We had planned on a long hike in the Superstitions until the night before when we saw photos of the Parker Canyon/Cliffs area and made a quick change in plans. Although a car would get us to the cliffs, I had mapped out some routes west of the cliffs that would require some pretty technical 4-wheeling so we took the Samurai.
Our basic plan was to start with the rock outcrop on the west side of Parker Canyon then visit every successive peak to the west until there were no more to check out. The view from the first outcrop was awesome, especially with the fog-enshrouded Roosevelt Lake below. We did some exploring and found a cross just below the top. Then we took the rough-and-tumble drive to the next outcrop.
We took a short hike to reach the end of the second outcrop. Although there was one more saddle to drop down and climb across, we had plenty more ground to cover today so we left it for another time. We were able to drive to the end of the third outcrop so our time on foot was very limited yet the photo opportunities continued to abound. Now on to the last outcrop and what will turn out to be the longest hike of the day.
From the previous outcrop the last one we would visit looked pretty open so we just expected some climbing. Once we drove as close as we could, we were greeted by a steep ravine with plenty of brush, making me wish I'd carried my trimmer. But with some careful route selection we made it and started the hike along the ridge. Just before the last climb, way up on the horizon I saw what made me think was an elk but I wrote it off as an old tree skeleton since there were many of those. On a whim I zoomed in all the way and took the shot, fully expecting a blurry photo. It wasn't until we got home and I zoomed it more that it was obviously an elk. It probably saw us coming and left before we reached the ridge. However, we did locate the physical evidence of a recent elk passing with some practically still-steaming droppings. The rest of the hike to the end of the outcrop provided plenty of fresh evidence of elk and deer, the only one sighted was the one in the photo.
More scenic photos at the last outcrop and it was time to drive back to 288 and down to the valley below for more hiking... even locating another ancient Native-American ruin site. For more on that you'll have to check out that triplog... coming soon.
I've got to head off to work shortly so no time to post photos yet on HAZ.
I have the full set of 95 photos here: