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Metate Trail - Spur Cross - 31 members in 126 triplogs have rated this an average 3.4 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Apr 17 2019
LosDosSloFolks
avatar

 Photos 508
 Triplogs 30

64 male
 Joined Feb 10 2019
 Cave Creek, Ariz
Spur Cross Meander, AZ 
Spur Cross Meander, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Apr 17 2019
LosDosSloFolks
Hiking5.19 Miles 737 AEG
Hiking5.19 Miles
737 ft AEG8 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
A busy schedule has precluded us from hiking much lately but this morning we at least made something happen. A friend came up from Phoenix to get some final leg stretching in for his go at the Camino de Santiago. He leaves soon for Spain to hike 200 of the 500 mile journey. I asked why he wasn't doing all 500 miles, (he's only 59), and he just looked at me like I had two heads. :D

Since Spur Cross is in our back yard we did a quick loop hike and short walkabout there. He had not been up here before and it was beautiful for us. The rain we had last night not only kept the dust and heat away but the humidity was so high there were low clouds everywhere at the start of the hike which made for some nice vistas. I was gladly surprised at the amount of wildflowers still thriving up here. Pretty much gone in most other places.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
More flowers than expected!
_____________________
"In beauty happily I walk, With beauty before me I walk, With beauty behind me I walk, With beauty all around me I walk"
Navajo Nightway Chant
Feb 10 2019
tibber
avatar

 Guides 21
 Routes 576
 Photos 25,730
 Triplogs 844

64 female
 Joined Feb 26 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Spur Metate Tortuga Dragon Jewel, AZ 
Spur Metate Tortuga Dragon Jewel, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Feb 10 2019
tibber
Hiking6.19 Miles 1,057 AEG
Hiking6.19 Miles   2 Hrs   42 Mns   2.44 mph
1,057 ft AEG      10 Mns Break
 
1st trip
I wanted to see the water so to convert my wish to reality, I went out to Spur Cross. I haven't hiked for a couple weeks as most of my spare time is being devoted to getting my brother's house ready for sale and the past week, figuring out the coin collection. I learned a lot; I'm sure he would appreciate that with a glimmer in his eye and a subtle laugh. And of course, some of the coins, I wonder why he purchased them. I found some really old pennies though and if you ever see a double exposed 1955 penny, it's worth quite a bit but then again 1955 is a very good year :) .

Oh ya, the hike. I wanted to hike the Spur Cross Trail north from the VC which is now a building with some touristy stuff in it and the admission personnel. I gave them a $5 (oh, it's only $3 but I like to give a little extra) and was on my way. It's been awhile since I've hiked northbound. I encountered a few hikers as I made my way toward the creek. As everyone knows, it is so incredibly green out there and this area is no exception. At the confluence with the Metate Trail there were hikers hanging out and a small horse group came up the hill. There is quite a bit of water in Cave Creek as I crossed the newly placed planks (2x4s). They've replaced these planks a lot the past few months. The hike to this point seemed longer than I remember.

I came to the end of the road at the next creek crossing which is as far as I had intended to come on this part of the trail. I did head up on the big red outcropping to see if you could get over them but it doesn't look like it. The crossing one would use is the big rocks in the creek at the end of the road, they are slightly to the right. I headed back and encountered two people with their dog who was experiencing water for the first time; always a fun sight to observe.

I hiked on to the Metate and got some more pictures of the water and some of the flora along the way. I finally remembered to reset my camera time as it was running 12 minutes off. On the way down the Metate I stopped to eat some wolfberries and some other hikers saw me and inquired and I told them to enjoy. They had always wondered about them. From there you are into the bosque and the saguaro section which is always impressive. There was lots of London Rockets too. Oh, I think here I heard a darn rattler but it was HAZel, sheesh! I admired the large skeleton saguaro on the side of the trail and remembered it when it was living. It's sure a pretty skeleton though.

