Life's Journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, totally worn out, shouting "Wow...What a Ride!"

Monday, February 22, 2016

February Hiking

February has been unseasonably warm in this part of AZ, temps are running about 10* above average with the days getting into the mid 80's. Irregardless we have been getting in some awesome hikes on our days off.

Spur Cross Conservation Area abuts the Tonto National Forest where there are numerous trails into areas that were most recently ranches and before that the Tonto Apaches inhabited the area preceded by the Hohokam Indians.

Our first hike of the month took us into Tonto National Forest on trail 252 and then looped us around back into Spur Cross...about 6 miles. This hike was in an area that most recently was used for ranching, many remnants still remain today.

Our longest hike yet was one we went on with our friend and fellow volunteer Mary, we were led by two docents, Russ & Tom from Spur Cross. What was suppose to be an 8 mile hike turned into a 13 mile hike by the time we were done. We were in search of a habitation area that the docents had been to but they didn't quite remember where it was, they think they know now and have offered to take us back...we'll see :)

This hike was in the Tonto National Forest where we saw signs again of former ranching. Though we never saw the habitation area we were able to experience petroglyphs and metates. 

Metates are depressions in the stone where the milling of mesquite beans (in this area) is done, used much like a mortar and pestle. You can read more about metates here.

FS  48 which we hiked into the Tonto NF was at one time a road used to get up to an old gold mine and to the ranches. It took us a bit but we found the geocache hidden in the vehicle.

The old 6L Ranch area. 

Cave Creek where we had lunch, in the right of the picture is what's left of the old viaduct that was used by the ranch. 

Some more rock art (petroglyphs) with a more recent addition.

Our neighbor and fellow volunteer Marv wanted to hike Elephant Mountain, I had no desire to do it again and Marv's wife was away for the weekend so Dave and Marv spent one Saturday morning enjoying the wonderful weather and flowers that are beginning to bloom.

There are remnants of a fortress on the lower bluff of Elephant Mountain that was used by the Tonto Apaches.

I never expected to see so much greenery in the desert.

Spur Cross Conservation Area holds many walks and hikes every month. Many are led by our ranger and others by our very knowledgable docents. We sometimes go on these hikes, most times we play sweeper...last person on the hike making sure no one is left behind. We usually don't get to hear what the docent is saying but we get to areas only accessible while with the ranger or docent. We went out on one on Valentines Day, lots of wildflowers blooming. 

The Archer, one of the petroglyphs in Spur Cross.
I did do a hike with Ingrid of Live Laugh RV but here camera deleted the pictures so we have no proof of the hike. We had a great time doing a 3.5 mile hike at Spur Cross, we'll be doing it again soon so hopefully we'll get pictures next time. Thanks again Ingrid for lunch afterwards...don't worry BBQ will follow soon.

We of course have been doing other things but I'll save that for another post seeing as this one is really long already.

Until next time...