If you haven't already, now would be a good time to tuck that insect repellent back into your pack! I was glad I had mine with me. The wildflowers were really blooming out there and the drone of a million bees and flies will be the background noise for the next few weeks. Lots of lizards out there taking advantage of the feast. I was hoping to see the rest of the food chain today, but no luck there. A Gila Monster sighting would have really made my day... or a rattler would have been cool, too. But, I get them in my yard occasionally so they're not as exciting as they used to be.
I really enjoyed this hike. I had never been on the Black Mesa Trail before and it's always fun to visit new real estate. The weather was absolutely perfect for hiking, but I only saw 7 other people along the way. The cholla forest was very cool looking and not a bother since they were all well off the trail. There isn't even any catclaw out there, which is truly amazing. I sailed through the whole route in shorts without any problem (although, I did spend a lot of effort dodging fly covered horse loads!)
I read everyone's triplogs beforehand trying to guess which direction to do this one. Seemed like a 50/50 split, but mostly no real explanations for their choices. I finally came across one of Nan's
old triplogs and she gave the definitive answer. Go clockwise
. That way, you will be facing all the spectacular views as you go instead of walking away from them. Thanks, Nan! You are so right. The Black Mesa Trail would s.u.c.k. going north (not much to look at in front of you)
. But, heading south, the views of Weaver's Needle and Palomino Mtn. are very worthwhile. The Dutchman Trail is a little better going south, too, but how many times have we already seen it on the way to somewhere else? It's kind of like Main Street.
I had considered a side trip to Needle Canyon, but there was NO water out there so I'll save that one for a rainy day
There was the tiniest bit of water left in the creek close to the trailhead, but West Boulder Canyon and O'Grady were bone dry. Looks like summer's coming early.