I crossed the planked creek again and stopped and admired all that water. Once I got closer to the intersection with the Tortuga Trail there was a lot more people. Up the hill I went passing a few folks along the way, they headed left staying on the Spur Cross Trail while I continued to the little Tortuga Hill that was filled with blooming Brittlebush. I finally headed south trudging across the Tortuga Trail. I don't think I've traveled this part of the Tortuga in a long time. It also seemed longer and rockier than I remember. I passed the intersection with the Spur Cross Trail heading where a couple people were taking advantage of another one of the many benches in this area.

As I got closer to the creek the amount of people I would encounter increased. It's always such a pretty sight coming down in the creek where you can see the saguaros, the slightly fall colored trees and the water. The Dragonfly Trail has a lot to offer. As I was going north bound on the west side I did go off of it slightly to check out the creek. You can sure tell it was running high and was still running pretty good.

Alas, one more planked creek-crossing before hiking on the Jewel of the Creek Trail. I did encounter another Wolfberry bush, the biggest and bestest wolfberries I have ever had. As I topped out there were still quite a few folks coming in. In fact, this was the most crowded I've ever seen Spur Cross in my fifteen or so years I've been hiking here. The parking lot still had a lot of cars in it at 1PM.

a lot of narration in these videos:
Spur Cross Trail to second creek crossing and back to Metate [ youtube video ]
Metate, Tortuga, Dragonfly, Jewel of the Creek [ youtube video ]
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
lots of Desert Trumpet and London Rockets, some Brittlebush (a lot of it in the waning stage), lots of patches of Globe Chamomile
_____________________
For me, sometimes it's just as much about the journey as the destination.
Oh, and once in awhile, don't forget to look back at the trail you've traveled.
1 archive
Feb 03 2019
mazatzal
avatar

 Routes 31
 Photos 2,166
 Triplogs 1,073

62 male
 Joined Jul 28 2004
 Scottsdale, AZ
Spur Cross LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 03 2019
mazatzal
Hiking9.00 Miles 1,500 AEG
Hiking9.00 Miles
1,500 ft AEG
 no routes
Did a modified Spur Cross loop: Dragonfly - Tortuga - Elephant Mtn - Limestone - Spur Cross and Metate.

It rained the whole time we were there! No views but the flora was good.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Limestone Spring - Spur Cross Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute

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

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Page Spring - Spur Cross Dripping Dripping
_____________________
2 archives
Jan 25 2019
survivordude
avatar

 Routes 59
 Photos 779
 Triplogs 139

38 male
 Joined Aug 19 2009
 The Basin
Cave Creek Indian Ruins at Chalk CanyonPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 25 2019
survivordude
Hiking16.00 Miles 1,657 AEG
Hiking16.00 Miles   5 Hrs   57 Mns   3.05 mph
1,657 ft AEG      42 Mns Break
 
Another Luna hike in the books. Paid my $3 and passed several large groups on my way to the Tonto line. Anytime I come up here, I go through the Metate trail because why not? It is fantastic. Normal water flow in the creek. Stopped at the glyph area. The aliens are still there.. because we never left. Kept going up creek past the old truck and into a small corral area. We had a small snack and hung put by the creek for a while. When we were leaving I found a trail leading up the hill, so I decided to keep going up it and the path was pretty easy to follow up to where it started to flatten out a bit and I lost the trail until I saw some pink ribbons and I followed those for a while until I lost those also. As I was checking the map and reorienting myself, I came upon a nice ruin area with several walls and some great views. Eventually, I found the Cave Creek trail and took that back to Spur Cross. Luna is loving jumping in all these pools and puddles lately, she is really coming around.
_____________________
Jan 12 2019
DixieFlyer
avatar

 Guides 15
 Routes 199
 Photos 2,475
 Triplogs 188

male
 Joined Jan 07 2017
 Fountain Hills,
Skull Mesa and Chalk Canyon, AZ 
Skull Mesa and Chalk Canyon, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jan 12 2019
DixieFlyer
Hiking15.10 Miles 3,075 AEG
Hiking15.10 Miles   8 Hrs   40 Mns   2.56 mph
3,075 ft AEG   2 Hrs   46 Mns Break
 
I took a few people on this hike that I had done a few weeks ago.

We made a loop out of the hike, starting and ending at the Spur Cross TH. We started out on the Spur Cross Trail, and about the time we got to the Tonto National Forest we made a short off-trail jaunt to hit Trail 247A, and then made our way up to Skull Mesa. After traversing the mesa to get to the fort ruins on the NW side of the mesa, we descended from the ruins down the east side of the mesa, and angled our way north and then west until we got to Cave Creek Trail #4. On the way back we stopped off at the Rim of Chalk Canyon to see some pueblo ruins, and then dropped down into the Canyon to check out some petroglyphs and metates.

Compared to the "standard" out-and-back route to the ruins, I'd estimate that this route was 2.5 miles shorter and had 800'-900' less elevation gain.

I found 3 geocache containers on the mesa.
_____________________
Dec 25 2018
mazatzal
avatar

 Routes 31
 Photos 2,166
 Triplogs 1,073

62 male
 Joined Jul 28 2004
 Scottsdale, AZ
Cave Creek Indian Ruins at Chalk CanyonPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 25 2018
mazatzal
Hiking9.50 Miles 1,140 AEG
Hiking9.50 Miles
1,140 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Went out to just beyond 6L ranch and came back along Cave creek. Got a few sprinkles but not much.
Not many people except in SCRA.
Lots of flowers and fall color. Great day!
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Moderate
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Cave Creek - SPRCA 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
_____________________
1 archive
Dec 23 2018
DarthStiller
avatar

 Guides 15
 Routes 234
 Photos 6,048
 Triplogs 438

50 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Spur Cross LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 23 2018
DarthStiller
Hiking7.50 Miles 1,092 AEG
Hiking7.50 Miles   3 Hrs   50 Mns   1.96 mph
1,092 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Jim was wanting to maybe go out to the Supes, but with a 2:30 kickoff, I had to do something a little closer. We had originally planned to include hiking over the saddle on Elephant Mountain, but we slowed down a bit on Trail 252. Once we got to junction where it was the point of no return, we decided to skip it and take the shorter loop.

We got an early pre-dawn start, but with the nearly full moon, we never needed to use headlamps. The lighting was very good, making for some nice pictures once the sun came up. Didn't see any other hikers untils the last mile or so, then the trails seem packed. The streams all had water running in them, making for more nice scenery with the yellowing leaves.
_____________________
Dec 23 2018
JimmyLyding
avatar

 Guides 109
 Routes 335
 Photos 4,221
 Triplogs 568

45 male
 Joined Feb 16 2007
 Walnut Creek, CA
Spur Cross LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 23 2018
JimmyLyding
Hiking7.50 Miles 1,092 AEG
Hiking7.50 Miles   3 Hrs   50 Mns   1.96 mph
1,092 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Another great hike with the Stiller. It was cool hiking in the dark (Darth Stiller demands a very early start for his storm troopers) under a pretty big moon before hiking uphill as the sun came up. The trip back down to the Dragonfly Trail was beautiful because of how the sun lit up the mountains behind us. Altogether a pretty sweet hike, and kudos again to Chris for putting it together.
_____________________
Dec 14 2018
kingsnake
avatar

 Guides 83
 Routes 184
 Photos 7,987
 Triplogs 639

57 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
Limestone Trail #252 - Spur CrossPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 14 2018
kingsnake
Hiking6.90 Miles 1,050 AEG
Hiking6.90 Miles   3 Hrs      2.30 mph
1,050 ft AEG
 
Now that is cool in the Sonoran Desert, I plan to do a few mine explorations. This Friday, I intended to return to Santa Maria River area, hoping to find something even half as cool as the Weepah-Homestake Mine: [ photoset ] . But that would have required at least some planning & research, and I had too many other things going on last week to put in the necessary time. I was able to quickly change gears to this loop, which I last did in December, 2012. So long ago, I had posted only one video, ever, to Youtube. This hike is my 448th video: [ youtube video ] .

Not much sense in repeating my 2012 triplog, so I'll hit the highlights. 😉

Cave Creek had light flow, but could be dry hopped at each of the three wood plank bridges between Spur Cross Trail and the wilderness boundary a mile north.

There was pretty darn good fall color north of the wilderness boundary.

Judging by others’ reports, the Limestone Spring box is full with decent flow between November and March, at the least. There’s lots of bees, but they are not aggressive. (I stepped across the spring box several times without being stung.) 🐝

I followed the obvious trail up from Limestone Spring, but it was newly established trail. The actual trail, hidden in heavy grass, proceeds up wash for a bit, before cutting through some trees to join up with the new trail. You can’t go wrong either way.

The old gate still tops the saddle between Limestone Spring and Page Spring, which is full of moist sand.

Between the gate and Page Spring, Limestone Trail #252 descends through white rock, worn to chalky powder in many spots. I bet that is limestone. I smart. 🤪

From Page Spring, to the cemented together "Rondo Spring" cairn, south to Tortuga Trail, it is still rocky as all get out. A pain in the tutkis. And feet. Piedra no bueno.

A ½ mile south of the petroglyph rock, the trail surface turns to jeep trail, the surface steadily improving the closer it gets to Cave Creek. For a few hundred yards it is Elephant Mountain Trail, for ¾ of a mile Tortuga Trail, then a ½ mile of Spur Cross Trail to the Metate Trail intersection, closing the loop. On weekends, this section is packed, particularly with dog walkers. On Friday, at lunch time, the only folks I saw were two old ladies resting on a bench by Cave Creek. 👵🏻

This was my 193rd hike of 2018. Unless I break a leg, I'll hit 200. 💪
Meteorology
Meteorology
Autumn - Color Foliage
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
Brittlebush were going nuts, in huge clusters. About a half dozen other species scattered here and there.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Limestone Spring - Spur Cross Quart per minute Quart per minute
Decent audible flow. Box full. Lots of bees, but they are non-aggressive.

dry Page Spring - Spur Cross Dry Dry
No longer a spring box: Now a sandbox.
_____________________
http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
Dec 05 2018
DixieFlyer
avatar

 Guides 15
 Routes 199
 Photos 2,475
 Triplogs 188

male
 Joined Jan 07 2017
 Fountain Hills,
Skull Mesa and Chalk Canyon, AZ 
Skull Mesa and Chalk Canyon, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Dec 05 2018
DixieFlyer
Hiking18.10 Miles 3,500 AEG
Hiking18.10 Miles   10 Hrs   15 Mns   2.41 mph
3,500 ft AEG   2 Hrs   44 Mns Break
 
I had been to Skull Mesa and Chalk Canyon 3 times each but I had never done both on the same hike. So I talked Tracie into going on this hike with me in order to rectify that situation.

We started at the Spur Cross TH, and took the Spur Cross Trail into the Tonto National Forest. Once there, we went off trail for a bit to get on a use trail that connects with Cottonwood Trail #247 about a mile west from where the Cottonwood Trail meets Skull Mesa Trail #248. I had noticed that lindaagm came back this way from Skull Mesa, and I used her route to get over to this trail. I like this way much better than continuing on the Spur Cross Trail until it hits Cave Creek Trail #4, and from there taking the Cottonwood Trail all the way over to Skull Mesa Trail #248. The use trail was easy to follow, and I thought that it was a better trail than Cave Creek Trail #4, which I took on the way back.

Once we got to Skull Mesa Tail #248 we took it up to the mesa. It was a bit steep, but there are lots of switchbacks on the steeper sections, so the ascent wasn't bad at all. Once we got to the overlook, I looked to the east and could see some places that were obviously at a higher elevation than where we were at the overlook on the SW side of the mesa. My GPS measured the overlook at 4,260'. So we went about 1.25 miles to what I think is the high point of the mesa on the SE side of the mesa. My GPS measured 4,570', whereas the high point is supposed to be 4,595'. The altimeter in my GPS isn't 100% precise, and since I did not see any other points higher than where we were, I am going to declare victory on being at the high point of Skull Mesa.

We then went from the SE part of the mesa over to the NW corner of the mesa to the Indian Ruins. The traverse wasn't bad, although I did manage to get some prickly pear spines in the side of my shoes a couple of times. Along the way we came across some metates on the mesa (N33.93712° W111.92183°).

