Kearny’s army followed a previously unexplored Indian trail through the Hayes and Mescal Mountains to avoid an impassible canyon. The trail led them back to the Gila River at the mouth of Dripping Springs Wash and then up Ash Creek. Expedition artist John Mix Stanley sketched these distinctive buttes along the trail.
Here’s an excerpt from W.H. Emory’s Report:
“November 5  — …In the course of six miles we had crossed and re-crossed the [Gila] river twice as many times, when we left it by turning abruptly up a dry ravine [Ash Creek] to the south. This we followed for three miles, and crossed a ridge at the base of Saddle-Back mountain (so named by us from its resemblance to the outline of a saddle,) and descended by another dry creek [Roach Wash?] to the San Pedro, an insignificant stream a few yards wide and only a foot deep.”