This was my 4th hike in the Goldfields with lots of off trail bushwhacking. You start from highway marker 204 on the Apache Trail and follow the jeep road toward Willow Springs Canyon ( the north part not in the Superstitions) and then veer to the west until the faint road dead ends. Next, head out NW for several miles with no trail at all. The object is to do a loop around the "helmet" which is a rock dome that really looks like a helmet, and follow some creek beds that all dump into Willow Springs.
The hike route is relatively easy with many spectactular views of Weavers Needle, Flatiron, Golden Dome and Dome mountain with the 4 peaks always a landmark to help orient direction. I find that I really do like the bushwhacking routes as there are choices of approaches and ways to suddenly turn left or right to go over a ridge.
The May 7 weather was warm but quite pleasant for the 7 miles. However, this will be the last bushwhack hike I do this spring because I arrived home with my pants, shoes and socks filled with about 200,000 fox tails and they are very hard to remove. I had to take the laces from my shoes and use tweezers to pull off the many sticky barbs. The terrain is alsolutely overrun with the fox tails; not green any more but brown and already dried.
The basic route goes to Prevention gap and down to Wishbone Junction where we follow the creekbed until we turn right up over bright colored slickrock and down to the Willow Springs creek bed. The last couple of miles also presents some challenges as there is fairly deep sand that taxes the ankles.
If you want to avoid a foxtail horror, don't bushwhack more this spring. I realize these Goldfield hikes are not the mind wrenching, climb challenging, height scary, long trips that many do but I enjoy 'em! Away from the Apache Trail the country is far rougher than you would think. There are many dropoffs and ridges to traverse and climb; however you would only break something rather than expire if you fell. I like that concept!
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WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.
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