Went with my friends Brian and Kat, and their friend Jesse. Gap Creek was flowing, but just a bit. Crossing the Verde was cold, but did not seem nearly as cold as last winter crossing it on an overcast day to get to the hot springs. We lost the trail twice going in, which actually saved us about 200 of elevation gain. Made it to the ruins, and explored further up-canyon about a half mile to try to find a larger ruin that Brian had only seen in pictures. Didn't find the bigger ruin, but spooked a herd of javelina that booked it down a drainage below us. Brian had a better angle than I, and estimated about 30 javelina, including 3 babies. Managed to follow the trail the entire way on the way back. It was a nice hike, and good to see Brian and Kat again. I really liked Towel Creek, nice solitude and interesting metamorphic geology. The route was pretty well-cairned, but very faint in sections, and thus easy to get off trail. The trail seems to do at least one very unnecessary climb. As I said, going off-trail saved us about 200 feet of elevation going in, and could've saved another 200 going out doing the same. Brian was pretty familiar with the area, I had a GPS, and the weather was very mild...in other circumstances I would not have been so comfortable, and probably wouldn't recommend off-trail travel to those unfamiliar to the area without reasonable route-finding and physical abilities, or during the hot months.