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Cottonwood Spring Loop - Cave Creek
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mini location map2012-01-27
118 by photographer avataroutdoor_lover
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Cottonwood Spring Loop - Cave CreekPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 27 2012
outdoor_lover
Hiking10.50 Miles 2,000 AEG
Hiking10.50 Miles   8 Hrs   30 Mns   1.62 mph
2,000 ft AEG   2 Hrs    Break
 no routes
1st trip
On the agenda today was Skull Mesa via Spur Cross Trail. Got out of the house later than I wanted and hit Rush Hour traffic. Didn't get on the Trail until 9:00 and it was cloudy??? Guess I should have gotten an update on the weather. Heading down Spur Cross Trail and got to the intersection of Metate Trail and decided to do a small side jaunt. Only went as far as the River Crossing, but what an awesome Trail! The Saguaros were huge! Saw a Metate and just enjoyed the trek immensely.

Back up to Spur Cross Trail and started crossing the creek. Water is flowing, yea! Love being around water. Crossed 3 more times and took some pictures of course. ;) I couldn't believe how green and lush the grass was. It really contrasted with the red rock. After the last crossing, found the big Skull Mesa sign, hiked about 300 Feet and found the intersection of Spur Cross, Cave Creek, and Cottonwood Trails. I ended up not quite understanding the Description I had and made a mistake, taking the Cave Creek Trail approximately 4/10 of a mile up before I realized that I needed to turn right away on Cottonwood Trail. :? Back down, get on Cottonwood and start going up...and then down...and then up...down. :sweat: And the Trail was all loose rock. (Must be my week for this kind of Trail.;))

Arrive at Rock Tank Spring. There's a Trough with a pipe that was barely dripping and then there's a Pool about 50ft to the north of the Trough that was creating a tiny flow along the rock bed for about 100ft.

Continued on for more ups and downs on that rocky Trail. By this time, I knew, because of several factors, that I was not going to do the top of the Mesa today. I'm not in my better boots (they are on the Injured Reserve List), and now I'm really starting to hurt. It also looks like it's threatening to rain and even if I made the top, I wouldn't have enough time to explore and that's half the fun...

I get to the Junction of Skull Mesa Trail. I look at the view and know that I have made the right decision not to go up on the Mesa. The vistas would have been pretty nonexistent due to the weather. I go up a little ways anyway and find some cool Petroglyphs and Metates and explore around for a few more. Back to the Junction and it's decision time. I've been using one of the Descriptions alot because it was so detailed and it mentioned an unofficial Trail called 247A near Cottonwood Spring. Sounds a little sketchy, but the thought of all those ups, downs and rocks is not even remotely appealing now. So I take a chance and head down the hill to the Spring.

Reached Cottonwood Spring and found a little Flow, but the source looked like it was back uphill a little way, and since I was running out of time and didn't know how far up it was, I didn't go looking. Instead, I started looking for the "old wooden sign" that marked 247A. Couldn't find it, but found a Cairn directly across the Spring from where I had come down. Took it, thinking that as long as it didn't go East, I would be fine. Finally, after two days of mistakes, I was right about something! :D Apparently this Trail is mostly used by Horseback Riders so I was dodging a few steaming piles, but other than that, it was a great trail. Very few rocks, not nearly the up and down, and it had Cairns in any sketchy areas. It appeared to dead end at a Gate with a No Trespassing Sign, but lo and behold, a sharp turn marked by a Cairn. :y: Followed it down and it intersected with a road which intersected with the Spur Cross Trail about 1 mile before the TH. Got back to the car about Sunset and ended up staying for another 1/2 hour because the Sunset was incredible. Sorry about so many Sunset pictures, but I couldn't make up my mind which were better...You guys decide. It was a good Hike, disappointed that I didn't do the Mesa, but I'll be back for that one! :) I have such a huge blister on my right heel that I took the Sunset pics in my socks. :(

Beautiful area and took loads of pictures. More than usual, because there was Water, :) Flowers, :) Petroglyphs :) and Sunsets :) to behold.... Who could ask for anything more???
Fauna
Fauna
Ichneumonid Wasp
Named place
Named place
Elephant Mountain Skull Mesa
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Cottonwood Spring Dripping Dripping
Slightly better flow coming down the hill from the source, but probably not a Quart a minute. Maybe a Pint a minute.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Rock Tank Spring Dripping Dripping
Tiny Drip from the Pipe at the Trough, but the Pool 50 ft up from the Trough was full and there was a tiny flow for about 100 ft down.
_____________________
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty & well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming, "Wow What a Ride!"
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