefully no one was hurt (did your air bags deploy?).

Nice shots of the cliff dwelling too. It looks like that was a pretty good scramble to finally get up there. And getting a shot of a coatimundi was super!

By the way, what were the temps like?

Don


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rhode trip

Rhode Island

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Posted: 04/10/08 08:36am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

That's another interesting tale and more great photos, Dave. Thanks! Just think how much fun you could have with a real truck![emoticon]


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MudChucker

Niverville Manitoba

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Posted: 04/10/08 08:36am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

wow ! thats awesome !

nice photos...I dont suppose you might have GPS track of this trip ? maps or a link to more info ?


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bighonkinf350

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Posted: 04/10/08 08:47am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great write up and pictures!!


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lhuff

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Posted: 04/10/08 08:51am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

That was GREAT!! We really enjoyed your trip. Thank you very much for taking the time to share with us.

heavyputer

Ontario, Canada

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Posted: 04/10/08 08:54am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great post, excellent pics, almost like being there. I'm envious....


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Jamesq

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Posted: 04/10/08 08:57am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

great pictures thanks.

Neverhappy

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Posted: 04/10/08 09:00am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Beautiful, I am speechless, Thanks for sharing


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