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Spur Cross Loop
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mini location map2013-03-03
42 by photographer avatartibber
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Spur Cross LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 03 2013
Hiking9.80 Miles 1,858 AEG
Hiking9.80 Miles   5 Hrs   30 Mns   2.31 mph
1,858 ft AEG   1 Hour   15 Mns Break
Was going to do 5057 but the day before we ended up working at my mom's place until 7:30 toward that final push and I was exhausted. So I did the same distance but without the HUGE elevation of 5057.

It was a nice morning though humid as I started my hike on the Spur Cross Loop heading NW and then NE on the Metate Trail. That Metate Trail is always such a joy especially as you enter the land of the giants. The birds were also enjoying the morning as I heard a lot of singing going on.

When I reached the junction with the Spur Cross, another hiker motioned me toward her and said there were about 4 or 5 deer that were down in the creek but had come out. Finally I saw them on the side of the hill and super-zoomed in. Fortunately they were curious deer and they looked at me and held steady for quite a time. Yep, my hike was off to a great start in spite of my once again heavy legs.

The creek was pretty full as I made my way toward the old corral. I was doing this part of the combo loop in the opposite direction (counter-clockwise) for the first time. I skirted the creek as you head west again (you can also cross here and cross again but I just stayed south) and made my way to the old corral after crossing the creek two more times. And then it was the dreaded UP for a mile or so :sweat: . But it really wasn't as bad as I thought (I always love that ;) ). I did stop and shed layers and the bottom of my pant legs as it did seem pretty humid out with the on/off again cloud cover.

Coming out of the Page Spring area I spotted a few bunches of Indian Paint brush to photograph before making my way up and down a few more times as I headed to the top of an area where I could see Elephant Mountain. By this time it was pretty much overcast. Off and on the trail from Page Spring is full of rocks so it makes the hiking a little rougher. Fortunately THAT doesn't last too long and pretty much ends at the junction with the Elephant Mountain Trail where you head down into the wash and get to enjoy the nice step work the boyscouts put in a few years back.

The wash is always fun to walk in and out of as you plod your way toward the saddle at Elephant Mountain. The scenery was so green and I thot, "Where am I?" much like I did two weeks ago when our mountains were covered in snow. I was also glad Arthur was sleeping (he was the snake we had to bypass a couple years ago). I passed a couple hikers and their dog as I headed up the mountain in earnest. BRUCE ALERT: About 1/8 from the top, I decided to have my snack in the bedrock area where sometimes a gila monster can be spotted but apparently not today.

I paused at the saddle to take some photos and a movie with the changing light. Descending from the saddle is a little slippery so watch your step. When I got back to a level area I noticed how clear the views were all the way to Weavers Needle. I also always admire the cholla in this area before you round the corner and start heading down the trail where you will also see many and large saguaros.

At the junction with Spur Cross, I used the sign to help stretch my hip flexors as they were so tight. It was really making my hiking uncomfortable. I saw a fellow on a bike and would see 3 more further down the trail over by what I called the golf green. In about 1/2 mile I spotted gold and as I got closer, even more gold :y: . Yep, I was now hiking on what I would call Poppy Drive as poppies lined the trail on both sides with bunches scattered about the hillside. What a marvelous sight to encounter when you're thinking, only 3 more miles. And the best part was on the curve. It was simply marvelous and I hope my photos and VIDEO Part 2 will show how awesome it was.

As I was continuing I saw a big rock on the trail that looked like I could grab on to it and stretch my flexors again except :o , part of the rock came loose and I almost went flying. When I got to the next intersection, I used the sign as my balancing pole to try and work out the pain in my flexors but it didn't seem to help much. I guess I should have sat down cross-legged at that point to see if I could garner longer relief but I pressed on.

As I got closer to the creek I got to enjoy some beautiful cottonwoods leafing out and some with white bark. In this light, the colors were quite vibrant. I finished off the Dragonfly Trail and headed out the Jewel of the Creek, past the horse stables (run by a couple from Sidney, MT) and arrived back at Tonto. I had hoped I could do this loop in 4 1/2-5 hours but didn't quite make that. I think I dawdled more than I thot plus I had slowed quite a bit due to the flexors :stretch: .

I think this is a great loop and fits all the criteria: close to home, decent mileage and AEG, scenery, wildlife, and water. :D

Spur Cross to Metate to Spur Cross and on to the 252 -
Elephant Mountain Trail including Poppy Drive -
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
Poppy Drive could be found on the Elephant Mountain Trail about 1/4 mile from the junction with the Spur Cross Trail just below south side of Elephant Mountain. The cottonwoods along Cave Creek are leafing out.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Cave Creek - SPRCA Medium flow Medium flow
The creek is flowing nicely and you can hear it as you hike the Metate Trail and along the Spur Cross Trail as you head toward the old corral. Will require some rock hopping in a couple places . However there are planks in place at a couple of the crossings.
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.
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