When I woke up the temperature was right at freezing, the sky looked clear and the forecast was for a high of about 60. Figured it was a perfect day for a hike, even better an exploration hike. This is when I hike all the side trails I've passed by on other hikes. I started out at 7AM from first water TH heading north to the old road just before the horse lot. Shortly after the First Water Ranch buildings I found a small trail heading east over the yellow hills that I had never tried, no idea if this area has a name, it's outside the Superstition Wilderness area. After wandering for only about a mile I was on a steep hill coming back down into First Water Creek, near Hackberry Spring. I had never tried taking First Water Creek all the way to Canyon Lake, so I figured today was the day. After all the rock rollin' and boulder balancin' I was happy to be turning around as soon as the lake appeared. I didn't have a shuttle, so I had to retrace my steps. The canyon and surrounding peaks are very interesting to see. Including what must be Arizona's version of a alien crop circle, see attached picture.
From there I got on Hackberry trail back to Second Water trail at the Black Mesa intersection. I remembered a hike I had read a year ago about getting to second water canyon. Couldn't remember many details except having to go through all the teddy bear cactus at the highest point on the Black Mesa Trail. So that was my next task. I was holding my breath so much going through all the cactus that I'm glad I didn't pass out, not a good place to fall. Then up over the black rock wall, and what do I find a cactus mine field. Almost every square yard had a cholla of one kind or another, and those that didn't had a large prickly pear. Spent about half an hour picking my way through this without seeing anything like a trail or a canyon, so I left. There weren't even game trails. The cactus was so thick probably even the jacks stayed out of it.
By the time I got back to the trail I figured it was time to be heading back to civilization. I had only run into 2 other people in the whole hike. A very light day for the First Water TH. Was a great day for a hike.