Posts Tagged ‘Skunk Tank’

Skunked Tank

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

First, some housekeeping. So ya know, complimenting my site in a obviously vague way followed shortly by a link to a commercial site (particularly an adult site) will still be considered spam. Also, spelling counts.

Now:

[Continuing our series of behind-the-hikes from Day and Overnight Hikes in the Tonto National Forest}

Skunk Tank Loop

This hike in the Cave Creek / 7 Springs trail complex took two attempts. I have drafts of the hike description written for both clockwise and counterclockwise. (The clockwise version is the one in the Guide).

HIKE 1

DATE: 13 November 2007

COMPANIONS: None

START TIME: 1:30pm

END TIME: 9pm

ACTUAL MILEAGE: Unknown (about 11 miles)

I never really learned my lesson about late starts, though after this one I should have.

I initially missed the ramp going out of the wash, and followed the wash instead. Lost within the first hour of the hike. I found actual trail at the top of the saddle, after bushwhacking my way up and around the side of the ravine. You’d think I learned a lesson about that sort of nonsense after this hike, but I didn’t.

By the time I reached the actual Skunk Tank, the sun was sinking behind the hills, and I had to dig up my headlamp out of my pack.

The switchbacks are slow and treacherous going by the 10′ range of an LED headlamp. The three river crossing were even more exciting. The batteries burned out on the GPS, which would have recorded an incorrect route anyway, plus I did at least half the hike in the dark. I’d have to come back…

HIKE # 2

DATE: 19 November 2007

COMPANIONS: none

START TIME: 10:45 am (He can be taught…)

END TIME: 5:15pm (It all goes faster in daylight…)

ACTUAL MILEAGE: 11 miles

This hike went much better. All the electronics worked, I stayed mostly on the trail, and I started and finished in daylight.

I also went counter-clockwise, which meanting starting south down Cave Creek Trail (left), doing the three crossings, and then going up the switchbacks.

Here’s a secret – since you’ve gotten this far into the post: I never did a hike specific to the Cave Creek Trail. My description of it in the guidebook is derived from notes taken on this hike and the Cottonwood / Cave Creek Loop.

Bongo enjoying a break at third crossing

Obviously, most of the photos are from the second trip.

Going back down the other way, I found the trail I should have been on in the first place during my first circuit, and duly recorded them in my still working GPS.

Either direction, Skunk Tank itself marks your half-way point.

My record after this hike was 2-2 vs the Tonto National Forest and/or my own stupidity. I was beginning to wonder if I could really finish the book at that rate. Happily, though, my win percentage steadily improved.