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Skull Mesa from Spur Cross TH
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mini location map2010-11-27
9 by photographer avatarblskywtwtr
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Skull Mesa from Spur Cross THPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 27 2010
Hiking12.50 Miles 2,500 AEG
Hiking12.50 Miles   5 Hrs   14 Mns   2.39 mph
2,500 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Perfect weather, great company and a good opportunity to work off those Thanksgiving calories conspired to make me bite off more than I could chew for this trip.

After a fast-paced warm-up up the Cave Creek creek-bed, Scott and I came to the sign marking the trail's departure from the creek. A moment's confusion ensued as the the exact meaning of the sign's "You are here" (hint - there's an unpainted arrow highlighting the more precise location). The trail leads up and out of the creek, with some great views back across and down stream. After a few hundred yards trail 247 ducks to the right and downhill.

Here's where the roller coaster nature of this hike comes in: from here to the turnoff for trail 248 we found ourselves questioning the layout of the trail several times, as it occasionally headed south and took odd feints down and across canyons. Downright counter-intuitive in some cases, and the heads up we'd gotten from the MCSO deputy at the trailhead proved to be correct: this year's rains had "changed things", in some cases seriously eroding the trail.

The turnoff for the actual summit push came quickly enough though, and then the elevation gain started in earnest. From the trail 248 sign and gate we bushwhacked uphill a short distance, regaining the trail quickly enough. For me, it was like hiking up Piestewa after a rollicking 5 mile approach, and I was paying the price by this point. We walked south to the point and took a few pictures.

The hike out just proved to be exhausting - not much else could be said about it in my condition. Suffice it to say that Skull Mesa is not the typical Phoenix hike, even the strenuous ones, and deserves all the respect you can give it. None the less, I'd be happy to go back with more time, training (and water), and look around the mesa a bit more.

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