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Take a Hike….Cave Creek Regional Mountain Park

creek photo 010214GOT TIME…Maricopa County’s regional park system attracts thousands of visitors each year. With over 120,000 acres in the park system, there is plenty to see and explore. However, sometimes visiting a new place can be a little overwhelming when you don’t know what’s available. To make sure your visit to Cave Creek Regional Park is a pleasant experience, we’ve pulled together a couple of basic itineraries to get you started on your journey.
I have this much time available Here’s what I can experience
1 – 2 hour visit:
  • Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the Overton/Clay Mine Trails to the Clay Mine. The trails are rated easy to moderate.
  • Outdoor enthusiasts with a minimal amount of time to spend in the park can also hike the Overton/Slate/Jasper/Go-John Trails in approximately 1-2 hours. The trails are 1.7 miles in length and are rated easy to moderate.
  • Stop by the nature center to say hello to the friendly staff. While you’re there, check out the critter viewing center and peruse the products in the retail area. Whether you need a bottle of water, a postcard for a relative back home or are looking for a book on the Sonoran desert, the nature center has you covered!
    Pack a lunch, round up your friends and family and enjoy a picnic under a shaded ramada or in the picnic areas.
  • Attend an interpretive program hosted by the park ranger. Most interpretive programs are included in your day-use park entry fee.
2-3 hour visit:
  • If you have a couple of hours to spend in the park, you could hike the Overton/Go-John Loop in 2-3 hours. These trails combined make for approximately a 3.5-mile hike and the suggested trails range from easy to moderate in difficulty level.
  • OR, hike the Go-John/Quartz/Slate/Jasper Trails. At approximately 3.3-miles, these trails range from easy to moderate in difficulty level.
  • guided_hiking
3 hour visit:
  • Looking for something out of the ordinary to photograph? Then you won’t want to miss Cave Creek’s Michelin Man which is found along the Slate Trail approximately .5-miles from the Slate Trailhead.
  • If you have a little time, venture farther (1.5-miles) down the Slate Trail to the Flume Trail to visit the “flume”. Together, the trails range in level of difficulty from easy to moderate. These are shared use trails so, if you encounter an equestrian user, please move slightly off the trail so the rider and horse can pass safely.
4-5 hour visit:
  • At 5.8-miles in length, the Go-John Loop is the most popular trail in the park. The trail receives a moderate to difficult rating and is a favorite for those who prefer to take their exercise routine outdoors. During the springtime, those who recreate on the Go-John Trail are treated to Mother Nature’s finest as she blankets the mountainsides with beds of yellow, orange and purple wildflowers.
  • spur cross Wildflowers
Ranger Picks:
  • Have you ever wondered what a scorpion or rattlesnake eats? Join the ranger for one of the many “Feeding Frenzy” programs offered at the park.
  • Are you interested in learning archery? Several times each month the park offers an Archery 101 course where participants can learn how to shoot a bow and arrow in a fun and safe environment. This program is included in the park entry fee and all equipment is provided. Registration is required and classes fill up quickly.
  • During the cooler seasons, treat your family and friends to a horseback ride along a scenic trail in the park. Trail rides range from one hour on up, depending upon package. Vendor on-site and can easily accommodate impromptu rides.
  • Don’t miss…the Ranger highly recommends the Clay Mine hike/program. This program highlights the history of the mine and how its contents were used to “cure what ails ya” back in the day. The park supplies the hard hats; however, you must bring your own water, flashlights and sturdy shoes. This is an “open house” format so feel free to come and go at your convenience. Please check the calendar of events for program dates and times.

Cave Creek Regional Park

To See Homes and Land in Carefree or Cave Creek and
shop the MLS like a Realtor,
www.CarefreeProperty.com

 

 

 

 

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Scenic Drive 15 miles to Bartlett Lake

Bartlett Lake

Bartlett Lake, located about 58 miles from central Phoenix, provides ample opportunities to boat, fish, hike and camp. 

