After all the rain overnight we hoped to find the washes running... or at least a few. In that we were disappointed, but at least it was a good excuse to git out of town
for a few hours anyway. Not just a good excuse, a great
one! What can be better than clear, crisp air and such wonderful, colorful scenery to purge the mind, body and soul of the toxins of daily life? (rhetorical question)
Leaving First Water TH, being so soon after a rain we hoped to encounter wildlife tracks. Once past the Black Mesa trail where the only human tracks turned off, we were in pristine territory but only came across tracks of a couple different size coyote tracks and possibly a small deer.
Shucks! No mountain lion
tracks today, much to my gf's delight.
Especially since I left my K-Bar at home.
With the forecast calling for sunny after early morning showers we continued to hold out hopes for more sun, only to play peekaboo with the clouds the whole time. A couple beautiful shots could have been had if it weren't for the fleeting, fickle rays of sun catching us off guard. Still, we each came away with a few better-than-average shots. On the return trip we came upon two separate men, each offering their own unique enigma. (My first inclination was to refer to them as sinister
, but not wanting to come off too harsh, maybe dazed
The first looked to be 60's+, a bit thin and haggard and sporting two hiking poles. He hardly mumbled a word to our hi/hello's
as we climbed past him. After we had gone a short distance we shared the same thought... he seemed creepy
in some way, yet we couldn't pin it down. I suppose part of it may have come from our belief that he had been standing motionless for a while before, listening to our trail chatter like a voyeur, not that I cared whether he heard what we were saying. Still, he was a bit weird.
The second appeared to be one of those inexperienced neophytes without a clue except someone told them about a nice and easy, short hike.
This one was probably in his late 50's, looked in decent shape and best of all, was not creepy.
After exchanging pleasantries, he pointed over toward the rock pointing above the horizon to our south and asked "is that Weaver's Needle?" We assured him it was. Then he asked if this trail will take him there, to which I replied if he continued on to Boulder Canyon, turned right and followed the west side of Battleship (which I pointed out to him) and continue rock-hopping and following cairns to the Dutchman Trail, then on to the Peralta Trail he would eventually take him there. Then he asked if the trail would take him to the top of the Needle.
At this point I started to wonder just what kind of dreams someone had filled his head with. With no map in hand or GPS on his person, I also wondered if this guy was going to end up another missing hiker in the Superstitions.
I asked and he replied he had began at First Water TH. Based on what time it was, how far he had come, how far to go to get to Weaver's Needle
and return to his vehicle before sundown... well, it wasn't gonna happen! So I figured it wouldn't hurt to clue him in a bit on just what his mission would entail. As I continued to provide a quick synopsis of the miles he'd be travelling and over what kind of terrain I expected he would pop in with "ok, I'll just head down here a ways, then return the way I came." But he did not... by the glint in his eye I'm not so sure he didn't now take it as a challenge, to accomplish mission impossible
and be home by dark.
Once that thought hit me, I thought, ok, I did my best, and without hog-tying him and dragging back with us, he would continue his journey into the unknown. We bid farewell and continued on our return trip. It wasn't far and it appeared this second gentleman's tracks had come onto the trail from the direction of Hackberry Spring which made us wonder just how far this guy was going to wander. We knew it wasn't the creepy dude because there were no holes in the ground from his poles, which we could see were the only other tracks other than ours on the trail
Oh well... we can't be responsible for everyone. Other than our two encounters with unique individuals, the only highlights (maybe low-lights?) of the hike were Pipi's Longstockings and a horse cairn.
Don't ask... just check out the hike photos. I posted 16 here on HAZ, 45 on my own web site:http://www.changephoenix.com/10/2010-12-23SecondWater.html