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Evening Cave Explore, AZ
mini location map2016-11-18
26 by photographer avatarGrottoGirl
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Evening Cave Explore, AZ 
Evening Cave Explore, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 18 2016
Hiking4.20 Miles 1,426 AEG
Hiking4.20 Miles   5 Hrs   26 Mns   1.10 mph
1,426 ft AEG   1 Hour   37 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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Somehow we agreed to meet at 3 PM on a Friday to go check out a cave. I had to get a permit for road access a few days in advance and then plot our driving and hiking routes. Airkewled also plotted a driving route. As we were driving we discovered that our routes were different. We choose to use mine for the way in. The road was horrible, we didn't see any tracks on it. The brush was dense so the scraping noises were like fingernails on a chalkboard. As we were driving, gloope nervously gripped the container of Animal Crackers and said, "I don't trust anyone driving out here." At some point Kevin came to a screeching halt - the road had been washed out. We had to backtrack to an alternative way I had seen on the map. The alternative way did have some tracks and from there things were somewhat better.

The map had a 4x4 track on it, and I assumed that we'd hike that. Airkewled assumed he'd drive it and he managed to drive it a way before suddenly the road ended.

We got out of the truck and packed up to hike. We started hiking just as daylight was waning. This was our first ever dark bushwhack! What was I thinking! ](*,)

As we hiked we encountered bushes with thorns. It wasn't pleasant but luckily, it didn't seem like it lasted to long. We took a ridge that would take us past a waypoint that someone had given us for a blowhole. It seemed to take us a while to make it to that waypoint. The going was quite rough. We did however, find the blow hole and we took a few minutes to explore it.

From there we continued up the ridge. It got steeper and there was a lot of steps that were loose making things even more difficult. We continued until we hit the elevation needed and then started to contour over to where the cave should be. Had it been light out we would have seen the cave before we started to contour. In the dark, we were forced to navigate by GPS to find it.

We found the cave and explored it. The cave had been studied by the UA because of Native American relics. We were surprised to still find some. We even found one of the coolest cave formations I've ever seen - a Rimstone pool that was above the ground. We even found that there was an undocumented room with some pretties. It did require a squeeze in order to get in.

On the way back we followed that ridge down and then ended up in a drainage. We had seen a trail on the GPS so we followed the drainage to the trail. To use the word trail was grossly exaggerated. We found that it did have a follow-able foot bed. However, it was completely overgrown with what seemed like every kind of thorny bush known to man (outside of cat claw). I now wish I had recorded some audio to demonstrate how horrible of a bushwhack it was. To make matters worse, the knee on my pants had ripped so I had half a leg exposed to the thorny brush. I can tell you that I came close to just sitting and refusing to hike any further (keep in mind I do a lot of bushwhacking!). However, we were expected to be at our cave survey the next morning so I plowed on. That definitely was the longest mile I have ever walked. :scared:

On the way out we took Kevin's driving route. It was much better! We cruised until we found ourselves at a ranch house. Luckily, there were guys there and they were able to help us out. They did mention that we were lucky they were there and that normally the gate would be locked.

We arrived out the cave survey field house at 2:30 in the morning and quickly got to bed!

Note: if you want to explore caves and you live in Tucson, you can join our grotto! We meet the first Thursday of each month at 6:30 at the East side Summit Hut. Don't ask me for a tracklog or waypoints. You need to prove that you will treat caves with conservation in mind before you get to go see the cool stuff.
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