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Monday, June 23, 2014

The Ruins of Sacred Mountain

We woke up on the Saturday before Memorial Day knowing that we were running out of time on our trip.  We ate breakfast, then loaded up to hike Sacred Mountain, an off-the-radar hike to some ruins.  We had learned a little bit about Sacred Mountain when we visited Montezuma's Well, and later when we were at the V-Bar-V we obtained directions from a tour guide who offered them. 
We started out about 1/4 mile south of the V-Bar-V, at what is now a pull out after the side road was closed.  We followed the old road to a fence line, crossed the fence, then turned south on the faint trail on the other side.  Soon we came to a hikers gate in the fence, where the turns are tight enough to allow hikers through but not livestock.  We crossed through the gate and the trail immediately improved.  We then followed the trail as it looped around to the south side of the mesa then to the top where the ruins are.
As we climbed the mesa, we saw numerous pottery shards along the trail.  Some were decorated like this one is, while others were plain.   Once we got to the top, we started finding a whole lot more pat shards all over the ground.  Sacred Mountain has never been excavated and has an abundance of pottery and artifacts all over the place.  If you visit, please don't take anything home with you other than the memories and your pictures!
We wandered the top of the mesa, making one fantastic discovery after another.  A basalt mano was just laying on the ground.  It was good to see it.  I've seen a lot more metates and grinding holes while hiking then I have manos.  I think the larger metates are more difficult to haul away, so they get left behind by the hobby collectors.  Again, please leave everything you find here!
The walls of the pueblo have all fallen down.  We saw very many rock piles, which were at one time walls of the pueblo.  The oral tradition is that this is where the people who lived at Montezuma's Well came from.  Is this also where the petroglyph creators of the V-Bar-V petroglyphs lived?  Perhaps, but nobody really knows. 
This wall was the tallest wall we found still standing on top of the mesa.  It was about 3 1/2 feet tall, and had a "collection platter" on top where past visitors had left a collection of pottery shards they had picked up.  Please don't make collections!  If you see a pretty piece and pick it up, please put it back where you grabbed it from!
Here's a close up of the collection plate.  Cool?  Yes.  But not nearly as cool as seeing the same pieces where they were in the dirt. 
We wandered the mesa top, from one rock pile to the next, and at points in between.  It was literally like wandering an outdoor museum, but it was better then that because I could find what was there in the museum.  After finding something cool, we'd call the others over to come and look, and then we'd all resume our wandering and searching.  After wandering and looking, we started descending down from the mesa.  One last pottery shard caught my eye, so I bent over and picked up this two-toned beauty.  After taking a picture, I set it back down and stood up for the hike back to the car.  Hikes like this one are bound to leave a smile on your face.  It still makes me smile as I think of it. 

Nearest City: Sedona, AZ, Camp Verde, AZ
Location: N° W°
Time Needed: 2-3 hours
Difficulty: moderate
Kid Friendly: yes, with supervision
Additional Info:

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