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Cave Creek Canyon West Side, AZ
mini location map2016-01-11
15 by photographer avatarOregon_Hiker
photographer avatar
 
Cave Creek Canyon West Side, AZ 
Cave Creek Canyon West Side, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jan 11 2016
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking8.20 Miles 1,663 AEG
Hiking8.20 Miles   7 Hrs   52 Mns   1.04 mph
1,663 ft AEG12 LBS Pack
 
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It's that time of year when I return to Cave Creek Canyon to look for Indian Ruins. I've been doing this for five years and have located 105 sites with ruins, petroglyphs, or pottery sherds. There aren't too many areas in the canyon left for me to explore. This hike was intended to search an area on the west side of Cave Creek Canyon just north of Sugar Loaf Mtn along the base of New River Mesa. I had scouted out 5 promising locations on Google Earth and had plotted a lollipop loop track that would be about 10 miles long with about 2600 AEG. About half of this distance would be off trail bushwhacking.

I started out hiking for about 2 miles on the Spur Cross Trail which follows the old FR48 along Cave Creek crossing it three times. The creek had a fairly good flow from the recent rains but a plank bridge on the first crossing and some rock hopping on the other two kept my feet dry. I turned off on the Limestone Trail #252 and followed it a short distance to a hillside bench that overlooks the creek. I wasted some time here searching the flat area just off trail for possible ruins but only found two pieces of old corrugated roofing indicating there may have been a mining or ranch shack here at one time but could find no evidence of any structure. Then I headed up hill to follow the top of a ridge northwest for about 0.7 miles before descending to a saddle and from there traversing the north side of Sugar Loaf Mountain. I encountered three small level areas as I ascended the ridgeline. Each one contained a small one room Indian ruin (rock pile) and a few scattered pottery sherds.

After traversing the north side of Sugar Loaf I had to descend into the bottom of a deep ravine and then start climbing the long slope up to the base of New River and the first of the five waypoints I had marked for my ruin search. About a third of the way up this slope I started feeling that kind of fatigue that at my age says it's time to turn around and head back. So I cut the hike short making a loop down hill to the north across a small drainage to follow another ridge which ends at the site of the abandoned Silver Cross Mine. I found another small one room Indian ruin with pottery sherds near a saddle in this ridgeline. As I descended the ridge to the mine area I heard a barely audible low frequency thumping sound which seemed to be coming from the vicinity of a small cement block building. I wasn't too keen on running into anybody on this mining property so paused to look for the source of the sound before proceeding. That's when a herd of Javelina burst out of the bushes with much loud huffing. They scattered quickly but I caught a glimpse of a large female with two youngsters following close behind. By the time I got my camera out they were all gone except for one straggler who hung around long enough for me to get a picture of him through an opening in the brush. The strange thumping sound was now gone so I assume the Javelina were making that sound. The small cement block building turned out to be a now empty explosives storage shed - the only building remaining on this property. On my way through the mining property I passed what appears to be the remains of huge cyanide leaching heaps and the associated now overflowing collection pond. Not exactly an environmental friendly operation and a little unsettling to know that a couple years ago I filtered drinking water from Cave Creek approximately where any leakage from this site would have entered the creek. Actually, the water was for my son-in-law's father so no worries, he survived. After that a quick walk down Spur Cross trail to the parking lot and I was home just in time for dinner.
Fauna
Fauna
Javelina
Named place
Named place
Cave Creek Continental Mountain
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