This has been on my Wish List for awhile and John wanted to make sure I did it, so I could see the "interior" of the Superstition Range. I had actually planned this hike a month ago, but there was a plane crash the night before,
so I stayed away.
Met John and Brian at the 1st Water TH at 7:00 A.M. Still just a little dark, but by the time intros were over and packs set, it was "safe" light...Beautiful morning, just slightly chilly, but warmed up nicely when the sun came over the mountains.
The views were very cool and John and Brian were great about pointing out and "labeling" various landmarks and areas to me, since this is only my second hike in this range. The sun really started to hit the area when we got to Garden Valley which made for some dramatic lighting. When we got to the Black Mesa Cholla Forest, John decided to go off trail a little to a small ridge to the east, just to see what the views were from there. Definitely worth the little extra time and very little effort. You topped out and got a great shot of Geronimo Head and Battleship and Four Peaks further out. Now I can really see profile of the formation that gave Battleship it's name...
We arrive at the junction of Black Mesa and Dutchman and at John's suggestion, we hang a left and John takes us up to Aylor's Camp. Nice spot and not only is there water in the creek, but you can actually hear the flow, so we take a break there and have a little lunch. After a sandwich I wandered away and started looking at a pile of Large Black Rock. I hadn't seen the back side yet, but decided that it was "doable" so I walked over, checked it out all the way around, found that it was pretty easy from the back side, but decided to try it the hard way from the front, just to gauge my climbing skills. One difficult spot, but I made it. Almost to the top and I see John has stood up and is watching. Can't tell if it's nervousness or curiosity on his face, but he was definitely watching.
I made it to the top and stood up and for a few moments there, after I looked down, I really felt like a dizzy blonde
Got a little vertigo, but managed to stay on my feet and on the rock. It was hard not to look down since that's where John and Brian were.
John retrieved my camera and tried to take a couple of pictures and at least got my head in the 2nd shot.
Now it's contagious and the two guys decide to come up as well. They opt for the slightly easier routes and are lounging at the top while I retrieve my camera and take a couple of shots of them. Everybody gets down, we're all happy and off we go to finish the loop back to the TH.
Very Scenic throughout, with great views of Weaver's Needle, Palomino, Black Rock Mesa and more...
John points out a cave that he's very interested in bushwacking to, but we decide that we needed more time than we had today. Definitely a trip for the near future.
Found some nice flowing water in the creek along Dutchman on the way back so there is still some water after the rains of early December. Finished up the Hike feeling great and really enjoyed the company today. The Trails had really nice flow, and actually felt really easy with minimal or gradual elevation gain. It was a nice break from the kind of hikes I've been doing lately and I was more than comfortable with whatever pace was set, so it was all excellent...Great hike to take beginners on too. Thanks to John and Brian for the cool, awesome company.