Saturday, September 5, 2009
"PERFECT KIVA", (Slickhorn #1)
Follow the directions for Slickhorn #6 hike, but take the first clearly defined track west (this will be about 4 mi. from the pavement) after bearing south where the Government Trail turnoff goes north. This westbound track (right) takes you to the trail head and primitive campsite at "First Fork" of Slickhorn Canyon.
This kiva is indeed perfect, although the ladder is replicated. Can't have everything. 700 years will do that sometimes.
There is no maintained trail into First Fork, which will head you in a southwesterly direction. 15 minutes brings you to a pour-off which can be detoured to the left via a shallow side canyon. A mile past this easy circumvention there is another pour-off, this one not so easily negotiated. Here, climb to a bench just below the mesa top on the south side of the canyon. Look for cairns. When you are on the bench, look across the main canyon and downstream for a large sandstone monolith. This monolith is your landmark for descending back to the main "First Fork" canyon. Look for cairns again. (If you are short of clues, perhaps Rangers have knocked cairns over. I can't blame them, sorry.) Now, 200 yards downstream from the monolith, look for the trail up to "Perfect Kiva Ruin". You will not see the site from the canyon bottom. IT'S SWEET!
We turned back here, but hiking 1 1/2 miles more down canyon brings you to "Second Fork". There are several small ruins there I heard, including a fine granary.
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