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Black Mesa - Cave Creek
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mini location map2014-01-13
55 by photographer avatarFLYING_FLIVER
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Black Mesa - Cave CreekPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 13 2014
FLYING_FLIVER
Hiking12.43 Miles 3,490 AEG
Hiking12.43 Miles   8 Hrs   42 Mns   2.09 mph
3,490 ft AEG   2 Hrs   45 Mns Break
 
1st trip
This out-and-back hike consists of roads, ‘good’ trails, rock-filled trail sections, and ….. ’no-sign-of-a-trail’ …. trails. The road portion is short (mostly rock-filled), the ‘good’ trails are good, and the rock filled trail sections are a podiatrist’s financial bonanza.

A few washes have to be crossed, with one wash having such steep walls that steps have been made. Those steps (up) are alot of ‘fun’ on the hike back. :(
The second half of the hike to Black Mesa had the disappearing trail sections that required a bit of route finding, with tall grass obscuring some cairns closer to the mountain. This is no big deal though, as you’re moving across a rather flat area just west of Black Mesa at that time.
All in all a good hike, with the last 400 Ft to the top of the mesa being very steep with tight switchbacks.

There’s a benchmark (MESA) on Black Mesa, plus two reference marks, that I wanted to find. All three were easily found in rock outcrops. The datasheet from the original surveyors (1924) stated the benchmark location was, “on the extreme southeasterly and highest point of New River Mesa, which has a very flat top with steep malpais slopes on all sides.”
Future surveyors also called Black Mesa by the name of the mesa to the north, New River Mesa. This is understandable, as the two ‘mesas’ are only 1/4 mile apart, separated only by a small, shallow saddle that is easily hiked.

The 1946 surveyors went up with horses from the Spur Cross Ranch and essentially used the same route we use today. They’re the ones that set down the two reference marks. They also set an azimuth mark near the original Spur Cross Ranch, which has subsequently disappeared, with only its bore hole and cement remnants left. Subsequent surveyors established a second azimuth mark to the west, near the town of New river.

The rock-filled sections of the hike (there are many) made for a slower pace than normal, as deliberate foot placement was needed to prevent foot and ankle issues. It was tough trying to keep a normal hiking stride for any length of time in those areas.

The top of the mesa reminds me of an extremely oversized (and overgrown) Flatiron, gradually sloping up and narrowing, to the south. Prickly pears are abundant on the mesa and some evidence of the 2004 fire can still be seen.
The bright yellow car tire (as reported in previous photo sets) is still up there, but now it’s in a tree. Someone must have won the ‘ring-toss’ game. :)
Flora
Flora
Teddy Bear Cholla
_____________________
Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost
J.R.R.TOLKIEN
HAZ Member
FLYING_FLIVER's
234 Photosets

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