Great riding with you all!
Next time you are out in the area, one of the best books I have found about Perry Mesa and sites to see is "The Archaeology of Perry Mesa and Its World"
Here's what the Tonto archeologist who spoke at last month's Trail Talk sent me about the area.
Actually, I can’t think of any petroglyph sites within a short walk of the road that would be of interest (that is, more than one or two little glyphs on a boulder or two).
Rock Cabin – do you mean the spur off of FR578 that goes to Mud Springs Cabin? As far as I know, that was built back in the ‘teens as part of a sheep operation on that allotment. It was subsequently used as a line shack by most of the cattle permittees that came in afterwards, but hasn’t been used much at all for the last 20 years except by hunters.
There’s really not much literature out there about Bloody Basin. The Army chased all the Apache and Yavapai out of there in the 1870s and by the 1880s there were several ranches in the area. The Basin itself was used to graze sheep originally and then became part of a sheep driveway that was used to bring sheep from farther south on the Verde out to roads going north to Flagstaff and possibly also the railhead at Poland Junction (they crossed the river to the east side then came back to the west side at the sheep bridge in Bloody Basin – which was built during the war by Basque sheepherders using material salvaged from mines in the Bradshaws). As the 269 climbs out onto Hutch Mesa there’s a place just off the road that was used for watering and perhaps dipping sheep that you can see from the road and a little spur road that will take you there). Other than that, there’s not a lot of interesting history about the place.
As for ruins to see, until you get to Perry Mesa, there’s really only one that’s readily accessible from the road and it requires a little detour, turning east on the 269 at the 24 junction – roughly 3 miles east of the junction there’s a road (987, I think) that turns to the south a little before the jct with FR18. Dugan Ranch Ruin is right there (you can’t miss the place where people pull off and park); it was partially dug by a field school of sorts back in the 70s (long story) and is kind of a mess, but it’s easy to see some of the rooms. Other than that, everything’s a ways off from the 24 or 269 and requires a lot of hiking.