An easy way to experience the almost oxymoronic sight of a lush desert is to drive east from Carefree, past bare-rock bluffs and expansive vistas out to Bartlett Lake (technically Bartlett Reservoir), a liquid sapphire that sparkles on a sunny day.

 Things to note along the way:

Big Earl’s Greasy Eats: Burgers, big and fully loaded, are the main attraction at this delightfully retro eatery, once a 1950s-era gas station. Forget the calories and go for the Big Earl Burger ($5.75), a hefty patty of Angus beef served on a grilled bun with pickles, onion, shredded lettuce, tomato and Earl’s special sauce. Add a side of sweet-potato fries ($2.75) and a genuine malted milkshake, and you’re good for many miles.

Details: 7 a.m.-midnight Thursdays-Saturdays, 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Sundays-Wednesdays. 6135 E. Cave Creek Road, Cave Creek. 480-575-7889,bigearlsgreasyeats.com .

Jojoba Trail: This scenic, 1.3-mile trail stretches from the Rattlesnake Cove Recreation Site to the Jojoba Boating Site along the lake’s western shore. You can start the hike from either end; Rattlesnake Cove has restrooms, drinking water and extensive picnic facilities. Either way, you’ll enjoy grand views of the cactus-studded landscape along the lake and the Mazatzal Mountains to the east. From the lake, drive about 0.7 mile north on Forest Road 459 to the signed turnoff to Rattlesnake Cove, turn east and continue about a half-mile to the large parking area.

Campgrounds: There are several at or near the lake, from Riverside, at the far-southern end (on the Verde River below the dam), to Bartlett Flat, in the Yellow Cliffs area to the north. Whatever the campgrounds may lack in amenities is more than made up for in splendid scenery.

Details: 480-595-3300, www.fs.usda.gov/tonto .

Don’t miss: With more than 2,800 surface acres, Bartlett Reservoir is larger than Canyon Lake and Saguaro Lake combined…… more…….

To See Home and Land in Cave Creek and shop the MLS like a Realtor, www.CarefreeProperty.com

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Adventure of Bliss – Cave Creek Regional Park

Adventure of bliss: Cave Creek Regional Park doesn’t let abandoned mines ruin its natural beauty

 

By MARK COWLING, Florence Reminder

CAVE CREEK — Some 140 years ago, prospectors came here hoping to find gold. They often settled for silver or copper. There are more than 50 abandoned mines in what is now Cave Creek Regional Park.

blog photo nature center 022614

Nature Center

Visitors still flock here — several hundred each month this time of year — not with dreams of riches but for a chance to enjoy the peace, quiet and unspoiled beauty of the Upper Sonoran Desert just minutes from the city.

The 2,922-acre park ranges in elevation from 2,000 to 3,060 feet. It was under control of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management before becoming a Maricopa County park 21 years ago.

It offers more than 11 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding.

The park’s trails are popular for the dramatic elevations and spectacular views of the surrounding plains. All trails are multi-use unless otherwise designated. Trails run from less than a quarter-mile to a few miles and range from easy to difficult.

If you are looking for an easy, relatively short hike, park personnel recommend the Slate Trail. For a longer, more challenging hike, the 5.8-mile Go John Trail is an excellent choice. It’s also a loop, so there’s no need to backtrack.

Always remember to carry plenty of water and let someone know where you are going.

Go John Trail

Go John Trail

Horseback riding

Cave Creek Trail Rides, a contracted vendor in the park, offers horseback rides from October through April. The company says its horses are gentle and experienced and provide family-friendly, safe rides that are good for beginners and also enjoyable for experienced riders.

Their rides are a great way to view the Go John Mountains and the Phoenix Valley below. Visit www.cavecreektrailrides.com or phone 623-742-6700.

As with all Maricopa County parks, visitors also are welcome to ride their own horses. All trail users are encouraged to stay on designated trails and practice proper trail etiquette. A staging area for visitors’ horses is available.

More…….

