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Cave Creek Indian Ruins at Chalk Canyon
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mini location map2020-04-10
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Cave Creek Indian Ruins at Chalk CanyonPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 10 2020
Hiking10.00 Miles 1,200 AEG
Hiking10.00 Miles
1,200 ft AEG
1st trip
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Greg wanted to go look for some Prime Real Estate and invited me to go with him. I was ready for a bit more mileage and I really enjoyed the last outing at Spur Cross, so I took him up on it. I even managed to convince him to start early, more to avoid people than anything else. Although it was a bit colder at the start than I thought it would be, it was a good call. The Parking Lot was full upon our return and we started running into more and more people (and horses) on the return, the closer we got to the TH.

Decided to take the road out and then Metate Trail back. Another good call, as the wildflowers along the road were pretty sweet. The water level in Cave Creek was even higher than when we were here 3 weeks ago, so finding decent crossings to keep the feet dry was just a tad more challenging than last time. Since it was pretty chilly with a breeze and the sun took it's time cresting over the mountains to the east, we pretty much kept moving for awhile and made good time to the Skull Mesa TH. Once we passed the Cottonwood Trail, I was in new territory. Even when the sun hit, it stayed chilly for a bit, but the uphill on Cave Creek Trail finally started to warm us up.

A few Photo Ops along the way, mostly for butterflies as there are more species out these days. They were enjoying the forests of blooming thistle which have gone nuts since last time I was out here. I can't remember seeing them so tall and robust as they are this year. Cool to look at, but a bitch to bushwack through. :lol: I was actually enjoying the uphill workout which is rare for me. I didn't stop frequently or for long until we hit the creek down in Chalk Canyon. Just before the bottom, coming down the hill, a hill bordering the Trail was seeping water from several spots and formed a small creek, which dumped into the larger creek at the bottom. Once we hit the bottom, the main creek was lightly flowing, so it was a great place to take a snack break, before heading back up out of the canyon. So we take a break and after a bit, Greg decides to get a head start up the hill. He isn't gone more than 90 seconds and I hear this weird noise that's getting immediately louder and I thought I was going to witness some sort of plane crash. I could not believe how loud it was and from where I was, I couldn't see the plane go over. But then, another, noise and I looked up again and saw the 2nd fighter jet streak by and bank to the left. Those suckers were LOW! :sweat: The noise was really deafening, even for someone with hearing loss. :o I haven't experienced a low fly-by like that, since my Dad and I were fishing on San Carlos Lake years ago. Except those 2 fighter jets were skimming the water and we didn't hear a sound until after they passed over our heads! We both about fell out of the boat! Pretty cool encounters!

So we head up out of Chalk Canyon, top out and leave the Trail, heading for the Ruins. By the time we got halfway to the edge, the grasses and other flora were pretty much thigh high. Made for some slower going and interesting footing as you could no longer see the rocks and holes in the ground. And the rocks became a lot more numerous the closer we got. And I felt like the grass and foxtails got even higher. :sweat: But we got there and started looking at all the rooms and the artwork. Prior Civilizations had to have coined the term "room with a view" as their building site had amazing views of New River Mesa and Cave Creek. After Greg found the particular residence he was looking for, we started wandering back south along the edge, watching for more message boards. We decided to descend off the south end where it was a bit less steep, rather than take the steeper descent straight down into a bunch of really thick vegetation. It was a good call as I probably would have lost a lot more blood on the steeper route. :sweat: Thinking back on it now, if I ever do this again and Chalk Canyon is flowing, I might just go back out to the trail, take it back down to the bottom of Chalk and then just go down the Creek. Might be the easiest route of all and it looked like there was some cool stuff down there.

We get down to the bottom without breaking any bones and catch the trail to go back. Stopped at a creek crossing for a lunch break and start running into people, and people on horses. Lots of Horseback Riders out on this day. After the break, Greg takes off down the trail while I'm still packing up and I catch up to him a bit later. We stop at one more creek crossing and Greg decides to dabble his feet in the water for a bit. It was getting pretty warm out. He was interrupted by more horseback riders wanting to cross the creek, so we packed up for the last time and headed for the barn. Took the Metate Trail back and stopped at the Spring for a minute or so, since I hadn't seen it in like 6 or so years. Still a cool place. But people were multiplying faster than we could count, so we hit the trail again and didn't stop until the vehicles. That place was really really busy at 2:30 in the afternoon and people were still coming in.

Great Hike, this area never disappoints and neither does the company. It's been really nice to go with someone that knows this area so well too. Thanks for the Invite Greg! Good Times!

*Take Note* Some of the Foxtail is no longer practicing social distancing, so be warned. While it's not doing a full on assault of socks yet, it's lovin' the mesh on shoes and boots.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
Brittlebush is still going strong in areas and the Lupine is insane in some of these areas. Still some Owl Clover, most of the other common wildflowers are getting sparse. The blooming Thistle is pretty abundant and tall in places. The Prickly Pear will be putting on a good show very soon.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Cave Creek - SPRCA Medium flow Medium flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Chalk Canyon Light flow Light flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Cottonwood Creek Light flow Light flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Metate Pond 76-100% full 76-100% full
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty & well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming, "Wow What a Ride!"
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