|Hiking||4.10 Miles|| 3 Hrs || ||1.37 mph|
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...It was doing a hike or going to Barbell Strength class... uh, easy choice! At 1pm we headed out on the Spur Cross Trail, up the Tortuga to the new Dragonfly Trail (opened April 2009). This is a new trail so we had no idea what to expect and were pleasantly surprised as we neared the wash and creek that the Dragonfly Trail passes and saw the intense gold and yellows of the trees. Plus who doesn't love walking along a creek and wash?! There is also a heavily saguaroed area on the west side of the Creek down by the Dragonfly Trail.
Per the hike description, there are several ways to get to the Dragonfly Trail - two that come off of the Spur Cross Trail that heads west. The first branch is off of the western Spur Cross Trail about 1/2 mile from the trailhead. The second branch is off of the western Spur Cross Trail that turns into the Tortuga Trail for the next mile (about 1.5 miles from the Spur Cross Trailhead). You will go SE off of the Tortuga before the junction with Elephant Mountain (just after you top the rugged hill) and then meet up with the Dragonfly/Spur Cross junction as you continue to head SSE toward Cave Creek creek.
Along the way you'll go by an area that is active with birds (before the wash). The sounds of the birds chirping and flying was so fun and we saw 4 cardinals. As you make your way closer to a wash, there are scattered trees of gold, yellow and green. You also have great views of Elephant Mountain (when you look back) and far-off views of Tom's Thumb and Pinnacle Peak to the east and the mountains of the Phx Preserve to the south.
Once you get to the creek area, you will come to a junction of the Dragonfly where you can go north or south. We chose south. As you cross the now dry creek bed there is a pool of water and you can hear water running. You walk a little further south and then do a u-turn that takes you above the creek for some great views. And then you come down along the creek again going across a small rock formation before heading up.
As you go up you come to another intersection where we chose to go down back by the creek as I anticipated you would end up along the creek coming back out where the western Spur Cross Trail crosses over a wide spanse of Cave Creek. It looks like this mesquite area was burned recently. A couple people ahead of us said it was a dead end... though I have my doubts. Anyway, we headed back to the intersection and walked up the hill to where the Jewel of the Creek Preserve Trailhead is located (right across from the Spur Cross Stables). You walk a little further north to the parking area for the Spur Cross Trailhead.
The Jewel of the Creek is a riparian area. There is a sign at the top by the Jewel's Trailhead that shows you all the types of birds you can see. I did super zoom a picture of a hawk (I think). I haven't been out in Spur Cross much this year so this was a nice and unexpectedly beautiful Trail. The skies were grey so I look forward to seeing if I can get out there with blue skies and get some more photos in different light.
||Autumn Foliage Observation Light
|For me, sometimes it's just as much about the journey as the destination. |
Oh, and once in awhile, don't forget to look back at the trail you've traveled.