3rd (or 4th) Annual "Jack's Back" Hike
Back when I was spending my summers in Minnesota, Angela (Tibber) apparently needed an excuse to have a hike
so, sometime after my return to Arizona, she would organize a group and we called it the "Jack's Back" hike. Now that I'm a full time resident of Arizona, this would be the final hike in that series so we wanted to do something a little different than another Superstitions hike and this is what Angela came up with.
The Goldfields haven't been a favorite hiking destination of mine because of the ATV traffic and the mess that they leave behind them so I was cautiously optimistic before the start. We parked along the Apache Trail at a wide parking area just prior to mile post 203 and entered the Goldfields across the road. Initially there's lots of trails (hoarse and hikers, but, surprisingly, no ATV's) and lots of forks in the trails, so it pays to study the maps prior to the start of the hike.
As soon as you're out of earshot of the highway traffic, the scenery improves drastically and what was reported to be a lot of bushwhacking, simply didn't happen, unless we made a wrong turn
The golden expanses of Lichen covered mountains dominated the horizon all around us as we continued down the rocky trails, and it's unfortunate that the overcast day kept the mountains from further glistening in a bright Arizona sun.
We saw one other person all day and he was peddling a mountain bike heading the opposite direction. At one point, we began seeing blood along the trail and soon there was lots of blood
and eventually we came across a gut pile a short distance off the trail..... Whew! at least there wasn't a person lying there. We investigated a large boulder strewn alcove with, what looked like, bear scat littering the floor, but no identifying tracks could be found. Then we spotted a round hole (window) in the side of a mountain that Kelly had to check out further. It was just the right size for her to shinny in from the back side, and poke her head out facing us.... with a big grin on her face
The clouds would part and the sun would brighten up our surroundings but just as quickly return and dim the scenery again. It was a cool but pleasant day and we were just hoping we could complete our hike and stay dry. Our turnaround point was in a series of narrow canyons that kept beckoning us to check out what's around the next corner
but eventually we had to make the decision to begin our return.
We broke for lunch in one of those narrow scenic canyons, sitting on outcroppings of slickrock and it wasn't too long before we felt the first of little raindrops
so we broke out the rain gear and began our trek out of the canyons. In our haste, we made a couple of wrong turns and had to backtrack or bust brush to get back on the right trail but the rain was light and not a concern. As we neared the highway, we could see the Superstitions getting "Dumped on"
and that was the impetus we needed to quicken our steps lest we get caught in it too. As we made it to our parked vehicles, the clouds opened up and it began raining heavily
but we made it just in the nick of time.....
To finish off the final Jack's Back hike
, we stopped at Los Gringos
in Apache Junction, where we met Ambika and relived our day's adventure with a beverage of choice. Thanks Angela, Kelly and MJ, it was a fun day in some scenic Goldfield Mountains and a great group to hike with.... Gotta get back there again one of these days. Foliage
Only minor color could be found on the foliage.