The fort ruins are impressive imho and are well worth the trip to see them.

On the way back, rather than going all the way back across the mesa, we dropped down to the east of the fort ruins. The slope there looked forgiving, and it turned out do be decent descent. We angled down first to the north and then to the west -- we hit Cave Creek Trail #4 in about 0.6 miles. The only problem is that after angling down the hill, my left leg is now shorter than my right one!

We took Cave Creek Trail #4 until we turned off to go the rim of Chalk Canyon and check out the petroglyphs and pueblo ruins there. Then we descended down into Chalk Canyon and saw a few more petroglyphs and metates. Then we continued south on the trail that took us to the Skull Mesa TH, and then went back to the Spur Cross TH. Once we got back into the Spur Cross Preserve, we took the Metate Trail back to the TH -- I much prefer the Metate Trail to the Spur Cross Trail.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
There were a few wildflowers blooming: brittle bush; turpentine bush; and globemallow, among others
_____________________
Nov 04 2018
KBKB
avatar

 Guides 3
 Routes 22
 Photos 2,112
 Triplogs 231

57 male
 Joined Apr 22 2012
 Fountain Hills,
Spur Cross Limestone Loop, AZ 
Spur Cross Limestone Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Nov 04 2018
KBKB
Hiking9.46 Miles 1,522 AEG
Hiking9.46 Miles   5 Hrs   9 Mns   1.96 mph
1,522 ft AEG      20 Mns Break24 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
On Sunday, I did a variation of the Spur Cross Loop. My main goal was to hike the Limestone Trail #252, which I've really enjoyed in the past.

I started on Spur Cross, heading north. This eventually turns into Cave Creek Trail #4. Next, I went west and somewhat south on the Limestone Trail. At the end of the Limestone Trail, I met my wife who had hiked out the other direction on Spur Cross and had gone up Elephant Mountain past the Fortress. We continued on Elephant Mountain heading east and slightly south. That led to Tortuga and then back to Spur Cross. I then took the Metate Trail and did Towhee since it was on the way. I returned via the Spur Cross Trail.

I've hiked the Limestone Trail in the past. On past hikes, I've found it to be confusing. On today's hike, it seemed pretty straightforward. The only time I got off trail was at just before three miles in (total) where the Limestone Trail appeared to descend into a wash and the ascend the opposite bank. That turned out to be wrong - it goes into the wash, then turns right, follows the wash for a short ways and then switchbacks to the left up the opposite bank just before the vegetation gets dense. The way I took also worked, but I knew I had gotten it wrong when the somewhat indistinct trail I was on intersected with a very good trail. I hiked back to see how I had gotten it wrong as well as to wring every bit of Limestone goodness out of the trail. 8)

Aside from erosion in a few places on the Elephant Mountain Trail, the trails seemed to be in good condition.

This was my first time on the Metate and Towhee Trails. I saw a number of flowers on the Metate. Towhee isn't very long, but it does provide a few views of the creek. Metate has a better view of Cave Creek at the northeast end.

I encountered only one other hiker on the Limestone Trail. There were a bunch of other trail users on the other trails.
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Oct 20 2018
rrshort
avatar

 Photos 1,679
 Triplogs 82

61 male
 Joined Jun 19 2011
 Phoenix, Az
Metate Trail - Spur CrossPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 20 2018
rrshort
Hiking2.00 Miles 75 AEG
Hiking2.00 Miles   2 Hrs      1.09 mph
75 ft AEG      10 Mns Break
 no routes
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
Headed out to Spur Cross on this beautiful fall morning with hiking the Metate trail in mind. A few cars were present in the parking area, I paid my fee and headed out. The area looked great! Soon I crossed the creek which still had some water in it and headed down the Metate Trail. No sooner than I had started a cardinal landed on the top of a tree right in front of me! It was a thrill to finally see one of these beautiful birds. After snapping a few pictures I continued on my way. I was impressed with how the octotillos were full of green leaves Very pretty. I finished the Metate and returned on the Spur Cross. A great short hike today.
Fauna
Fauna
Cardinal
_____________________
Oct 07 2018
Eartheist
avatar

