Bluebirds Mules Cactus
Land of Enchantment
link to our other web sites http://mountainanddesertadventures.site.shutterfly.com/
This is a very special story about the early history
of the Gila Valley's early people.
Keith Crockett - Jim Bryce - Steve Taylor
Circa 1982 ,some of the team members that helped retreive the artifacts from the "cave"
Keith Crockett, Bill Crager, Roger Johnson
Cotton Cache hike, March 12, 2008
Photography and stories for your enjoyment
Pinaleno Cotton Cache Review
This interesting story is a expedition into hearsay, facts and personal observations.
Beverly and I started out with this look back into history after talking to various local people about the "Cotton Cache" find in 1982. It seemed to us to be a worthwhile project. This has not really been reviewed for many years. We started with the Graham County Historical Museum in Thatcher, Arizona. Toni Williams is a walking History Book for the Gila Valley around Safford, Thatcher, and Pima. Toni was a News Writer for the Eastern Arizona Courier. Toni and the Staff at the Museum in Thatcher have been just great to Beverly and I. Worlds of information is at our fingertips for most anything in the Valley.
The following article is my rambling on about the trials and errors of Beverly and I exploring the Pinaleno Mountain range looking for this place.
This is a continuing puzzle for Beverly and I to try and locate this 5th century finding. I will list some of the items that we have researched from U. of Az. Department of Anthropology in the papers written by Haury and Huckell in 1983.
I found some interesting information about the area near the Tunnel. In 1982 two teenage boys (cousins) from Pima went on a motorcycle adventure looking to go to the McInery, AKA Mammoth or Triumph Tunnel or just exploring. Instead of locating the Tunnel, the boys found a cave in the side of the mountain. The caves and other rooms were full of ancient clay vessels that had 700 to 1500 year old picked cotton and a supply of seeds for the next crop and other artifacts. The boys had small flashlights and could not see well into the darkened cave area. They kept this a secret for a couple of months. They were intelligent young men and knew this was an important find and they would not degrade the site. They finally told their Boy Scout Leader (Steve Taylor) of the find. The find of artifacts has been carefully preserved now and are on display at the Arizona State Museum in Tucson. This whole collection is in the process of being moved to the Eastern Arizona College in Thatcher in the future. Cotton and the cotton seed, and possibly mesquite beans were stored in the clay vessels and still in remarkable condition. The beans had been mostly devoured by insects. Carbon dating revealed this cave was used by three distinct eras of history. One vessel dated 477 to 766 A.D. , one to 584 to 890 A.D. and one to 1170 to 1360 A.D. These Native Americans farmers practiced fairly advanced growing of cotton.
The fun of this search is trying to find the caves by the clues in the research literature. They do not give you an exact location for probably many reasons, one is just keeping it a secure site. The first clue was that it must be in the area of The McInery Tunnel as this is what the boys were supposedly going. This would encompass a five square mile section of the westerly/northerly slopes of the Pinaleno Range near the tunnel. Research papers give only this description of the general area.
" The Pinaleno Cotton Cache was found on the northeastern slope of a small isolated, rocky peak at the end of a relatively level, northeasterly trending ridge some 2,000' below the highest peak in this part of the Pinaleno Mountains. The ridge separates Ash Creek Canyon to the southeast from White Streaks Canyon on the northwest. This peak is about 5,000' and consists largely of a massive block of Precambrian Gneiss heavily fractured and intruded in many places by thin veins of quartz and dia-base. From the crown of the peak which is 70 degrees of slopping cliff and about 600' below is the caves."
These are the things that we are working with today as Beverly and I head out to the area to explore. I am working with my Magellan GPS and Topo software and my new National Geographic Topo software. The combination of the two kinds of software has been a great amount of help.
We went to the Graham County Historical Museum at Thatcher this Saturday AM (2-17-07). I was hoping that Toni Williams had first hand knowledge of the exact location of the Cotton Cache, but she said "that" was one of the few places that she had not been. We will meet with Keith Crockett on Monday AM as he was one of men in the expedition that went to the Cache with the USFS, and the University people. I have prepared special photo’s of the area to see if Beverly and I were correct in our two possible locations.
