Ambika wanted to do a hike in the Supes that wouldn't take all day so this is the one I came up with. In 2009 I had done part of it from Cloudview but had not come in from the other side. I found us a couple guys to tag along. Jack had done the trail a couple times already this month but he was game to try it again. John said he needed some up-climbing to warrant his participation so he suggested Turks Head. We met at the Cloudview TH and then took Tonto to the Lost Goldmine TH.
It was a bit windy and would be off and on throughout the first part of our hike. We would have a crisp day with vivid blue skies and broken clouds as well as cloud cover for this hike. But lucky for you all
most of the hike was VERY photographic. This hike is interesting the entire way as you hike below the foot of the Superstitions. Jack pointed out the many-armed saguaro and John pointed out where the Dacite mine was. Eventually we walked through a saguaro, teddy cholla and chain cholla forest. Now how great is that
... and that was only in the first couple miles.
Before long Turks Head appeared closer and closer and I'm thinking, really, we're going to go up that?! But it appears you go around to the other side where the climb, while steep in some places is not nearly as intimidating, WHEW!
We are walking on the jeep road off of the Gold Mine Trail and come to the wash which we walk into while reading the hike desc which says: At this point proceed up a drainage wash to the east and up the mountain known as Turks Head.
I think the problem was the combination of the words
, "drainage wash". Well we took the wash and then the drainage, just not the first drainage to the east which we found on the way down.
I did like the way we went up from more of the NW side toward the balancing rock which we dubbed "Joe Camel with a hat" http://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=227338
. Once we came out of the drainage, it was pretty much straight up
to Joe Camel. Once we got there, after looking around, we found the cairns and pretty much tried to follow them on the way up. We discovered that many had been knocked over so we re-built a few. It would be better to have more so that people who do come up stay pretty much on the same path rather than traipsing all over the beautiful mountain.
There were a couple steep sections and some tight cholla sections but after a few false tops, as stated in the hike description, we were at the top. John is always the first to check it all out and was already back from his brief walk across the top of the rocks by the time I got my pack off to do the same. I've learned when doing these types of walks to really not look too far down and I seem to be fine. Anyway, it was cool
to sit at the south side overlooking the valley below and the Supes behind. The sun was dashing in and out of the clouds so the views were even more exceptional.
Finally we had our lunch. I was starved (forgot my morning hike banana
). We were able to sit in the lounge (means you have a back to your seat) and enjoy the views while stuffing down the various things Ambika & I had in our packs. It was a wonderful variety of snacks to go with the turkey sandwich Ambika and I shared. Plus we finished it off with some huckleberry
It would have been nice, as always to hang up there longer but alas it was time to go back down. But first, we wanted to climb up in the window we had seen on our way up. It was a straight up climb and once to it, there really wasn't anywhere else to go
unless you could fly
. We took some photos and then made our way back down the mountain.
Jack and Ambika took the lead and found the cairns to the SW side of Joe Camel. But suddenly, I got chollaed. OUCH!!!
I had never been chollaed. NOW I understand. The cholla is stuck very tightly into the skin on the top of my ankle. I want to cry. I looked grimacingly
at John thinking surely he can do something. I finally found the printed hike descriptions that were folded up in my camera bag to use to pull the cholla out. I had a feeling I would have to scream as the needles came out of my skin but I don't think I did. Finally, after a couple tries
I got the pumpkin thing out.
After catching my breath I start heading toward Ambika and Joe when I realize John is MIA. I should have known where he would be.... trying to climb
Joe Camel. You'll have to see the photo set to see if he was successful. Needless to say, this route down from here was much easier than our off route up.
Before you know it, we were back in the wash realizing that the hike description means to take the very first drainage to your right once you enter the wash (we had walked further up the wash before heading up another drainage) and head E toward the balancing rock (Joe Camel). On our hike back we were treated to a sun spotlight show as the sun danced around the Superstitions. It was such fun to watch and try to photograph.
We had a quick beer at the TH before bidding our adieus and then headed off to retrieve Tonto. Driving back on Peralta Road, we could see a spectacular sunset in the making. I was in the lead and trying to find a place to pull over where we could get a good view of it. Finally after a couple miles I found a spot and we rushed out of our vehicles to take some photos.
We finished our day at the always tasty Los Gringos where I tried a new dish. Their pablano rice is just wonderful and this nite the restaurant was celebrating so I had the opportunity to get a free shot of some prime tequila. Now the question was, how do you drink the shot as I couldn't remember the order (It was probably the late 80s since I drank a shot). Anyway, it is salt, tequila and lime.
Video 1 on the Lost Goldmine Trail heading west: http://youtu.be/NQMxjQ9eKFM
Video 2 continuing on the Lost Goldmine Trail around Turks Head, the approach and climb up Turks Head: http://youtu.be/JP6Frz0oiZY
Video 3 our time on Turks Head along with some incredible views, our climb down the mountain and our hike back to the TH: http://youtu.be/Hk3rlrVxe6w