 Routes 5
 Photos 269
 Triplogs 177

48 male
 Joined Jul 16 2011
 Phoenix, AZ
Spur Cross TrailPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 07 2018
Eartheist
Hiking5.01 Miles 408 AEG
Hiking5.01 Miles   2 Hrs   22 Mns   2.12 mph
408 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
Partners partners
Droog
Girlyshellebelle7
The storm Saturday night caused Cave Creek to flood, so we were not able to cross the creek at either crossing at the northern sections of Spur Cross trail, or the one along Metate. Also not crossable at Dragonfly. Still made for a perfect day for walking end to end of what was accessible.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Cave Creek - SPRCA Heavy flow Heavy flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Cottonwood Creek Medium flow Medium flow
_____________________
May 09 2018
RowdyandMe
avatar

 Guides 6
 Routes 358
 Photos 14,437
 Triplogs 1,628

65 male
 Joined Jul 16 2012
 Deer Valley, AZ
Metate Trail - Spur CrossPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar May 09 2018
RowdyandMe
Hiking3.76 Miles 279 AEG
Hiking3.76 Miles   1 Hour   34 Mns   2.75 mph
279 ft AEG      12 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
Flora
Flora
Saguaro
Fauna
Fauna
Cardinal
Named place
Named place
Metate Pond
_____________________
Rowdy and Widowmaker
Apr 08 2018
DarthStiller
avatar

 Guides 15
 Routes 234
 Photos 6,048
 Triplogs 438

50 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Metate Trail - Spur CrossPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 08 2018
DarthStiller
Hiking6.70 Miles 929 AEG
Hiking6.70 Miles   2 Hrs   58 Mns   2.26 mph
929 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Saturday night we had to take my daughter to the airport to be there at 10pm for her one week field trip to Washington DC with her school. This would preclude me being able to get up at my normal 4am time for a longer morning hike, but we were also due for a family hike. I had a loop planned out that was around the 7 mile mark, which is at about their limit. Between the longer drive and the longer hike, an early start was necessary, which would be rough after leaving the airport after 10:30pm. Fortunately, it was nothing that some caffeinated drinks and a 7am Slayer CD wouldn't solve.

My Camelbak bladder had been developing a small leak since Saturday morning and it decided to break loose on the ride out to the trailhead. By the time we got there, water was leaking out of the back before I even opened the hatch. The bladder was half empty. Luckily I had enough extra water in bottles that was enough for our hike.

We started from the Spur Cross TH and paid $3 for me and my wife (Dmitri is under 16, so he hiked for free). At the TH, I saw one other vehicle with a HikeArizona.com sticker. We headed north on the Spur Cross Trail, hiked the Fairy Duster Loop, then did the Mariposa Hill Spur (which is actually the beginning of the shortcut to the Skull Mesa Ruins hike, FYI), then headed back south on the Metate Trail, taking the Towhee side trail and headed back to the parking lot after hiking the Dragonfly Trail.

The solar oasis along the Metate Trail was interesting as it had a manmade pond with water lilies. The Metate Trail especially was the nicest being mostly level and smooth, with a lot of vegetation that gave moderate shade. Heading south on the Dragonfly Trail towards the Jewel of the Creek Preserve I stopped to wait for my family and just happened to notice a petroglyph. It was nice to see that kind of stuff out here. I really think this area is very underrated, I'm always impressed with the scenery even after seeing it several times.

