The Grasshopper (Hank) contacted me last week and asked if I was game to go on a "fairly rigorous" hike with him and Sredfield (Shawn) in the Superstition Mountains. The loop route will begin at the Peralta T.H. at 8:00 on Thursday morning and is described in HAZ as, http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=561
. Since my wife and I are planning on returning to Minnesota in April, I wanted to do one really good hike before we left, so I graciously(?) accepted.
By 8:00 everybody was at the Trailhead, the formalities were completed, the hiking gear on and the GPS units were zeroed out and ready for the start of our hike. There was a stunning sunrise and the Dacite Cliffs were reflecting the first rays of the day's sun as we hiked down the road to the to the 2,360 foot-level, Carney Spring T.H. After a short hike along the fence line, we entered the Wilderness and almost immediately began the steep ascent to the saddle way-in-the-heck up there somewhere. Anyone who refers to this climb as a "walk in the woods" has my endearing respect because it's a steep climb with lots of areas that have loose rocks, switch-backs and few cairns to mark the way.
We took a short break at the saddle which was about 3,700-foot level and I removed my already damp t-shirt to get better perspiration control, knowing it was only going to get warmer as the day progressed. Below us was West Boulder Canyon separating us from the Superstition Ridgeline and some of the more familiar features that I have only seen from the lower angles. Then we continued on through occasional pine trees working our way up to the 4,000-foot level.
Up here somewhere was the unusual rock formation called Robbers Roost. Both Hank and Shawn had been up here a few years ago, but the entry to the most unique areas is elusive so it took us a while to find it. Once we located the right areas, it was very impressive to view. The photos don't do justice to the areas because it's so hard to capture the whole scene in a single shot, so ya gotta see it for yourself to gain the full beauty and be fully impressed.
After leaving the Roost area, out next destination would be Fremont Saddle, but first we had to walk the ridgeline that overlooked the Peralta Trail. At some points along this hike we could see across the valley to the opposite ridge where Geronimo Cave hides among the cliff faces. When we arrived at the Fremont Saddle, I was surprised to see only 3 other hikers here. We're thinking the forecast of high 80's must have scared the rest into some air-conditioned lounge somewhere. But we got some good shots of Weavers Needle without having the sightseers stepping in front of the lens.
As we left the Saddle, bound for Geronimo Cave, the temp was picking up but we knew we were on the downward portion of the hike, and, ultimately, the parking lot. At the cave, it was a relief to take a break in the shade so we took a few more shots for posterity and had some snack bars, then continued on. The rocks over on this ridge are something to experience. Very little to hang on to and the only way to negotiate the faces is by the 'butt-slide' technique (see photo of Hank and Shawn). That was pretty scary, but we survived and so did the seats of our pants. From here on down, it was just a matter of following the well-traveled trails back to the Peralta T.H. where we happily removed some sweat soaked hiking gear.
Well, I wanted one last really good hike before heading back, and I got all that and then some. I'm glad I did it and I couldn't have asked for two better hiking partners. My hat's off to you guys and I'm already looking forward to my return to the Superstition Mountains next season. In the meantime, I'll be following your adventures on HAZ. I'm hoping to make a hiking trip to the North Shore Trail this summer and post some photos of Minnesota's unique sights along the shoreline of Lake Superior. See you guys again in six months.