Here I am: following the current and looking for ruins.
We headed down the river early the next morning. I, again, was the only member of our group to hear a pack of coyotes yipping as they ran the ridge high above us. We felt better about our choice of camp when we found four people with a raft and kayak occupying the next camping area that we knew about. They were well outfitted with tables for cooking and chairs.
We had been told to look for ruins near an old gold mine. Piles of tailings were easily identified. We headed northeast toward the cliffs and found some Moqui steps leading to a grainery. There was also some rock art nearby. A long "snake" was the most striking.
The panel is huge! This photo does not give a sense of how extensive Butler Wash Panel is.
We ate lunch at a multi-level ruin that was pretty well broken down. We then drifted down to Butler Wash which has a very well known petroglyph panel. After taking some photos of the extensive petroglyph panel, we set up camp a little way back from the river under a huge cottonwood tree. We then hiked up the wash to look for more rock art and ruins. Hiking in this country was difficult. Thorns and thick bushes were impenetrable and beavers had dammed up the small creek making it difficult to find a way. But enough people and cattle had passed through so there was a passable trail. After reading passing references to "arroyos" in various western books, I finally understood what they are. (They are deep gullies cut quickly through sediment in the bottom of canyons. The sides are so steep that it is impossible to go down into one and come up the other sideone has to find a way around them. The exact mechanism that triggers the cutting is unknown).
We did find some rock art and then ascended the right hand cliff and spotted a ruin in an alcove across the wash from us. Norm immediately descended while I looked further up the wash for an easy way down. There was none. Norm called out and I was surprised to see that he had already gone to the bottom of the wash (several hundred feet) and was well up the other side. My pace was slower but I eventually joined him near the ruin. When I looked back and tried to trace my route down, it seemed impossible because at a distance it appeared to be a sheer cliff. From the other side of the wash, it looked difficult to climb into the alcove where the walls of the ruin were. But when we arrived it turned out to be easy; there were even perfectly placed Moqui steps that helped us get to the ruin. Much of the stucco was intact here and still showed finger marks at least 750 years old!
Norm looks across Butler Wash for ruins.
Even after 750 years impressions of the builder's fingers remain.
We rested and then headed back to camp. We cooked supper with more light than usual. I mixed up some fudge cookie mix and fried it in my Teflon pan. My companions were not inclined to bring this sort of food but each ate one with great gusto. I claimed two for myself! Colin started a fire in the fire pan which made beautiful patterns in the branches of the cottonwood above