The weather was kind of warm, but not too bad. We averaged well over 2 mph, which is amazing for Dmitri. I was thinking this hike might be a bit overambitious but they all kept up very well. Everyone was pretty spent by the end of it, however, and ready for lunch. I hiked the last 3+ miles without taking a sip of water since I didn't have my Camelbak bladder. Nice to get out on a Sunday morning for a quick hike that pushed the boundaries a little bit.
_____________________
Feb 18 2018
Oregon_Hiker
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 Guides 8
 Routes 337
 Photos 5,879
 Triplogs 438

73 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Metate Trail - Spur CrossPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 18 2018
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking3.00 Miles 75 AEG
Hiking3.00 Miles
75 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Took some family members for a short hike in Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area in the desert mountains north of Phoenix. My two granddaughters, their Dad and Uncle Sparky from California came along for the hike. Bella spotted a baby rattlesnake under the car where we parked. Always fun to see wildlife. We made a loop out of the hike taking the Metate trail on the way out and returning on the Spur Cross Trail with a side trip to Mariposa Hill. It was a beautiful day with great scenery and good company.
_____________________
Jan 20 2018
The_Eagle
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 Guides 5
 Routes 792
 Photos 9,159
 Triplogs 1,080

63 male
 Joined Jan 20 2009
 Far NE Phoenix,
Cottonwood Spring Loop Plus, AZ 
Cottonwood Spring Loop Plus, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jan 20 2018
The_Eagle
Hiking13.05 Miles 2,327 AEG
Hiking13.05 Miles   5 Hrs   55 Mns   2.33 mph
2,327 ft AEG      19 Mns Break14 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
This was plan B for the day.
Some of my relatives had the first area closed because they needed some "Privacy" while making little Eagles.

So after some conversation, we headed over to Spur Cross and did this loop.

Temps dropped a bit during the hike and we got a steady drizzle starting around 9:15, but we never got the 30mph gusts that were forecast. This is an enjoyable loop on some new sections of trail for me. Cottonwood Spring (the southwestern most, there are 3 in the area) had plenty of water to filter from. There was some plastic pipe, a shovel and pitch fork in the area also.

We hopped into Cottonwood Creek (Dry) for some splorin'. There were a couple of interesting rocky areas. We decided to go up to the next Cottonwood Spring. There was no sign of a spring that we found, but we caught the Cottonwood #247 here to turn around.

Ran into a a couple of other hikers out there prior to hitting the Metate Trail to check out the Huge Saguaros.

Flora
Flora
Saguaro - Crested

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Cottonwood Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout Plenty to filter from

dry Cottonwood Spring Dry Dry
Could find no flow or sign of a spring from this Cottonwood Spring. The other one in the area had plenty of flow.
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There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."
Dave Barry
1 archive
Jan 20 2018
joebartels
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 Guides 213
 Routes 824
 Photos 10,880
 Triplogs 4,281

49 male
 Joined Nov 20 1996
 Phoenix, AZ
Cottonwood Spring Loop Plus, AZ 
Cottonwood Spring Loop Plus, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jan 20 2018
joebartels
Hiking12.75 Miles 2,260 AEG
Hiking12.75 Miles   5 Hrs   55 Mns   2.28 mph
2,260 ft AEG      19 Mns Break5 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
247A is signed closed on the near end, which resides inside Spur Cross. The trail is in good shape and well used. To be legal simply hike 0.15 mi further on #4 to the forest boundary where off-designated-trail travel is legal. BTW proposed fee increases on Feb 21st might go live April 1st. If you support this forest buffer not keeping good trails open and charging you more... do absolutely nothing and you help seal the deal.

This wasn't the planned hike and I'm not a huge fan of this area. Which aside from despising the access stems heavily on wet hikes across Skull Mesa. Once again this desert dweller enters the area on a friggen rainy day... bah humbug

The mountain views along this moderate loop are fab. Due to our abbreviated plans Bruce suggested we head out a little further on #247. Passing a side canyon I through out a prayer we explore the narrow looking canyon. Boy howdy did we get lucky! An intriguing stretch flash rocked our peptides.

Then onwards to another Cottonwood Spring. Interesting 2 share the same name within a mile on the same 7.5 topo New River Mesa.