Back to the trip of today. I do believe that we traveled every trail in the area of investigation. It was only about 25 miles round trip to the area so the rest of the mileage (35) was spent going up and down old mining and Forest Service trails, NO TRAILS and in the washes of the area. Some of this was pretty tough going and "OL Red" the Jeep was in misery again and wanted to go home.
We got near the trail that we took to the "Tunnel" and then took off on FS35, an obscure little trail to the west. This was a rough trail and very slow going. It went to a tank of yesteryears and then continued on to ??.
Just too nasty a trail to follow any further, not knowing for sure where it went, so we turned around to go back to FS681 which is a pretty good trail. We were many times uncertain of where we were today, but never lost!! We found Cluff’s Pond #3 and it is a very neat area. This is on an Arizona Wildlife Preserve. There was a couple of fisherman there and I talked to one asking some information.
There are good large mouth bass and flathead catfish and nice trout and good size bluegill and some crappie. I will have to get a license next season. As we moved on today we found many neat places and things to see.
A New Beginning
We went to Thatcher to meet a Keith Crockett today (2-19-07) He is a well preserved tall tanned man of about 74 years old. He has hiked these mountains and rode horseback through them all of his life.
He said that some of the Newspaper story about the boys looking for the McInery was not exactly accurate, as most all the local people knew where it was. Probably just doing what Boy Scouts like to do in the mountains, just exploring.
First of all the location given by the archaeological account is somewhat of a decoy. I thought this might be true as some of the things did not quite fit. The peak description seems to be correct, but the topographical drawing is quite different. Keith looked at it also and said that is not right. We discussed this further and maybe it was just printed to BE IN ERROR. ?? Who can say? For site protection this is done a lot in the printed publication to help keep the site pristine. Keith was one in the ORIGINAL group that went to the site after the discovery in 1982. He offered to take us to the place where we could see the location and photograph it. We went on FS681, the same trail to the McInery Tunnel. We thought the cave to be in the same area, but not where he showed us. He gave us a lot of detail of things that happened at the time of the discovery.
He had punched cattle in the same area as a young man so the cave was a real surprising find for him also. Keith had not taken his camera along on the first trip there as they had only heard about the caves from the boys as he was one of the Scout Leaders that the boys confided in. One of the boys had dropped his First Aid kit down in the cave and it was still in the same place where he had dropped it.
This trip he took his good camera along and took the first photo’s ever of this discovery and still has the 35MM slides of the event. He has offered to let me have the slides for viewing or maybe make copies to CD for future enhancement and viewing. WOW!! (At a later date we met Keith at the Museum and he showed the slides and I took Hi-Resolution photo's with my WZ8800. These slides were enhanced in my Photoshop and most came out quite well) Beverly and I made a up a pictorial history book with these photographs which we will complete after the hike up the caves.
Keith is a well-educated man and was employed by Eastern Arizona College before retirement. He recalled going back to his buddy’s horse and getting a rope out off the saddle and his friend went down into the cave to see what more might be there. Keith also went down into the cave and what they saw was unbelievable. Just like King Tut's tomb! He said they raised one of the lids off of a vessel and found it to be full of picked cotton balls. Another vessel had its lid ajar and the insects had gotten into it and pretty well destroyed all that was in it. Remember that some of this material carbon dated back as far as 477 AD! They went back and called a Professor of Archeology at E.A.U. to explain what they had found. This man had contacts at the University of Arizona in Tucson so things really started to move now. This was on US Forest Service land so they had to be called also. They planned an expedition to recover the items and properly take care of them. The Forest Service sent a crew to prepare a proper helicopter landing site as close as possible to the caves. A whole crew of workers went up the mountain and one by one the artifacts was handed out and passed on to the next person until they were all outside. They were packed in wooden crates insulated with shredded newspaper and then air lifted down to the Cluff Pond # 3 Wildlife Preserve and put into ground transportation for the trip to Tucson. The crew hiked in from the Ash Creek side of the mountain via the Lone Pine Trail ( a local name for an age old trail ) over the "hogs back" of this ridge). This is the trail that I will try to make the hike to the site. .
