Portal Rodeo Hiking Club - November 4, 2010

The previous post highlighted the rock art the Portal Rodeo Hiking Club viewed before beginning the scheduled hike but the main objective for the day was Horseshoe Canyon.  Access to the mouth of the Horseshoe Canyon from Highway 80 south of Rodeo, is from Zent Rd which winds around before reaching the abandoned adobe line shack that marks the entrance to the canyon.

Hiking along the south side of the canyon on the way in, there was an old homestead about one mile up the canyon (foundation outlines visible on Google Earth).   It was marked by an old truck frame along the trail and the old orchard was also visible up one of the side canyons.  After about 1.5 miles, at the second gate,  the group of 14 had broken up since some had other commitments that day and small groups proceeded in different directions up canyon.  Four of us continued up North Fork from Horseshoe and had lunch on a grassy slope.  Our group of 4 hiked back out along the north side of the canyon along the bench.  The bench was covered in waist high grass and was spotted with boulders from the canyon wall above.   We came across a chest high boulder with a number of grinding holes on top and a small rhyolite thumbnail scraper someone had placed on the boulder.  It took a work to repeatedly climb up on the boulder and grind seeds creating 6 inch deep grinding holes.  In contrast to all the work the original inhabitants spent grinding seed, we made snow grass angels instead.  By hiking in the south side and out on the north our group covered about 5 miles total along the canyon without seeing the same view twice.

In the sidebar, and at Chiricahua Sky Island, Rodeo, there is a Google map of the hike with photographs and comments from several contributors on the hike.  Each blue placemark will open a separate window with a comment or photograph taken at that spot, sort of a virtual hiking map.  Unlike the mega websites with trail descriptions and no views of the scenery, this map is by the local hikers who have been there, know the area, and share their insights.  Open the map in new window for a larger view.

Grinding holes atop a large boulder in Horseshoe Canyon.
Making snow grass angels on the bench above Horseshoe Canyon streambed.

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