As one of my favorites as well as my most hiked trail in the Superstitions, this was perfect for my second hike of 2011.
A bit lazy getting going so it was 9:45 before hitting the trail. Surprisingly the parking lot at First Water was close, but not filled. We planned on heading off as though doing the Hackberry Spring Loop, but cutting straight across to the saddle near Hackberry Mine to take photos of Four Peaks from one of my favorite spots. Once I accomplished that we continued on around in preparation to connect with the Black Mesa Trail.
Shortly before the end of the Hackberry Trail some hikers approaching us warned us of the mud flats area, recommending we skirt it to the west. First, we continued on to the wet muddy part just far enough to get a nice photo of ice on the surface of the mud. Then, with the intentions of continuing on the Black Mesa Trail, we skirted it to the east until hitting the Second Water Trail when we headed back south to the intersection. On the Black Mesa Trail I stopped so many times for more photos an obviously new-to-hiking couple passed us. A few miles later, even though we stopped a few times to remove layers with the slightly warming temps and took more photos, we caught back up to them. The gal was just pulling up a sock when we arrived and I asked if she had a run-in with a cholla. No, she said it was blisters. Tracey and I both though later she probably got them for Christmas. At the time my quick response was "that's why I wear sandals" and proceeded to show my Teva's off. With the situation seemingly under reasonable control, we continued on.
Farther along the trail Tracey and I ruminated about the issue ofbreaking in new shoes... we both felt there is no need to break in shoes, if you get blisters, you have the wrong shoes! Yes, I'd agree, in the past when shoes were real leather, there was a bit of adapting of the shoe to your foot, but nowadays, with the type of material, they should be fine right out of the box. But whatever it is, with Teva's it's no concern of mine.
As we descended near the end of the trail instead on continuing on to connect to the Dutchman Trail before heading back to the trail head, we just turned west and followed the wash until it hit the trail a mile or so farther on. There was enough water we had to skirt the wash a few times, but kept in it as much as possible, which yielded a few more unique photos. I also took a bunch of videos, mainly to use the sound in preparation for a 'soothing waters' CD I'm in the process of creating.
Once back on the Dutchman is was uneventful, just meeting and chatting with a few hikers on the trail and a family from Colorado who were pleased to see ice along the trail. In one spot we saw chunks of ice broken off puddles that were all the way up to 3/4" thick.
All in all, a great hike in the Supes!