Slickhorn Canyon 1997
Exploring the ruins
One of the great things about layover days is that you do not have to be in a hurry to break camp. Just sit back, relax and enjoy developing sunlight on the big canyon walls. This is not a trivial canyon. The walls are several hundred feet high, and they seem to soar to the sun. Reminds me a lot of Escalante without the river. By 9 am we were all set to go exploring. Our first goal (Susie and I) was to go back up canyon and take a look at the Anasazi ruins that we missed in theat marshy meadow coming down canyon. A 20 min walk brought us back to the meadow, and the path leading off to our now-left. The ruins were pretty nice. Abandoned home area - you could tell because of the size of the metate. I have never seen such a huge corn grinding area, with so many grinding spots in all of canyon country. A lot of folks must have inhabited the place 800 years ago.
We explored the ruins for about 20 min, and then headed back to camp, and then up canyon. Just a few hundred yards above camp, we spotted a small grainery about 150 feet above the floor of the canyon on the west wall. We went up to explore that, and then stayed high for a few more hundred yards. I reflected during this time how much I was enjoying being with Susie - just by ourselves. We enjoy our friends, but I also enjoy just her company. Maybe that is why she was my best friend and why I married her. Ok, enough schmaltz. Anyway, we moved up the canyon another mile or so, and saw another path leading up to the west wall. We decided to follow it, and were treated to a nice batch of ruins, with a well preserved roof on a dugout room. Not a kiva, because it was not circular, but in pretty good shape. Lots of pottery shards around. We continued up canyon, and around noon time, heard some of our crew yelling to us. They were several hundred feet above the canyon floor, under a large overhang. Turns out that they had found the so-called perfect kiva. It took us 15 minutes or so to climb up, and we were rewarded with nice shade, and a cool kiva to explore. The roof was perfectly intact, and someone had reinforced the ladder leading down into it, so you could climb down safely. I took a few pictures, and enjoyed a shady lunch. I think everyone except W&B was up there. After lunch, we climbed down, and headed up canyon for a ways. We found a big cairn in the creek bed, pointing the way around some huge pour offs, which Susie and I never actually saw. I could not determine if this was for Access # 1, or 2, but you would have to do some major work to get in here.
At this point, Susie and I turned around, and the rest of the crew came behind us. Dolph had turned around earlier, and had found Barb A's hiking stick, which she had misplaced. George caught up to us just by the time we got to the second set of ruins that we had seen, and pointed out to us that high up on the wall above our ruins, was one that he had gone out to explore. Talk about missing the boat!! S& I went up the last side canyon for a few hundred yds, but turned around when it started looking like work. The late afternoon was warm, nearly 70, and it was time to go back to camp.
Had our baths early, and by 4:45 it was time to start rehydrating the veggies for pasta primivera. We told George about our (OK, actually Susie's recipe) and he was interested enough to want to make it at home. We swatted no-see-ums that night, and after dark, had a fire. It clouded up, so we could not see the comet.
© Roger A. Jenkins, 1997, 2006