Keith is a History Book of information. He told us were FS35 trail went to off of FS681. This trail leads into the Shingle Mill Canyon’s where the old Tram for bringing down logs from Old Columbine logging site in the Pinaleno’s. He said that it is a rugged 4X4 trail and will take a lot of time to get up there but thought it could be done with "Ol Red"Jeep OK. A photographer’s heaven of old places and things to see. Many old structures and equipment remain in the area, but not much left of sawmill or out buildings. He also said that many sawmill sites are in these western Canyon’s of the Pinaleno’s. Carter Canyon, Tripp, Nuttail, and many more and that they are kind of remote but we should be able to get there. On the way back he showed us the site of the old Pima Sawmill at the edge of the Village of Pima.
Also in his conversation told us about an ancient Indian settlement between Cluff Pond # 3 up on a little mesa. He said not too bad a hike to get there. He told of many places that we should see. The old Graveyard of the CCC’s in Tripp Canyon. The old Lookout Tower of the Western Pinaleno’s.
We cannot say enough good things about the Graham County Historical Museum. These Volunteers and the Curator’s have really done outstanding work in the preservation of the Gila Valley history.
Keith Crockett, Russ Murdock, Brent Quinn, Mel Jones, Toni Williams, Rex Owens, and Hal Herbert only to mention a few deserve high recognition . These are dedicated people helping to preserve the history of the Gila Valley.
Another trip of exploration
Ash Creek trip
Temperature 52 degrees high 72 degrees
departure 9:30 return 4:30Pm
GPS miles 41.6
After getting the information from Keith we thought we would try to locate the southern side of the saddle of the Cache location. We found the south side of the saddle and the two "lumps’ at each end with out any problem from the Ash Creek vantage-point which is on the southerly slope of the ridge. We could not find the trail markers as he explained them. We think maybe he meant, "scrub mountain Pine" instead of Ponderosa. We were just too low in elevation for the Ponderosa. It was 2.1 miles from the end of the blacktop south of Pima to the Cluff Ranch Information Center. It was 3.2 miles from the end of the blacktop to the Ash Creek turn off on to FS307, which is not marked. Look for Primitive Road sign , NO maintenance. Road OK to the next cattle guard and there is a parking area here. Sign reads no Motorcycles or ATV’s beyond here. It is 4.1 miles from the end of the blacktop and the road has become a rough rocky trail.
There is a kind of primitive picnic area off to the left down in a grove of scrub pine. The trail is scattered with softball to bowling ball size stuff and some much larger. One to five MPH is all "Ol Red" the Jeep (and passengers) can take. She is moaning for relief again, but that is hours away. It is 4.7 miles from the end of the blacktop to the National Forest Boundary. This is the only place that the old FS307 marker can be found. I started with my tires at 24 PSI today and stopped and now dropped them to 18 PSI. Rides better and is easier on the suspension and tires. I marked out a group of GPS coordinates as we went below the Cache saddle and ridge for reference. Note; They did check out OK. As we never did find the trail and we arrived at the end of the FS307 at 11:45. Did not take time for lunch.
We gathered up all our gear and started on the hike up the mountain looking for the end of Ash Creek Canyon and the water falls. It was not a bad hike, perfect weather and the old game trail was not very severe. As we walked we were next to the water line that filled the Cluff Preserve tanks and ponds. I believe the CCC men put them in and are just gravity flow to the Valley. I think It is an eight-inch pipe and it has ball joint flange and clamp couplings so it can flex in most any direction and still be secure. The upper two or three hundred yards have been replaced with the new style pipe, clamps, and joints in later years. We arrived at the little diversion dam where the pipe is buried under coarse gravel for the pick-up of water. It still looks all to be in good condition. We could hear the water flowing through the pipe when we were down at the lower elevations where there was no sound of waterfalls around us. The waterfalls were quite nice but only a small run off from the snow-field above. The height of the falls was hard to guess, as it was shrouded in Sycamore and Scrub Oak and Pine canopy. Very pretty spot but hard to take good photo’s in because of the time of day and the sun angle and the shade under the canopy. It was about a 3/4 mile round trip hike from the Jeep to the waterfalls
We headed back to the Jeep, as it was way past lunch-time now. We enjoyed a nice quite lunch in the warm sunshine. Elevation was 4,693 feet at the base of the waterfalls. Since we did not find the passage we were looking for, we decided to go back to the Cluff pond #3 and look for the old Indian settlement that Keith had told us about. We left the Ash Creek lunch spot around 1:35PM
Going down, the Ash Creek trail was just as bad , it had not gotten any smoother. It took about one hour and ten minutes to get back down this darn trail to the Pond #3. We hiked about ½ mile over to the little flat mesa where the settlement was. We found nothing or really saw anything other than we understood that it must have been a great place for the Indians to live with small fertile valleys on each side for growing their crops. Very pretty place, lots of fresh signs of wildlife here.
Beverly and I have covered a lot of ground today and we are tired but thought the day was very enjoyable. "Ol Red" the Jeep was glad to get out of that place!
We went back to area again today 2-28-07 for the tunnel and more study of the slope and climb to the Cotton Cache. We feel it is very do-able from the McInery Tunnel trail.
3-1-2007 I called Rex Owens about the location of the "Grids" near Bryce and we will meet tomorrow at his place in Eden. I found out that Rex is involved in the Cotton Cache Collection at the Arizona State Museum in Tucson. He is the liaison between Eastern Arizona College and the Museum at Tucson. He now is getting a lot of static from a professor there to make the approved moved to Thatcher this year. He is very unhappy about the non cooperation. He will share with us all the information about the "Cache" and I will share what we have. I told him I plan to hike up to the "Caves" this spring or next fall (2007) or spring of 2008 and do a lot of photo documentation which I will share with him. We now know the names of the involved people of the find in 1982. The teenage boys were Lammel and Joey Layton. Jason Bigler, another cousin told their Boy Scout Leader, Steve Taylor of the caves. Steve Taylor, Jim Bryce, and Keith Crockett were the first to go back to the caves.
In search of more history
We had an awful time finding the Owens place as she said a yellow double wide with blue trim on a mesa after we passed a bright yellow commode on the side of the road past Markham Wash. Well the house was VERY light cream with blue trim and it was quite a way past the wash and set on only a slight rise of land. Yes, there was a very bright yellow toilet setting next to the road!!! We had a photo of Rex standing at the "front door" and that matched so it helped us locate the right place not that there were that many homes out here. What a great afternoon was spent with Rex Owens and wife Jayne.
Jayne is a well known artist of the Southwest. We have seen her work on display many places but we did not know who she was. She is a Charter Member of the Artist of Arizona and also a good friend of the renowned Southwest Artist Tim Cox. Their paintings are superb quality. Rex is an amateur archaeologist of this area. By profession he was an Electrical Engineer.
He was sent here by his company many years ago when he was in his middle years, he is in his 80's and not in good health now. He was to survey the area for possible business opportunities for the International firm that he worked for. They of course were interested in what the items might be needed due to the mining industry in S/E Arizona specifically the Safford /Gila River Valley. They paid for all of his expenses for over the six to eight months here. He spent the time here on Horseback and in a provided CJ Jeep. He made many archaeological finds while doing this work. He recounted what wonderful times he had in this adventure and this tweaked his liking of S-W history. Most all finds were reported to the US Forest Service and the BLM. He found a large piece of land on a low mesa near Eden, Arizona ( north the fabled Red Knolls) that had many prehistoric Indian settlements on it and made a note of where is was. A number of years later he had the opportunity to buy it from a local Rancher. He built their home on the property and excavated and saved and restored hundreds of artifacts. He later called the BLM and other archaeologist so they might investigate the settlements. He also found some of the remains of the First Mormon settlement in the Eden-Safford-Pima Gila Valley. This was right across the line from his property to the west. This man is a wealth of information.
He was born in Alpine , Texas and later his family moved into southern New Mexico. We were to discuss the cotton Cache find and learn more information but we seemed to get started off on other items first. I ask about Goat Hill? He again had about all of the information one needed to know about that. A group of Indians from old Mexico migrated into the Valley about 500 AD and blended some of their culture with the Yute, HoHoKam, Zuni, Hopi and others but still keeping a lot of their pottery distinctive to their own designs. There is a Kiva still existing on the very top of the mesa of Goat Hill. It is accessible by hike only but I know where to go now so that will be no problem to get there. He mentioned that he has a file cabinet full of all his notes of all of the years here. They would available to us at the Graham County Museum if we wished to look at them .
He talked of a friend that had found a unusual looking horseshoe in the Aravaipa Canyon many years ago. This needed some research and he found it to be the exclusive design of the Spaniards of the Coronado Conquest of the Southwest. He had photo’s to explain the type of shoe that was found. It covered the whole foot of the horse, very different. He has traced the Spaniards from the Northern Canyons of Graham County and to Goat Hill and then south into the San Simon Basin. He said that it was a scouting group of approximately 15 men that Coronado had sent on this route to find a more suitable passage for the main contingent.
We then talked about the Bonita Creek Basin and he said that he had explored that watershed the full length from the Gila River to the tail water canyons. He said many things are still there to look at. He suggested that we go and explore a lot more there. He said that many of the old caves and Pueblo’s had broken down but to look on the cliff slides to find clues. I said Shards etc , he said yes and many points and tools also. He told a story about a man named Toppy Johnson that was wanted by the Texas Rangers for killing some Rangers back in the 70's ??. He hid out in the Bonita wilderness and stayed in the Indian caves. It turned out that his name was Cantrell but it is not known if the Ranger's had ever got their man. That is pretty woolly country back there. I ask about seeing Shard and Sherd being used for pieces of pottery and ask the difference? Shard is ancient piece and Sherd is prehistoric ????
Another place of interest is the Point of Pines which is on the Apache Reservation. This is a difficult place to see because of the Indians now. Another place of great history is Black Rock Ruins . You turn southwest at Fort Thomas at the two rock mounds on Black Rock Road. Continue on to Indian 1503 One must drive through about six miles of Indian road and through about 9 miles of private property to reach this Federal land or go in from the Klondyke side. We do have contacts to come in from that side so we will see which we prefer to do when the time comes.
He told of us of a great collection by the Amerind Foundation. This is a collection of artifacts of southeast Arizona. It is located in Texas Canyon north of Dragoon, Arizona. This is southwest of the Redington Canyons area.
We then moved on to the location of the Grids. This is an area next to Gila River north of Pima , just a few hundred yards from Bryce , Arizona (6 houses). The Grids are the dry land farming area of the Ancient people . It is believed that they raised Agave in this area to supplement their food source. It is an area of about 4 square miles next to the Gila River. From the air it looks like patterns of rock squares for a couple of miles. He said that some were on the BLM land and some on the Dick Bryce Ranch.
You turn at Black Point Road. Dick’s wife ‘s name is Rene. Rex and wife Jayne led the way to the property of Bryce Ranches so we would know where to go and who to contact. We will contact these people at a later time. We did stop off for a few moments in the area but not very good representation of what we were looking for.
We finally got to the famous Cotton Cache thing. I said that we had done a lot of research into this and found it very compelling . I asked many questions to confirm what we had found and he agreed in almost all things . I showed him photo’s of the place to confirm the general location, and he agreed.
We thanked our host and hostess for such a great afternoon and the coffee really hit the spot.
