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Cave Creek Trail #4
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mini location map2015-02-08
23 by photographer avatarOregon_Hiker
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Cave Creek Trail #4Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Backpack avatar Feb 08 2015
Oregon_Hiker
Backpack22.40 Miles 3,414 AEG
Backpack22.40 Miles3 Days   4 Hrs   30 Mns   
3,414 ft AEG2 Days   16 Hrs    Break40 LBS Pack
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Went on a 3 night backpack down Cave Creek Trail #4. I set up camp on the creek bank about 5.5 miles from the trailhead near Seven Springs. Over the next 3 days I took mostly off trail exploratory day hikes in the surrounding area. The plan was to search for previously unknown (to me) Indian ruins, more evidence of the 1880s era wagon/stage coach road that passed through this area, and look for evidence of old prospects/mines. I had some success finding signs of ancient Indian habitation - 7 small ruin sites, at least 8 pottery sherd sites, and 2 petroglyphs. I also found another section of the old wagon road but had no luck with finding evidence of old prospects.

All the sites related to Indian habitation were within sight of the fortress ruins on the NW end of Skull Mesa. This extended by about 2 miles beyond my previous ruin searches north along CC #4 from Spur Cross Park to the location where the spur trail from the 6L Ranch intersects with CC#4. The ruins I found on this trip weren't particularly significant or large. What does seem significant is the abundance of so many habitation sites within a relatively small area all clustered around the north and west sides of Skull Mesa. It seems like almost every level spot, especially on hilltops, has signs of habitation. Why did they favor this location and how were they able to support so many people in this small area?

Finding another section of the old wagon road adds further credibility to the story I heard from a local that there was a stage route in the 1880-1890s that came up Cave Creek and climbed out of the canyon on the north side not far from Cramm Mountain on a route through Bloody Basin. It is supposed to have connected to the old military road that passed through New River to Fort Whipple near Prescott. On previous hikes I have found where this old road climbed out of the canyon near Cramm Mtn and a section where it climbs up towards CC #4 from the 6L Ranch site.

On day 3 while I was on top of a knob looking for ruins I witnessed a fairly large military style helicopter drop down into the canyon from above New River Mesa and land at the 6L Ranch. It only stayed for a few minutes and I couldn't see what they were doing because a hill blocked my view. Perhaps some government folks were checking out the 6L Ranch which is part of the 5300 acres of "pristine private land" that has been offered up by the Resolution Mining Co. in exchange for 2300 acres of federally owned land in the Oak Flat area.

By day 4 I was out of food and ready to head for home. But there are several more areas up there to check out for Indian ruins so I'll be back.
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