To See Home and Land in Cave Creek and shop the MLS like a Realtor, www.CarefreeProperty.com

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5th Annual Spur Cross Archaeology Expo

 

5th Annual Spur Cross Archaeology Expo, sponsored by Desert Foothills Chapter of AAS and the Cave Creek Museum

trail at spur cross

Saturday, March 1, 2014, from 9:00am until 3:00pm at the Spur Cross Conservation Area, Cave Creek, AZ

Learn about the archaeology of the Cave Creek/Spur Cross area through hikes, booths, gold panning, guest speakers and live demonstrations.

Booths from Desert Foothills Chapter of AAS, the Cave Creek Museum, Desert Awareness Group, Desert Foothills Land Trust, Verde Valley Archaeology Center, and Animal Health Services. Tonto National Forest archaeologist, J.Scott Wood wil speak at 1:00pm.  Childrens activities and crafts, plus the opportunity of view and hold prehistoric artifacts from the area. Come help celebrate Arizona Archaeology Month. 

 Bring the whole family and have fun while learning about this beautiful state.

Petroglyph in Cave Creek

9:30am, FIRST MESA HIKE: Join Spur Cross Ranger, Kevin Smith hiking to prehistoric Hohokam dwellings on First Mesa.  This is a moderate 2.5 mile hike with some uphill walking. Allow a minimum of 2 hours.

11:00am, JEWEL OF THE CREEK HIKE: Join the Desert Foothills Land Trust staff and docents on a journey through history at the Jewel and its unique geological formations. This is 1.0 mile hike with a steep rocky trail down to the creek and requires crossing the creek twice with another rocky steep climb back to the top.  Allow a minimum of 1.5 hours.

1:00pm SPEAKER: J. Scott Wood, Forest Archaeologist/Heritage Program Manager of the Tonto National Forest, for his talk on the prehistory of the foothills area and how it relates to both the Salt River Valley and Perry Mesa.

2:00pm, METATE TRAIL HIKE: this is a fun and easy hike. Some walking on loose gravel and traversing over the creek is necessary.  Hike to see to desert scenery and some of Spur Cross’s petrogylphs. Allow a minimum of 1.5 hours.

To See Home and Land in Cave Creek and shop the MLS like a Realtor, www.CarefreeProperty.com
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Spur Cross Expo

Spur Cross Expo    Mar 1   9:00am to 3:00pm
Spur Cross      44000 North Spur Cross Road, Cave Creek, AZ 85331
Spur
Celebrate Arizona Archaeology Month on Saturday March 1. Enjoy the outdoors at the Spur Cross Expo, sponsored by the Desert Foothills Chapter of the Arizona Archaeology Society. There will be booths from the Cave Creek Museum, the Desert Awareness Committee, Desert Foothills Land Trust, Animal Health Services and more.Listen to a talk by Tonto National Forest Archaeologist Scott Wood. Hike to archaeology sites. See live demonstrations on pottery making and flint-knapping. Pan for gold with the Cave Creek Museum Stamp Mill team.

This is a free event.

Cave Creek Museum is proud to preserve the history of the Desert Foothills.

Click here for more information about Spur Cross.

Spur

To See Home and Land in Cave Creek and shop the MLS like a Realtor, www.CarefreeProperty.com
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Spur Cross Reunion at the Cave Creek Museum

Spur Cross Reunion   
Cave Creek Museum     6140 East Skyline Drive, Cave Creek, AZ 85331
 Feb 28 4:30pm to 7:00pm
The Museum is hosting a reunion for people who helped save Spur Cross and make it the treasure that it is.  Invitees include anyone who was involved with preserving Spur Cross Ranch throughout the years.
Petroglyph in Cave Creek

The reunion will include an exhibit of artifacts from Spur Cross excavations and refreshments.

There is no charge to attend this event. However donations are always gratefully appreciated.

Please call 480-488-2764 to RSVP.

Cave Creek Museum is proud to preserve the history of the Desert Foothills.

