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Moon House Ruins & Upper Johns Canyon

The Maze and the Mesa | Day 6
Thursday, April 14, 2011

After another very windy and cold night, Jared and I had some breakfast and headed over to the Kane Gulch Ranger station again. We wanted to make this an easy day since we had done a lot of hiking all week, so we decided to go check out the Moon House Ruins. We had attempted this hike a few years ago (before the permit system was started) but we were unable to find the way down and across McLoyd Canyon to the ruins, so we wanted to finally reach the ruins this time. We arrived at the ranger station at 8:00am and quickly obtained our permit. Then we were soon on our way down the Snow Flat Road to the trailhead.

This time we did end up reaching Moon House Ruins and spent about 2.5 hours exploring the area. We were lucky and had the place all to ourselves. On our way back across the canyon to the Jeep we did eventually meet two other groups of three who were hiking in to the ruins, so I guess we got there at a good time!

The outer wall of the main Moon House ruins.

Outer Wall by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

What looks like a snake pictograph located above the ruins.

Moon Snake by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A view from behind the outer wall. A very cool and unique place.

Behind the Wall by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The very unique stripe painted on an interior wall that the Moon House Ruins is known for.

Painted by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A closer look at the paint on the interior wall.

Stripe by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Here’s a closer look at the snake-like pictograph from inside the outer wall.

Spiked Snake by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Three structures next to the main Moon House ruins.

Three Rooms by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Many old structures make up the Moon House complex.

Moon House Rooms by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

An interesting pattern and smoke-stained ceiling.

Striped Roof by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A small round structure found a little ways down canyon from the Moon House Ruins on the same ledge.

Round Room by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I just love seeing the fingerprints of the builders still in the mortar. This section has a whole bunch of them if you look closely.

Finger Impressions by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

This long rectangular ruin was below a ceiling with a very cool pattern that was reflecting the light nicely with an orange glow. The following two photos are of the same area, just different perspectives/compositions.

Open Window by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

End of the Row by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Golden Ceiling by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

There is no shortage of ruins found nearby.

McLoyd Ruin by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Moon House Neighbor by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After heading up the canyon a little ways we came across a good sized kiva that still has some of the plaster on the interior wall.

Plastered Kiva by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A T-shaped door in the kiva.

Kiva-T by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Just beyond the kiva we climbed up to an alcove that had a few pictographs including this anthropomorphic figure.

McLoyd Anthropomorph by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The view in McLoyd Canyon as we hiked back across to my Jeep.

McLoyd Canyon by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After we spent a while exploring the area we hiked back across the canyon to the Jeep and had some lunch while we figured out where we would go next. We decided to check out Upper Johns Canyon where we could search for more ruins. It looked like this would be an easy hike, but apparently Jared and I have a hard time sticking to our plan for an ‘easy day,’ because when we were done searching Upper Johns Canyon we ended up hiking a few miles more than we originally planned. We also climbed from the bottom to the top of the canyon a few more times than we had wanted to. We were pretty tired by the time we got back to the Jeep again.

A few petroglyphs we found while exploring the first set of ruins we visited.

Johns Petroglyphs by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

We found a lot of pot sherds throughout the week, but this is the only one I took a photo of. There were a whole bunch located near the ruins in this canyon…some were pretty good sized.

Pot Sherd by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Under the Ledge by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

On our way to the ‘Big Ruins’ we passed these pictographs.

Scribbles by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

There’s a door stone in place on this structure.

Johns Doorway by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

These are the ‘Big Ruins’ located high up on the canyon wall. It was a little tricky finding the way up to them.

Johns Canyon Ruins by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

All that’s left here is a window frame.

Window Frame by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

We found a few faint handprints near another set of ruins that we passed as we made our way back to the Jeep.

Johns Hands by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

This small granary is built on an overhang.

Overhanging by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The door stone on this one is broken and missing a piece.

Broken Doorway by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After our hike we headed over to Muley Point so that I could call Amanda again. When I was done with my call we stopped to search for a nearby hill-top ruin. There was really no visible ruin to speak of (just a mound of dirt), but the area surrounding the mound was littered with pot sherds everywhere.

Next it was back to our camp on Coyote Flat for dinner and a campfire to keep warm. The wind was supposed to die down that evening, but it was also supposed to be a very cold night.

>> Moon House Ruins & Upper Johns Canyon Photo Gallery

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