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Elephant Mountain Loop Spur Cross, AZ
mini location map2018-11-13
15 by photographer avatarLosDosSloFolks
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Elephant Mountain Loop Spur Cross, AZ 
Elephant Mountain Loop Spur Cross, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 13 2018
Hiking8.02 Miles 1,497 AEG
Hiking8.02 Miles
1,497 ft AEG12 LBS Pack
We decided to do this loop in a counter clockwise direction as we had been on this part of the trail a couple of times before to see Ringneck Spring and also as access to Trail 252. The order was Spur Cross, Tortuga, Elephant Mountain, and then Spur Cross back to the main parking area. In retrospect, clockwise would have been a better choice. The heavy rains this area received in the fall really took a toll on the northern section of the Elephant Mountain Trail. Most everything was washed out and loose rock was everywhere. The wooden steps that the Scouts installed years ago were also in bad shape. I believe hiking in the opposite direction would have been a little less stressful.

We intended to stop at Ringneck Spring for a quick break and also to see if the old hand pump was working (it's intermittent depending on the water table). We were already mentally bushed from watching every step so we decided to keep plugging on up to the saddle. The trail from the 252 turnoff up to the saddle got even worse. Tough going for LosDosSloFolks!

We arrived at the saddle below the Fortress and the summit and took a much needed breather. Seeing the Hohokam ruins on top of the Fortress was on our list of things to check out. Prior to starting out we checked in with the ranger to ask his permission to climb up past the "No Entry" sign to see them. He said we could but to be very careful near the cliff edges. I have always tended to be careful when walking near cliff edges, so with Ranger Smith's blessings (yes, that's his real name) BooBoo and I headed on up to find some pic-a-nick baskets. :D Those of you over 60 should understand that reference!

The climb up from the saddle was steep but over with quickly and the views from the fortress were outstanding. We could even see our home...kind of. Archaeologists don't believe that this site was used as living quarters but more likely as a lookout and/or signal tower. There are many ruin sites near and far that are in a direct line of sight with this location. I've said this before, but I'm still amazed that the Hohokam people climbed these mountains and mesas on a daily basis with yucca fiber sandals. Pottery canteens must have been a joy to lug around too. I don't believe pitch covered basketry was in vogue yet!

During the trip down the mountain on the south side is when we realized that this was the way we should have come up. The trail was in fantastic shape and not nearly as steep. Live and learn. Experience comes from bad decisions, or however that old saying goes.
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