Bruce had the foresight to finish with Metate/Towhee. Which should be a given for every hike in the area. The area is as dry as I've seen. The wild cucumber that arches over Towhee is currently a dry brittle salad.
Named place
Named place
Metate Pond

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Cottonwood Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout At least a quart per min, looks good too

dry Cottonwood Spring Dry Dry
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout Area is dry... it is sprinkling right NOW if you hurry!
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Hike Arizona it ROCKS!
Dec 11 2017
TheMazzicMan
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 Guides 2
 Routes 35
 Photos 32
 Triplogs 51

50 male
 Joined Jul 04 2016
 Phoenix, AZ
Spur Cross Double Loop SCCA Cave Creek, AZ 
Spur Cross Double Loop SCCA Cave Creek, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Dec 11 2017
TheMazzicMan
Hiking9.07 Miles 1,580 AEG
Hiking9.07 Miles   5 Hrs   54 Mns   1.80 mph
1,580 ft AEG      52 Mns Break
 
no photosets
1st trip
From time to time, I appreciate a humbling hike. I find it helpful to have my complacency punished, my self-reliance tested, and my attitude checked.

Hiking here in the valley, I too often become a lazy observer. Valley trails are so well trod, I reason, that it's not really possible to get disoriented. There will be signs. Far too often I mentally check out on my hikes, forgetting I should be paying closer attention.

All was well until, on the Limestone return leg, just past the first spring (which was full, half-choked with grass and mostly covered in algae blooms), I suddenly lost the trail in a small field of volcanic rock. A couple of backtracking attempts got me situated only to lose it again.

This shouldn't be an issue, I can hear you saying, because surely you have your official HAZ route open in Route Scout, right?

Right?

Noooooooooooo! That route is safely tucked away in the cloud, laughing maniacally at me. I know because I put it there the evening prior. And out here, Verizon ain't letting me have it.

What I do have, however, is a map, a compass, and my live route I'm creating against a nifty HAZ wallpaper backdrop where a topo map should be.

I sit. I snack. I reason. With Sugarloaf mountain on my right, and my position close to the proper elevation, I continue to head in the direction I know the trail should be, intending to follow the contour. Six steps later, I rejoin it. Confidence returns, carrying me swiftly along...

...and right past my junction with the Elephant Mountain-Limestone connector (this would make a great jumping off point for a digression into how all official HAZ routes should have trail junctions waypointed but, as noted above, I did not have the benefit of said route and at present I'm too tired for advocacy).

Pressing on, I reach a sizable drainage. I elect to follow it south, somewhat parallel to my missed route, meet the Elephant Mountain Trail, and resume my return to the trailhead. This is better, anyway, I smugly proclaim, as this whole Limestone portion has been feeling somewhat like a death march anyway. This drainage, by comparison is wide and shady. Kind of like getting a free ride on a private parkway. Confidence meter begins to climb once again, propelling me without further failure back to my ever-so-patient car.

Lessons learned, until next time.
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Isolated
Cottonwoods are looking mighty splendiferous.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Limestone Spring - Spur Cross Gallon per minute Gallon per minute
No water observed coming from fill pipe but tank is full, grassy, and algae-covered.

dry Page Spring - Spur Cross Dry Dry
Appears decommissioned, as tank looks to have been intentionally filled with sand and gravel.
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Donovan Wood
Steward, Arizona Trail Passage 23c (Mazatzal Divide Tr, Barnhardt to Red Hills)

...he's got the Mazzic hands...
Nov 21 2017
RowdyandMe
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 Guides 6
 Routes 358
 Photos 14,437
 Triplogs 1,628

65 male
 Joined Jul 16 2012
 Deer Valley, AZ
Spur Cross LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 21 2017
RowdyandMe
Hiking8.10 Miles 1,110 AEG
Hiking8.10 Miles   4 Hrs   33 Mns   2.14 mph
1,110 ft AEG      46 Mns Break10 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Just a great day to be in Spur Cross. I made a wrong turn on this hike and well it may have added to it. Because of my wrong turn at the Spur Cross/Rondo springs marker I had extra time so with that I added a few more trails.
Those trails being Metate and Towhee trails. And really if not for that wrong turn I would have probably ever hike those two trails. So in away I am glad I made that wrong turn. They weather was perfect and we really hade the trails to our selves at least 90% of the time.
Just a really great day to be hiking out here.
Flora
Flora
Saguaro
Fauna
Fauna
Cardinal
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Rowdy and Widowmaker
3 archives
average hiking speed 2.16 mph
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WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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