To See Home and Land in Cave Creek and shop the MLS like a Realtor, www.CarefreeProperty.com
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Kiwanis Club of Carefree Scholarship Opportunities

KIWANIS CLUB OF CAREFREE SCHOLARSHIP AND MERIT AWARD OPPORTUNITIES
•Since 1986, more than $1,132,000 in scholarships awarded.
• For more information call: 480-488-8400

Available Awards:

These financial opportunities are available to high school seniors living in or attending school in the Cave Creek Unified School District, including home schooled students.

In 2014 Carefree Kiwanis will offer the following scholarship or merit award opportunities:

• Two – Scully 4 Year Scholarships for $2,000 per semester up to eight semesters (total $16,000)

• Two – 2 year Community College or Vocation Scholarships for $1,000 per semester up to four semesters (total $4,000).

• One one-time Math Merit Award of $1,000.

• One one-time Science Merit Award of $1,000

• One one-time Bruce Hilsee Scholarship of $2,500 for International Relations

•   One one-time Key Club Community Service Award (Open to Kiwanis Key Club Members only) of $1,000

All materials are due to the Kiwanis Scholarship Committee postmarked on or before March 15, 2014.

http://www.kiwaniscarefree.org/Page/16893

To See Home and Land in Cave Creek and shop the MLS like a Realtor, www.CarefreeProperty.com

 

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Carefree Festival of Fine Chocolate and Art

 

CAREFREE FESTIVAL OF FINE CHOCOLATE AND ART
Feb 13th  12-5pm    Feb 14th-16th 10am-5pm
San Francisco Chocolate Company Assorted ConfectionsSan Francisco Chocolate Company Assorted Confections

CARE TO INDULGE?   VALENTINE’S DAY WEEKEND

The Town of Carefree will celebrate Valentine’s Day weekend with the 3rd Annual Carefree Festival of Fine Chocolates and Fine Art.

The four-day festival runs February 13-16, beginning on Thursday from 12:00 noon till 5:00pm and continuing Friday through Sunday, 10:00am till 5:00pm. The festival takes place at 101 Easy Street, at the Carefree Desert Gardens and Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion.

This free event is fun for the whole family, or the perfect stop before a romantic getaway. Stock up on confectionery treats for your sweethearts and reserve a truffle or two for later.

With up to 100 exhibitors of fine art, chocolate and other confections, the Carefree Fine Chocolate and Fine Art Festival will satisfy every sweet tooth.

This year’s featured chocolatier is the San Francisco Chocolate Factory. Known for creating small batches with only the finest ingredients, the San Francisco Chocolate Factory believes that fresh chocolate really does taste better.

San Francisco Chocolate Company - Chocolate & Caramel covered ApplesSan Francisco Chocolate Company – Chocolate & Caramel covered Apples

Other confectioners include W-Xocolati Fine Chocolates, and It’s a Devine Bakery.that fresh chocolate really does taste better. Other confectioners include W-Xocolati Fine Chocolates, and It’s a Devine Bakery.

Over 10,000 visitors are expected to attend, with live entertainment including romantic music and songs by local talents Lauren Riley and Doug Reynolds, the Dakota Kid and our own dancing grannies, the Desert Cactus Kickers.   Make this Valentine’s Day an unforgettable weekend in beautiful Carefree, where the romance and beauty of the desert is on display, along with the finest confections!

The festival is presented by the Town of Carefree and Magic Bird Festivals, (www.magicbirdfestivals.com).

To See Home and Land in Cave Creek and shop the MLS like a Realtor, www.CarefreeProperty.com
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LANDSCAPING TIPS at Carefree Desert Gardens

 …for the DO-IT-YOURSELF DESERT GARDENER

wildflowers

      If you are planning to landscape your property or just have a corner that needs a “WOW” make-over into a more natural, appealing space, we have just the person for you. 

