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Elephant Mountain Loop, AZ
mini location map2014-12-26
37 by photographer avatartibber
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Elephant Mountain Loop, AZ 
Elephant Mountain Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Dec 26 2014
tibber
Hiking7.37 Miles 1,353 AEG
Hiking7.37 Miles   3 Hrs   57 Mns   2.28 mph
1,353 ft AEG      43 Mns Break
 
I did this loop last year and was treated to a fall color bonus in Cave Creek; this year would be the same but the colors were a mixed review. It was cold right from the start for my 1:30 hike time. I had a long sleeve hoodie on and brot all my warm stuff just in case. There weren't many people out as I expected for this afternoon hike. I paid my fee to the people collecting it and added a couple dollars; she said to take care of the critters. I have no problem adding to the fee at Spur Cross.

So off I went on the Spur Cross Trail , taking movies along the way and sometimes acting like I hadn't hiked this very often; which of course I had. But the creek changes things as does the extreme rain they've had out here since August (11 inches). Up and up the road I went and around the corner to your view of Elephant Mtn. Then it's down across the small drainage and up the rocky road that somewhat resembles the road up to Polles Mesa on the AZT 25 we had done Sunday.

I movied this too. In fact I movied much more than I intended along with babbling much more than I intended ](*,) . Next it was over onto the Elephant Mountain Trail and down the Boy Scout steps which make this somewhat steep hike into the wash a bit of fun. I encountered a couple coming the opposite way that wanted to know where they were on the Spur Cross map. I showed them but they said that couldn't be as they had come up the creek (pointing to the 252 north). I pointed to Eleph Mtn for real and on the map and said Sugarloaf would be in front of them when they got on top. Well then of course, I was contemplating where they were vs where they came from and realized, they hadn't come the route they thot or showed me :doh: .

Then you're in and out of the wash. They do a lot of work to keep you on the right track by lining up a nice row of rocks or trying to use white rocks for the cairns. You climb the steps out of the wash as you head up and up and up. This is where I let a much younger couple pass me. Eventually you level out for a bit as you head west but then it's up and up and up again. Took a breather on this part as I could feel my heart beating really loud. Anyway, it's not much further and you reach the saddle but not before looking to the north at Black Mesa, Sugarloaf Mtn and over to the east at Skull Mesa :D (something I would like to do but think it might be beyond my abilities).

At the saddle I looked up and could see that couple heading up Elephant Mtn. They didn't get much further then where I saw them as soon they would see me at Teddy Cholla corner to ask how to get back to the TH (hang a left at the intersection). I always enjoy Teddy Cholla Lane and Corner plus the view of all the saguaros on the south side of Elephant Mtn :y: . Oh and the golden grass was brilliant as well. From there I tried to make good time back on the Spur Cross Trail; did so so on that as I stumbled across a saguaro's arm that had split from the main frame to the side of the trail.

I continued onward around some corners and thru a wash and then to the 3 trail intersection where I headed south on the Dragonfly Trail. I did encounter some fall color which I love mixed with the saguaros. There were also a couple new benches I hadn't seen before. Both have great views which is nice if you just want to mosie or just smell the cactus :oplz: . It was starting to get a little cold as I made my way back into the wash and hung a right to continue on the Dragonfly Trail south. Soon I came upon Cave Creek that had a bunch of water and a beach :o . It was pretty cool looking I thot.

Cross the creek and hang a left takes you back up the hill above Cave Creek and past another memorial bench. I always think that if you plan to memorialize someone, you should do it before they die. That way the person can enjoy what you did for them when they are alive. That's why I think memorials are not really for the dead but for the living. It was getting even colder now as I made my way back down into Cave Creek to hook up with the Jewel of the Creek Trail. There was another couple down here taking photos and having a good time.

The big surprise was coming up the Jewel trail. They apparently got some heavy equipment in there after the storms had wrecked the trail and now it's good enough for a wheel chair (if you don't mind pushing them up hill). There was even railing installed along part of the edge. Soon I reached Tonto Jr, one of three vehicles left in the lot. I took my standard pics of HAZtraks and Scout II 2 (fyi; my email conversation with Garmin seems to have come to a halt. The last screen I sent him had the mileage off by 3/4 of a mile - hopefully it's just the holidays).

The car's temp gauge said it was 44 out and I believe it. I was cold and had to turn the heat on with the fan at 3; yes I'm a wuss. Here are the videos, too many I know and they have a lot of babbling... I mean narration:

http://youtu.be/Xj1xuTXZHyA Spur Cross TH to Eleph Mtn Saddle
http://youtu.be/dFvEKDXJp1o Saddle to Spur Cross Trail
http://youtu.be/FpAMXFcURfI Spur Cross Trail and Dragonfly Trail
the fourth video has issues so I may re-work that one. I'm still having difficulty with the new editing software. 1-3-15: I think I've figured out the editing: less is more.
http://youtu.be/jOBymvsEFGk Dragonfly Trail and Jewel of the Creek Trail
_____________________
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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