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Cave Crk Canyon West Side, AZ
mini location map2014-11-28
26 by photographer avatarOregon_Hiker
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Cave Crk Canyon West Side, AZ 
Cave Crk Canyon West Side, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 28 2014
Hiking10.90 Miles 1,860 AEG
Hiking10.90 Miles   9 Hrs   10 Mns   1.19 mph
1,860 ft AEG15 LBS Pack
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This was another hike to explore some hilltops and possible spring locations on the west side of Cave Creek Canyon about 3.7 miles up-canyon from the Spur Cross trail head. After reaching the gate to the 6L Ranch property I crossed the creek and headed up a ridge line leading to the top of a high hill. Immediately after crossing the creek and breaking free of the cats claw I came to a fairly level area just high enough above the creek to escape flood waters. It was littered with pottery sherds. This was not too surprising because there are the ruins of two rock walled compounds within a half mile looking down on this location. It's also just across the creek from the well known petroglyphs about 200 yds past the 6L Ranch gate.

As I proceeded up the ridge line I checked out a couple of low hilltops for possible ruins with no luck. Higher up on the ridge line I started encountering petroglyphs finding 9 along the next mile of my route but no ruins. The most interesting of these was what appeared to be a large sun with two concentric circles on the inside and a maze of lines in the center. I also found a shallow metate worn in the top of a flat boulder which was embedded in the ground near one of the petroglyph sites. The entire area was littered with large boulders with possible glyph surfaces. I didn't have time to wander around checking them all out so there are possibly many more in this area. After reaching the top of the highest hilltop on my planned route I spotted a small cluster of cottonwoods in the bottom of the ravine below. I had seen these across the canyon from the east side on a hike the previous week and suspected there may be a spring here. I could not not see or hear any running water and decided not to take the time and energy to drop down into the ravine to check it out.

After enjoying a quick lunch (turkey sandwich of course) I continued up the ridge line almost to the base of the cliffs below New River Mesa and found more glyphs. I then traversed south across the hill side to check out a couple more possible spring locations and some nearby hillside benches for ruins. One possible spring site had a huge cottonwood tree trunk laying on the ground in a thicket of water loving bushes/trees. It was obvious that there is a rock layer running across this hillside just below the cliffs that has spring seeps below the surface supplying water to these plants. I was surprised that there was no evidence of the 6L Ranch having plumbed water troughs to some of these seeps.

I then headed down another ridge line to return back to Cave Creek. This ridge line flattened out into a small mesa as it neared the creek and I expected to find some ruins on top. However I was running out of time for doing much searching and this ridge top had a heavier plant growth making it difficult to see suspect rock piles. The dense thickets of prickly pear and cats claw didn't help. I was hoping to connect up with an old mining road along the side of this mesa which would lead past an old mine and down to the Cave Crk trail avoiding the cats claw which grows thick along the canyon bottom. Unfortunately the topo map on my Garmin doesn't show this road. So I decided to try out the HAZ Tracks app on my smartphone since I had reception on top of the ridge. It stubbornly refused to find my location and load up a map - Joe's ears must have been burning after 20 minutes of this frustration. I suspect the 4G signal wasn't strong enough. It finally did connect and the satellite view showed the old mining road a short distance away. When I looked in the direction indicated on the map I could clearly see the end of the road below me. However I would have already seen it if I wasn't so intent on trying to make HAZ Tracks work.

The old mining road was clear of brush and led down to what I think was the location of the old mine. There was no sign of a mine shaft except for a small pond filled with icky green water. Part of the road leading from the mine down to Cave Creek had been turned into a ravine by flood runoff since I had last been there in April. Flood debris 10 to 15 feet above the creek bottom in the trees along Cave Creek attest to the magnitude of this flood. From there it was a quick 2.8 mile walk along the Cave Creek Trail back to the Spur Cross trail head.
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Cave Creek
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