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Cave Creek / Cottonwood Loop via Spur Cross
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mini location map2013-04-13
33 by photographer avatarDroog
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Cave Creek / Cottonwood Loop via Spur CrossPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 13 2013
Hiking26.09 Miles 5,520 AEG
Hiking26.09 Miles   10 Hrs   5 Mns   6.36 mph
5,520 ft AEG   5 Hrs   59 Mns Break35 LBS Pack
1st trip
The overnight trip begins at 8amish in the parking lot of Spur Cross. The beginning of the hike started like pretty much all other except for the 30lbs on my back. The creek was flowing and everything was well. With the running stream we were confident that there would be plenty of places to refill along the way. We decided to skirt around the front side of Skull Mesa around the east side. The wild flowers were blooming all over. While it was only 85 outside the unrelenting sun took its toll rather quickly. We each burned through 3 liters of water before we made it to the east side of Skull Mesa. Luckily we found a small trickle of water at the second pool of Cottonwood Spring. Enough to be moving and sink our pumps. This water had to last as it did not look like we would get another chance until we got closer to seven springs. After we got water there was another good elevation push. From what I looked at online I knew it was mostly down hill from here and it was. The trail crossed over the dry creek bed several times after we veered to the north. This leg was much more easy going. At one point we did come to a cross road, up the hill or continue the creek bed. Well the creek bed seemed like a good idea all the way until we slammed right into private property. We lucked out and the ranchers were out and allowed us to cut through their property to the number 4 trail. I'm not sure if we shaved any distance off but I would recommend staying on the trail because the next group may not be as welcomed. Once we were on the number 4 we knew we were close to where we wanted to camp. A little over 15 miles into the trip we re-upped on water just to be sure one more time. A few yards more and we found a great camp spot. We found a scorpion trying to get warm by the fire. He was not aware of what caliber of people were camping. He was promptly charred and eaten. "Nutty" is the answer. Once huddled into our tents it felt like I had packed just the right amount of gear. At 2am I was cold. I no longer had good feelings about leaving my hoodie at home. The REI 1.5 mat however was the best decision ever. What a great bargain and comfortable enough to sleep on my side.

On the second morning at 8am it was good to know we had under 10 miles to go. Breakfast was good, water was replenished and the camp was left like we were never there. I had high hopes that we would be closer to the water and have some shade on the way out. This was not the case. The shade quickly disappeared again to a very rocky and uncovered trek. Beautiful scenery and many more places to explore along the way. There was one point along the second day that we popped up a few hundred feet in a very short distance. This did not feel pretty on feet but when it was done was almost all of the elevation we would experience and now it was only 5 miles of down hill. When we finally made it off trail around 1:30pm we were beat but happy.
Blue Dicks
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial
There were flowers sprouting everywhere.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Cottonwood Spring Dripping Dripping
Low flow and dry spots along the way. Get what you can when you have the chance.
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