Friday Hike – Cottonwood Spring Loop w/ Skull Mesa Summit

Gayle, Sunaree, Mitra, Marilyn, and I hiked a variation of the Cottonwood Spring Loop. Midway through the loop, when we got to intersection with the Skull Mesa Trail, we hiked to the top and then returned to finish the loop.

Mitra spotted these deer at the trailhead; behind the deer is Elephant Mountain and the fortress pinnacle below it to the right.

This is Cottonwood Creek:

An early view of Skull Mesa; there is a prominent wash / drainage here, but it is not named on any of the maps that I’ve consulted.

Another view of Skull Mesa, this time from well along Trail #247:

A crested saguaro:

Looking down as we start to make our way up the Skull Mesa Trail:

Gayle, Mitra, and Sunaree make their way up the Skull Mesa Trail:

Mitra poses for a photo at the edge of the mesa:

Mitra, Gayle, and Sunaree:

A dead / alive tree atop the mesa:

Making our way back down the Skull Mesa Trail…

This is one of the views from Trail #247 beyond the Skull Mesa intersection. If you look closely, you can see another crested saguaro below.

We’re just above Cottonwood Spring in this photo…

We came across this gate on 247A; I thought the dry grass made for an interesting contrast to the vegetation beyond the gate.

Another wash crossing; this one had a lot of cairns showing the correct way to go.