I went back to Black Mesa again, hoping to see a better wildflower show than last week, but it looks like the best is still several days away. There's a carpet of purple out there, but the yellows and whites are just beginning.
I turned off on The Boulder Trail to make a loop with Second Water, instead of hiking back on the Dutchman (for what would have seemed like the zillionth time).
Previous to this, I have only hiked this part of the BT as far as Needle Canyon. For some reason, I was expecting it to be a lot less of a trail and a lot more of just a long rock hop through the creek, but I was pleasantly surprised to be wrong about that. There is a sandy (so nice for the feet)
trail that runs the length on either side, as it crosses the creek several times, and each crossing is well cairned. The trail keeps you far enough from the creek that you can't see it most of the time, but I don't think there is much to miss in this section. As far as Supes scenery goes, this part of Boulder Canyon is fairly indistinct. There isn't much to look at until you approach Battleship Mountain and then all the views are looking up, rather than in the creek, itself. This fast and easy trail is a blessing and I reached the Second Water junction in no time.
The lower area of the SWT was absolutely jungle-like. Between the birds and the buzzing insects, it even sounded like a jungle in there. Reeds and grasses were almost 6' tall at the edge of the trail and you could see hollowed out den areas for large animals. Vegetation was so tall and dense, it felt claustrophobic. You could have been 3' away from Bigfoot and not seen him. I should have taken a photo of it, but I was too busy getting the heck out of there. Fortunately, it's a fairly short section. We have a lot of different challenges hiking around here, but not being able to see what's right next to you isn't typically one of them and I'm glad for that!
The climb up from Boulder Canyon on the Second Water Trail is kinda brutal for a short distance. I never really took notice of the elevation change before because I've always hiked it going out, not coming back. But, when you reach the top, the views are well worth the trouble. I made a pano of it for my photo set. The best wildflowers I saw all day were up here at the top and along the Second Water Trail after you leave Garden Valley ('Garden' - right. There were NO flowers there.)
I am beginning to believe that Arizona wildflowers require plenty of carbon monoxide fumes in order to properly thrive, because the most beautiful display I've seen all season is along Rt 60 between Gold Canyon and Superior... or along any roadway, for that matter. (I should post my pictures of that! OK, you talked me into it - it's the last photo in the set, here.).
Seriously. They carpet the ground for the first 20' off the shoulder and then... nothing
. Wouldn't you think that vacant land adjacent would be covered with them? But, it isn't. They just - stop
. I don't get it. Yesterday there were dozens of cars parked alongside Rt 60 in that area with people picking or digging up the flowers and taking them. (Is that legal?)
I suspect that, unless they replant them at the edge of a major road, they will simply die from a deficiency of greenhouse gases.