Our third hike was a loop past Elephant Mountain in Maricopa County’s Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area, the newest addition to the county’s regional park system. After some cold packs, ibuprofen, and a night’s rest, it seemed like we’d convinced The LovedOne’s knee to allow for more hiking. We did a loop that started at the Spur Cross Trailhead, then followed the Spur Cross Trail to the Tortuga Trail to the Elephant Mountain Trail and around on that to return via the Spur Cross (6.9 miles round-trip with 1,600 feet of elevation gain).
It was busy at the start but the masses faded the closer we got to the Elephant. The knee held (with ibuprofen support) but we had to offer first aid to a poor dog who’d run into a cholla patch. Having done that myself in earlier days, I know the immense pain of close contact with cholla needles. The dog’s owners had no leash (against park rules), no dog booties, and no idea how a cholla worked (they were on vacation from elsewhere). We pulled out as many needles as we could (and the dog would allow) but there was still much suffering ahead for the poor thing.
On an historical note, the Elephant Mountain Trail passes Point 3342, atop which is the Elephant Mountain Fortress Site. This is a culturally sensitive (hence closed) archaeology site containing a large rock wall thought to be built by the Hohokam approximately 800 years ago. Parts of the rock wall still stand about 6 feet high and 3 to 4 feet thick.BACK TO HOME PAGE