SPRING 2008 exploration
March 12, 2008 Hike to the Cotton Cache Cave
1.78 GPS miles
Temperature in the Valley 41 degrees to 78 degrees
Temperature on the mountain at 4:15 P.M. was 72 degrees
Time log; left Safford 8:00 am, arrived at the McInery Tunnel trailhead 10:15, lunch upon the saddle of the mountain 12:30,
Arrived at the caves around 2:15, arrived back down at the Hummer around 4:15, arrived back in Safford around 6:15
I had looked forward to this hike for over a year now, so this was finally the day. I picked up Roger and we left for Pima and picked up Keith at the Ranch home south of Pima. We visited with Katy, Keith’s wife for a moment. A real sweet lady. Our friends Mike and Mickey McGhee were to follow us in their Jeep so we could show them the location of the McInery Tunnel. They would not be going on the "Cotton Cache Cave" hike. We followed the old dusty road south out of Pima and on to the tunnel road. This was not a very bad road at all. Some property had changed hands out here so there was a new gate entrance to the McBride place (Tripp Canyon Ranch) . We traveled on to the south and down into some sandy washes. As we got up on the ridges the trail narrowed down a lot and started to get rougher. We came to the old corral of the 30-40-and 50’s where Keith had punched cattle for the old Speers Ranch. We then went through the gate into the US Forest Service land. The gate was in bad condition and looked like from the 40 or 50’s vintage. The trail now got very bad with lots of small to large boulders in the trail. Mike is still getting used to those kind of trails. He his not comfortable with his Jeep climbing over the big obstacles. I got out and spotted him through some of the really bad places. He is not yet accustomed to a spotter out in front so has a hard time keeping his eyes on me for the right directions. He fell into a number of bad areas because of this. He got out OK after a number of tries. This was the most extreme trail that they had ever been on!! I was very happy with the H3 as it never faltered once on this boulder ridden rough trail with steep and rutted switchbacks.
We arrived at the tunnel Ok and got out to stretch our legs and then got back into the Hummer and left Mike and Mickey to explore on their own. I turned around and went back about 1/8 mile to our trailhead
Keith, Roger, and I got all the equipment out and checked it over carefully to make sure, as this was a hike that you have to have it ALL. We looked up to the mountain and the upper ridge and planned a route with the first stop to be the saddle between the ridges. This was to be a slow and tedious climb.
Almost 1,000 feet of rise in ¾ mile. To some this may not seem severe, but to us older adults this is tough.
I was concerned about my abilities to do a hike of this kind so was apprehensive. I had all kinds of thoughts. Having gained 18 pounds since my back surgery and not being able to get it back where it should be at, would not help ether. Another year older on March 4th (72) was not a plus. So we will see.
About one third of the way up to the saddle my legs began to feel like LEAD. If someone would have put a fuse in each one and struck a match to it, I felt they would explode. I ask the men for a break and Keith said that he was ready too. I rested a few minutes and we continued on. The pain again was bad but I thought to myself that I must go on. Farther up I needed another break as the legs seemed to get much worse. I told Keith and Roger that I must stop for a while. I had a candy bar in my pack so I got it out and slowly ate it hoping that it would give the old muscles a little more energy. I got to feeling a little better
( maybe a placebo effect) so on we went. By the time we reached the saddle and stopped for rest it was lunch time and I really needed that time for my legs to settle down. I turned to the east and a Javelina was seen about 200 yards below, running across the top of the saddle. As I ate a few pieces of jerky and my orange and lots of water, I got to thinking that I must conquer this pain thing. After a 35 minute lunch stop we started the very difficult climb to where Keith thought the cave to be. It was 1988 when Keith and his son Mike were here and many things have changed. We wondered around the face of upper escarpment for some time and Keith was becoming frustrated that he could not pinpoint the area of the cave. This was hard going with lots of Chaparral brush, cedars, prickly pears, dead agave heads, and loose boulders and flat loose rocks at a bad angle on the side of the ridge.
Keith had brought along some old pictures of the skyline and terrain. This was to be our only guide to the cave. Again Keith was becoming discouraged in his search. We set down and rested and talked about the problem. We got up and walked around and looked for key skylines that would maybe match those in the photo.
