If you have done any traveling between Phoenix and Flagstaff you have passed the Aqua Fria National Monument numerous times. If your anything like me, you have looked out to the East and wondered what is so significant about the area. Judging a book by it's cover, the area looks rather bland. A canyon cuts through the plateau that is often home to grazing cows. It doesn't really beckon outdoor adventure.
A few weeks back a gentleman stopped into the gear shop and was talking about his experience in the area. After hiking the area for decades he had stumbled across a significant amount of indian artifacts/ruins. My ears perked up. A few of us at the shop managed to get him to map (by memory) the locations of some of these petroglyphs and other artifacts. I immediately began planning a days worth of hiking in the area to locate and photograph the points of interest he had labeled. I finally convinced Sara to go and explore and we headed out.
After spending the better part of the day hiking off trail, we managed to locate none of the things we were looking for. Correction. We found one set of petroglyphs that were at the junction where we left the trail and began fording our own. The area has a healthy amount of water and would make for a great place to take a beginner backpacking group. You can find out more about the area here. Although we did not find what we were looking for we managed to enjoy ourselves and even saw some local wildlife.