Started out at 9:45 from 1st Water TH opting to go clockwise per Snakemark's and Nan's previous trip report recommendations. We wanted to do something as a warm-up precursor to our hike in the great Grand Canyon
this coming weekend. There weren't very many cars at the TH which surprised me as I fully expected to have to park in the Horse Lot.
I just love hiking in the Superstition Wilderness; especially when I get to renew my acquaintance with some previous trails while getting the chance to cover some new ground. It was greener than we thot it would be and the turpentine bushes were blooming in several areas. The sun was making the tired grass look new and golden causing us to have to stop
and take a few photos (especially at the Black Mesa Loop junction area about 1.89 miles from the TH).
The hike along Black Mesa is really scenic as you look up passed all the saguaros and appreciate how this Mesa got its name. Once you get up that hill toward the end of the Black Mesa, the view is so unexpected. It's wonderful how that area opens up and to one side you have chollas leading up to saguaros and on up to the tip of the Black Mesa and in front of you is Weavers Needle and to your right the Superstition Ridgeline. WOW!
It was getting a little warm now but we had a slight breeze and it was welcome. We headed down into Boulder Basin and that's where it seemed to get warmer. We decided to stop at the first shady spot for some refueling and it just happened to hit at about the 1/2 way point of our journey. I'd say the hardest part of this hike is coming down this hill as it's quite rocky and a little slippery... but it's a short stretch.
I was impressed with the area at the bottom where we made our way toward the Lost Dutchman Trail junction (4.88 miles from the 1st Water TH clockwise). I just thot it was kind of magical as you were in the midst of everything that was above and around you. Of course, it was new territory for me so that may have had something to do with it. I'm familiar with the area but have not hiked here before. I could see the trail leading back toward Bluff Springs on the Dutchman and the trail leading along East Boulder Canyon (Peralta Trail) toward Fremont Saddle. My brother would be hiking Peralta to 1st Water on this trail the following day.
And then it was time to turn our back on Weaver's Needle and "horses to the barn" our way back to 1st Water TH on the Dutchman Trail that Ambika has been on, mostly in dusk to dark mode back in January. Well with me it's never really "horses to the barn" mode but we made pretty good time. Ambika did point out some tailings and a mine opening on the mountain to our east. Once again it got a little warm but soon we got some shade and a little more breeze and we were good to go. We did encounter a couple horseback riders so we got some neat photos of them with Weaver's Needle in the background. Otherwise, only 7 other people on this route.
As you top out (I think via Parker Pass) for about the last time you can see what looks like a dam or something... but it's not. It's just a flat bedrock type of area that we would cross over as we headed back to the TH. Further along as we neared the TH, we ran into this bush covered in little butterflies including 2 large Painted Ladies butterflies. It was quite something... hard to photograph and difficult to even get a movie. Anyway that was entertaining and in fact, we encountered a second bush along the trail experiencing that same phenomenon. Shortly after this we stopped to sit on some nice rocks for a few minutes
before finishing out the last mile or so.
(Our moving time 4:05, stop 1:25)
A short video of the area along Black Mesa and the butterflies:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tu2te-W4opM