Halfway through the college semester, we found ourselves bombarded with the burdens of homework, part-time jobs, and clubs. Needless to say, when my friend Leslie called to invite Ashleigh and me on an impromptu trip to Cave Creek to check on the empty house her parents just purchased, we accepted without a moment’s hesitation.
We couldn’t leave until late in the evening, so we made the short trip from Phoenix in the dark of night. This didn’t pose any problems when headed down the freeway, but once we entered the town in search of a house we’d never been to, the black sky made the quest quite difficult. The three of us cursed the town for not investing in street lights, but after we settled upon Spur Cross Road and managed to find the correct street address, we took more than a moment to appreciate the star-filled night sky. I had never seen so many bright stars in my life! We settled into the empty house in our sleeping bags and went to bed excited for the morning’s adventures.
Used to the need for caffeine and internet access, we charted down Cave Creek Road to find a friendly coffeehouse. The town was crowded for a homecoming parade for the local high school. It was awesome to see such town pride! But it did prevent access to Cave Creek Coffee Company, so we bypassed the well-reviewed shop, continuing to find Roots Coffeehouse closer to the highway. Roots kindly served us delicious espresso drinks and free Wi-Fi, and we utilized its resources to plan the remainder of our weekend, full of hiking, feasting at iconic restaurants, and browsing the nearby outlets.
We headed to Anthem to hit up the outlet stores for J. Crew, Gap and Nike. Then we famished-ly headed back to prepare for a feast at a Cave Creek iconic restaurant. The Horny Toad Restaurant is a renowned favorite we were eager to try, but since we were on a budget, we hit up Big Earl’s Greasy Eats instead and were delighted with tasty burgers for a college student’s price.
The next day we went for a midmorning hike in the Spur Cross Conservation area. The land was so beautiful, and we were truly taken away by the desert wildlife. Leslie and I almost gave Ashleigh a heart attack when we fearlessly climbed off the beaten path up a rugged cliff. We calmed her down by carefully coming down the trail, not by jumping. We rewarded our physical efforts of the morning with brunch at the Saguaro Grille in Carefree. The cafe had some of the best breakfast and coffee we’ve ever encountered, and it looked much cuter than we did after our hike.
Overall, the weekend was one of the most relaxing and enjoyable ones I’ve had in my life, let alone that semester. If you’re ever looking for delicious eats, picturesque hiking and a great place to bond with your best friends, you should find yourself in Cave Creek.