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Cave Creek #4 to Rock House, AZ
mini location map2017-11-01
10 by photographer avatarOregon_Hiker
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Cave Creek #4 to Rock House, AZ 
Cave Creek #4 to Rock House, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Nov 01 2017
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking9.90 Miles 1,011 AEG
Hiking9.90 Miles   7 Hrs   11 Mns   1.57 mph
1,011 ft AEG      53 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
This was my first hike of the fall season in the Cave Creek area. My Michigan snowbird neighbor and part time hiking buddy was back in town for a few weeks and itching for a hike. So we headed to Seven Springs for an out-and-back hike down the Cave Creek #4 trail to the Rock House. We started the hike at the pull out for the side road (FR24B) to the old Ashdale Ranger Station instead of starting at the official trail head thus reducing the round trip distance by 0.8 miles. Lower Cave Creek at Spur Cross is dry but there was water flowing in this upper part of the canyon from the Seven Springs area through most of the narrows on the south side of Cramm Mountain. At that point the water disappears underground and the creek was dry after that. The pools in the narrows all had water and several are deep enough for taking a refreshing dip if one is so inclined (we weren't). Fall foliage was pretty much nonexistent. The cottonwoods were all still green but I'm more of a fan for green than for fall colors. I've gotten kind of burned out on desert scenery but this hike was still a real pleaser with the trees lining the creek, the emerald green pools of water in the narrows and the forests of saguaro on the south facing walls of the canyon. Those emerald green pools at the base of Cramm Mountain were the inspiration for the name (Emerald Lode) of the first prospecting claim filed there in 1877. The mountain was named for Richard Cramm, one of the two prospectors who made that claim and who settled down at the base of the mountain to work it.

The trail is starting to get a little overgrown with cats claw Acacia bushes after passing the junction with the Skunk Tank trail. There is evidence of some pruning along the trail before that junction. When we stopped at the Rock House for lunch I noticed that Jackie's dark blue pants were now decorated with tiny tufts of lighter colored fabric thanks to her cats claw encounters. She seemed to take this misfortune in stride even when I suggested that perhaps the tiny tufts might start a new fashion trend. I never thought to take any photos of the Rock House because I've been there several times before. [ photo ] It dates to historical times and was built with rocks re-purposed from the ruins of an ancient Indian village. Scattered Indian pottery sherds and bits of broken glass from old whiskey bottles give clues to the past inhabitants of this site. One story I've heard on the Rock House origins is that it was a stage coach/freight wagon way station along an old wagon road that continued 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. I've found evidence of the old road bed where it climbed up out of Cave Creek near the 6L Ranch, passes near the Rock House, then crosses the creek and angles up the north side of the canyon a short distance west of Cramm Mountain. Another possible explanation for that old road bed is that it was built in the late 1800s to provide access to the mining activity at Cramm Mountain and the Rock House was a miner's shack. I have been unable to verify either of these possibilities despite a visit to the Cave Creek Historical Museum and reading a couple of local history books on the area.
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Isolated
Very isolated
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