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Mariposa Hill - 1 member in 2 triplogs has rated this an average 3 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Feb 24 2019
DarthStiller
avatar

 Guides 15
 Routes 234
 Photos 6,048
 Triplogs 438

50 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Skull Mesa Trail #248Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 24 2019
DarthStiller
Hiking8.40 Miles 1,701 AEG
Hiking8.40 Miles   4 Hrs   31 Mns   1.86 mph
1,701 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
My original plan was to hike the new sections of the Hawknest and Latigo Trails in the MSPN that extend to the Pima-Dynamite TH. Once I arrived there, I wasn't very happy to learn that the whole north part of the preserve is closed due to the ground being saturated. My guess this is prevent the trails from getting torn up by the mountain bikes. I spent some time in my car trying to figure out a good place to go that would be open. All the county parks were open, with only restrictions for mountain bikers and horse riders. Spur Cross seemed like the best bet and shortest drive.

Despite the delay, I was the first person at the Spur Cross TH. This lasted about 3 minutes before a swarm of 20-30 cars arrived all at once. Snowbirds. Snowbirds on a group hike. To look at the snow. :doh:

I still wasn't sure where I would go exactly, but I decided to get out of the car and get ready : rambo : . The snowbirds were very loud, and had southern accents. Few things pierce the eardrums worse than the tinny twang of a "Y'all" before 7am. I had to move quickly. High ground seemed like the best idea. It was the area where they were least likely to go.

A group of 20 or more got ahead of me. I was dreading having to wait by the self pay station, but it seems like they didn't bother to stop there. They did, however, stop at the porta potties, where 2 lines had quickly formed. This gave me the opportunity to create some distance between me and them. I was thinking either to try Black Mesa or Skull Mesa. Black Mesa was closer, but I had just hiked some of the trails up to that area 2 months ago with Jim. I was already on a late start, so I wasn't expecting to get all that far. I decided on Skull Mesa, partly because it would provide a quicker route to some solitude and peace, even if it was farther.

I headed over to Mariposa Hill and took the shortcut trail over to the Cottonwood Trail. Cave Creek was flowing and I wasn't sure if it was even passable, so the shortcut was definitely the way to go. Not far in, I arrived at a junction. The left trail headed up to a ridge, the right looked like it descended. :-k I took the left, figuring that was the quicker way. It was, and I later discovered that it's a section of a trail I had never hiked before :y: . The right trail is the way I took when I hiked to the Skull Mesa Ruins 8 years ago.

I hiked about half way up to Skull Mesa by the time I had done 4 miles. With the late start, I would barely be done before noon turning around there, so I decided to do that. The snow was patchy around the trail. Not a whole lot, which is good anyway. I still remember my snow death march in the eastern Supes 12 years ago, so I'm over that.

on the way down, I ran into two women also hiking up to Skull Mesa. They would have likely caught up to me very soon if I hadn't already turned around. We talked briefly about the nice snow scenery, the swarm of snowbirds at the trailhead, and where the various ruins are nearby. They took the same shortcut I did, mainly to avoid Cave Creek, which they said was impassable. I was considering to return that way, so based on their assessment, I decided against that.

Got back to the trailhead by 11:30am, encountering more hikers the closer I got.
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Dec 25 2018
mazatzal
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 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
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1 archive
average hiking speed 1.86 mph

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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