Our friend Will, who we met here in Cottonwood last year, has lived in this area for 15 years or so. Over those years, he has probable logged a thousand miles or more of hiking in the area. He is a very spiritual person that has regaled us with stories of the ancient people that lived here and their native customs. Last year he took us to two caves, Shamans and Hidden Cave. We knew that if we ever had the boys here with us that we would love for them to experience the hike to one and also if possible to have Will as their guide. Lucky for us, when we arrived this year Will was still in the area and over the weeks before the boys arrived we had been able to spend many nights around the campfire rekindling our friendships.
This day we set off with the four of us in the jeep, and our friend Brenda driving with Will out to Hidden Cave. Located off a fire service road about 15 miles north of Cottonwood, I can’t really tell you how to get there other than 4 wheel drive helps. A relativley short but steep hike leads you around the base of a mountain and up the path to the cave. An even steeper, cactus lined, path takes you straight up to the entrance of the cave. Will stood at the entrance and asked for permission from the spirits that we may enter in peace. The boys are young, and while I don’t think they understood what exactly it was he was doing with his hand on his heart and eyes closed, I do feel they knew it was important.
We entered the cave quietly and the boys walked around in the darkness looking at the ceiling as Pa explained the ceiling was black because of the fires the ancient people had used to live in it. A large cave, at least 30' deep, part of the roof had caved in and gave us our seats as we had our snack and listened as Will told us the Legend of the Boy who turns into a Eagle. A Hopi Indian boy is banished from his village after he defies tribal law and frees a sacred, sacrificial eagle. After surviving in the wilderness he returns to his village where he is again rejected. Fleeing, the boy climbs a cliff and jumps off but before he reaches the ground turns into an eagle. Our boys listened silently and gazed out of the mouth of the cave to the mesa on the other side of the wash.
As we left the cave Pa asked if they wanted to hike over to the mesa, so we left Will and Brenda to relax in the cave and headed across the brush. The first "brush with cactus" of the whole trip was had by Carson, but he was a trooper as Pa took out the thorn.
A great day hike, ending with a rock skip contest when we found an animal watering hole.