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Cave Creek Trail #4
106 Photosets

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mini location map2016-01-14
18 by photographer avatarAZWanderingBear
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Cave Creek Trail #4Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Backpack avatar Jan 14 2016
AZWanderingBear
Backpack12.10 Miles 1,408 AEG
Backpack12.10 Miles2 Days         
1,408 ft AEG35 LBS Pack
 no routes
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AZBeaver
There was ice on the ditch water driving out to Seven Springs. This trip was going to be cold, wet too from the looks of everything. Two Gregory packs rode in the back of the Jeep. My old Baltoro was showing its wear well. The spanking new blue Deva was spotless. The trailhead had a surprising number of cars for a weekday, a couple with Canadian tags even.

MJ shouldered her Christmas present Deva and set off up the trail all smiles and anticipation for her second ever backpacking trip. We hit mud, a lot of mud, in the first mile. But the creek was flowing nice and it's a pretty trail. The crossings were all manageable despite a pretty good flow down the creek channel. Met some hiking group of 15 or so returning to the trailhead, thus all the cars.

Hadn't ever been to the campsite that we hoped to use. It's a bit off the trail but by the creek. I had vague directions from another hiker. But we found it quick enough. Nice sand beach, a big tree with exposed roots for sitting on and holding gear, plenty of clear flowing water, nice view, and lots of firewood although it was wet like everything else.

We dropped the packs and had a quick snack. The main purpose of the trip was to get MJ comfortable with some skills for some upcoming backpacking trips without me. So she did the things she wasn't comfortable with and I did the other stuff. Kept a distant but watchful eye on her and got in a ton of wood just in case the night got a little too cold.

With all the wet wood I thought it would be a good challenge to make a one-stick fire. The concept of a one-stick fire is to get everything you need in the way of tinder, kindling, and fuel from a single small piece of wood. Cut a two foot length of standing dead mesquite roughly an 1.5 inches in diameter. The wood was wet outside still but a little better when I split it. Processed it down into the components I needed. The shavings caught a spark from my fire steel on the third strike. The feather sticks caught, but the whole thing was pretty anemic for a while. Kept pushing oxygen into the little flame. The building heat helped against the moisture. Pretty soon the flame was knee high and we were gonna be warm.

MJ worked the stove for a three course rehydrated meal replete with an after dinner cocktail. Hung by the fire for a while, but one side was toasty while the other chilled. The sleeping bags sung their siren song about 8. We alternated waking each other up with our snoring for the next 11 hours. But at least we didn't freeze.

MJ had nursed the fire back to life and even had the water heating for a hot chocolate/coffee combo morning brew by the time I mustered the courage to leave my warm down-filled cocoon and face the morning cold. After breakfast we hiked southbound visiting a few of the trail highlights MJ had never seen. Doubled back and broke down camp and started the slog back to the Jeep. With only one short refreshment break we were back in 2+30. Trail was still pretty muddy in places. There's a lot of water out there right now.

We accomplished what we set out to do. She got some confidence. We mastered the cold. And the first of hopefully many nights out under the stars in 2016 is in the books.
Flora
Flora
Sacred Datura
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Isolated
Willows in a pretty gold along the creek.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Big Maggie May Light flow Light flow
Nice flow into the creek

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Bronco Creek Medium flow Medium flow
Good flow into Cave Creek

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Quien Sabe Creek Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Plenty of filterable pools from recent rains

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Seven Springs Wash Heavy flow Heavy flow
Good flow from recent rains

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Skunk Tank Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Lots of standing pools from recent rains

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Walnut Spring Canyon Heavy flow Heavy flow
Lots of water flowing
_____________________
All you have is your fire...
And the place you need to reach
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