I had to dig down deep at this point to muster enough mental toughness and physical energy to keep going.
Keith was up on a ridge about 30 yards from us and he called back for us to come over as he thought he might have a match for the western skyline. We all studied the photo pointing out our thoughts on this ridgeline. We decided to go on to the west about 200 yards (looked like a long way to me). We had to go down a large rock outcrop to get into this ravine. This was a terrible area as it was full of shoulder high brush and lots of loose rocks under your feet. We all had our problems staying up right. We kind of laughed when one of the others fell in a heap. This was the worst place that we had been into yet. We got to the top of the ravine and all set upon a large boulder to rest up and look again to see "IF" me might have found the place. As Keith was studying the photo, he looked up and pointed to a large flat rock on the other side of another ravine. He said there it is!! This large flat rock had a streak of white through it just as seen in the photo. We all looked at the photo carefully and pointed out each "like formation". This WAS the cave area. Another ravine to go through and it was not a any easier than the last one!!
We gritted our teeth and went down into the ravine and up the other side and came out on a flat area. The cave was in the side of the mountain!!
Keith was all grins now. We took off the back packs and other gear and watered up and rested a few moments before going in. I got out all my camera equipment and set up the tripod for later use. The cave has three or four entrances. It is a natural formation made by the collapsing of the mountain side escarpment eons ago. We noted on Keith’s photo that a new boulder had rolled off the ridge since 1988. The cave is made up of many slabs and boulders that fell into a natural notch in the mountain side. These had fallen and piled up in a way that a cave like cavity had been formed. It is difficult to explain the caves interior. As you enter from any entrance, there is an open area to which a number of chambers can been seen. There is an opening about the size of two men and it drops down about 15 feet into another chamber. This is where the clay pots and vessels and other artifacts were discovered. Down in this chamber was another chamber going off to the west. Now, we did not bring ropes with us as it would be a treacherous problem for three old men if we would have gone down into this place. Keith and his friends were much younger and had lots of help to pull themselves out of the "pit". They all went down in 1982 to help bring out the finds.
The adrenaline rush of finding the cave had now relieved me of most of the discomfort and I had a new surge of energy. I got busy with the camera and began doing photography. Lots of fun trying to get the right shots. I took some shots of the "old hikers" from the tripod.
We then sat down on the big old rocks and talked about the ancient people bringing this material up here. It must have been life giving commodities worth the hardship of this hike up here. Their growing areas were about three to four miles from this cache. We spent some time talking about the ancient people and how hard a life it must have been for them.
We then just sat and enjoyed the awesome view from this perch near the top of mountain. It was quite and serene with only the chatter of the cactus wren and other birds to be heard. The H3 looked like a green spot among the other desert brush about a mile away. I took a long shot of the Hummer.
It was time to go back down the mountain. We could see no other way out other than the way we came up. Had been hoping for a better route, but not to be. We powered our way through those two terrible ravines and then back out to the east edge of the upper escarpment. Now it was all down hill from here, but a long ways off to the H3. We were all showing signs of fatigue now but the worst part was over. We walked the somewhat easy saddle as far as possible and then started down the steep slope. It was a zigzag trail down this slope to keep from falling. Pretty darn hard on the knees and hip joints. We were all sore and tired by now and the H3 looked very good as we came over a little rise and it was only 100 yards ahead and waiting to go home.
We unloaded our gear and had a fresh drink of water. I always keep a couple of gallons extra in the H3. I had some ice cold diet pop in the cooler, which is always good after I quench my thirst with the water.
This has been a great day of fellowship with Keith and Roger and a day that I have really wanted to go right , and it did!
The above Journal is my thoughts and research on this Cave. I believe them to be accurate.
Cecil Peel - Steve Taylor
Photos of the retrieval group in 1982
artifacts in net for helicopter lift out to Cluff Pond loading area
Below are some of the photography of the 2008 hike
Starting point to cave on ridge
From inside the cave