      Carefree Desert Gardens invites you to meet Tom Gatz.  Tom, a retired wildlife biologist, horticultural aide in the education department at the Desert Botanical Garden and certified desert landscaper, will share his knowledge gained over the past 20 years. His emphasis will be on landscaping smaller areas to provide that  “WOW” factor by planting with year-round color and contrast.  Tom is a very entertaining speaker who also writes monthly articles with topics varying from landscaping, cactus, succulents, to birds and bonsai.  His garden, which illustrates his exceptional skills at growing and design, has been featured in Phoenix Home & Garden magazine, The Sonoran Quarterly, magazine of the Desert Botanical Garden, and other wildlife and urban publications.

     Join on Saturday, February 8, 2014, at 9:30 a.m.  The program will run approximately until noon at the Town Council Chambers located in the U.S. Post Office Building, 100 Easy Street, Carefree.  As our goal is to be self-supporting, a $5.00 (or more) donation is appreciated.  Seating is limited, so come early.  For information call480-488-3686.

flowersHomes for sale in Carefree

 

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Bird Watching in Cave Creek AZ

Stalking Creepers in Cave Creek

Butlers Birds Blog Post:
 This weekend I went up to Cave Creek and the Mt. Humboldt area with a couple of specific targets. I needed to add Fox Sparrow, somewhat embarrassingly, to my AZ state list, and I wanted to try for better photos of Townsend’s Solitaire and Cedar Waxwing than the pitiful stuff I have so far. Fortuitously enough, Rackensack Canyon, near Mt. Humboldt in Cave Creek, and the Seven Springs Recreation Area some 8 miles further down Cave Creek road, cater to all of theseneeds.
I spent the first hour or so of daylight scrounging around the scrub wash of Rackensack Canyon, getting brief glimpses and audibles of two slaty Fox Sparrows, in addition to a million billion Spotted Towhees, White-crowns, Scrub Jays, and a surprising couple of Stellars Jays and Rufous-crowned Sparrows. Early cloud cover and the high canyon ridge, plus a general lack of cooperation prohibited any photography, so I moved on to the next objective impatient and grumpy but also pressed for time.
I had some of the morning’s best birding while stopping along the Cave Creek/Seven Springs Road and surveying the juniper bushes. Excellent looks at Juncos, Sparrows, Bluebirds, and a couple of Solitaires justified the trip and the dusty car, even if they were mostly skittish when I’d pull over for better observations. Still, a little pishing near the ever-popular junipers never hurts.Here, a white-crowned Sparrow pops up to eyeball the interloper, while some Western Bluebird coloration is visible through the tangle.
Western Bluebirds were the most numerous species in the juniper hills, outnumbering even the bouncing brainless Kinglets. Given the relative commonness of this bird and their average tolerance of people, I’ve had a hard time capturing them very well on camera and actually doing justice to their pretty exquisite colors. The struggle continues.
The Seven Springs Recreation Area brings some cottonwood/sycamore riparian habitat into the juniper scrub mix, which makes for a fantastic diversity of habitats and some of the better winter birding in the greater Phoenix area. The Townsend’s Solitaries were joined by more deciduous species and plenty of prowling accipiters.

It’s a cluttered mess of an area–great for the birds and tricky to get clear observations.

Perhaps the most unsettling thing about Seven Springs is the significant and terrifying infestation of the riparian trails with Creepers. Skulking, unscrupulous, Brown, and sometimes near-invisible, these Creepers crept all along the woods, devouring insects and peep peep peeping with impunity.

Such discomfort and neck-tingles one feels in these woods, knowing they’re around. On the other hand, who am I, or we, to judge the Creeper? I spend my weekends indulging in voyeuristic hobbies of sneaking, spying and, collecting pictures (I’m still talking about birding). Perhaps we are not so different, you and I.

In another life, on another tree, I might have called you friend and ally, Mr. Creeper. Good luck to you, your creepiness. For my money, these are some of the least bird-like birds in the kingdom. They seldom fly, and not sing-songy, and act more like lizards as they scurry up and down in their brown camouflage. At any rate, it’s always nice to see them.
To See Home and Land in Cave Creek and shop the MLS like a Realtor, www.CarefreeProperty.com
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