5-day backpack in the Superstitions

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gardel
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5-day backpack in the Superstitions

Post by gardel » Mar 01 2017 6:08 am

I'm going to be coming to Phoenix at the end of the month for a five-day trip into the Superstition Wilderness, and was hoping that some of the experts on this forum could help with a few questions.

Here's what I'm planning:
Day 1: Start Peralta TH, take Peralta Trail (102) to intersection with Dutchman's trail (104)
Day 2: Dutchman's Trail (104) to Coffee Flat Trail (108), to Dripping Spring
Day 3: Coffee Flat Trail (108) to JF Trail (106) to Rogers Canyon Trail (110) to Angel Basin
Day 4: Rogers Trail (110) to the Rogers Trough TH, walk west on the road to Woodbury Trail (114), and then camp as far along the Coffee Flat Trail (108) as I can get.
Day 5: Return to Peralta TH on Coffee Flat Trail (108).

Here's how it looks on the map:
https://photos.google....

Any thoughts or suggestions on this route?

Also, transportation is an issue. My planned companion backed out, and rental cars are extremely expensive for the March 31 - April 6 period -- around $350. I checked Uber, and they say they service the Peralta TH from downtown Phoenix for $45-60. Is there cellphone coverage at the Peralta TH so that I could call for a ride back to town when I get off the trail.

And finally, if anyone would be interested in joining me for all or part of the circuit, I'd enjoy the company.

With thanks for any advice you can give,

Will

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Re: 5-day backpack in the Superstitions

Post by joebartels » Mar 01 2017 6:48 am

Welcome to HAZ, looks like fun. Here is the route for anyone that wants to look it over
https://hikearizona.com/map.php?MY=26853&M=3

I'm not sure on cell coverage at Peralta Trailhead but I did get a signal just half a mile up the hill on Dutchman #104 recently.
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Re: 5-day backpack in the Superstitions

Post by SuperstitionGuy » Mar 01 2017 7:26 am

This route can be quite warm being mostly low desert. You might want to have a plan B that would take you to the more eastern and higher part of the Wilderness if the weather is going to be hot and clear.
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Re: 5-day backpack in the Superstitions

Post by Stavman » Mar 01 2017 9:52 am

I have verizon and plenty of Cell Service at Peralta TH, but that can depend on yer Cell Provider her in AZ

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gardel
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Re: 5-day backpack in the Superstitions

Post by gardel » Mar 01 2017 10:02 am

I've got Verizon, so that's good news.

As for a Plan B, any suggestions? And any guidance on what counts as hot? I'm accustomed to hiking when it's in the high 80s/low 90s, but that's with high humidity and nearly total tree cover. I have no idea what would be too hot in the desert.

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Re: 5-day backpack in the Superstitions

Post by friendofThundergod » Mar 01 2017 10:24 am

@gardel
As for a Plan B, any suggestions? And any guidance on what counts as hot?
I would just disregard that warning about heat, you are going at the end of March, average day time highs are mid 70s and just below 50s at night. You are already going pretty far east as it is, Rogers Trough TH is at 4700 plus feet, I am not sure how much higher he wants you to hike. There are very few trails in the eastern Supes that will be much higher than that elevation. You will be fine at the end of March and there will be plenty of water...stick to original plan.

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Re: 5-day backpack in the Superstitions

Post by Tough_Boots » Mar 01 2017 1:02 pm

I agree with Lee about the heat. As far as your route, you might consider taking Red Tanks instead of Dutchman all the way to Coffee Flat as you head east.
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Re: 5-day backpack in the Superstitions

Post by gardel » Mar 01 2017 2:22 pm

I read in several trip reports that the Red Tanks Trail is overgrown with cat's claw and other painful plants, and so was trying to avoid it. Is that information outdated?

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Re: 5-day backpack in the Superstitions

Post by knmurphy » Mar 01 2017 2:31 pm

@gardel It's better now than in the past, still has a little bite but nothing to be very worried about. That being said GPX tracks can be helpful in some spots. I personally would use the Red Tanks option.

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Re: 5-day backpack in the Superstitions

Post by Stavman » Mar 02 2017 7:02 am

I did Red Tanks from Coffee Flats about 1-1/2 months ago... It was terrible from the Highest Point down to Labarge Springs #2. The uphill wasnt to bad though.
Now I heard rumors they worked on the trial recently, But most of that area is where yer on a shear cliff and narow Trai. Im glad I did the Trail... But wont again....LOL

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Re: 5-day backpack in the Superstitions

Post by SuperstitionGuy » Mar 02 2017 8:52 am

I said "if the weather is going to be hot and clear" which it was for us in the early 1980's when we did three five day 50 Mile backpack trips with older Boy Scouts ages 14 to 18. Ten plus miles a day often off trail with work projects each day and different campsites each night. We got a little tired of being sweaty and dirty five or six days in a row and then began to do these work project trips during Christmas break for the next five or six years. Yes it was much colder then but these young men sponsored by the Order of the Arrow were Life to Eagle Scouts and great workers. We traveled through Trap Canyon and much of Fish Creek canyon on these trips. Visited Reavis and Mound Mountain and held our Court of Honor the last evening at the restaurant at Tortilla Flat. Which by the way we helped rebuild after it burned in the 1980's.
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Re: 5-day backpack in the Superstitions

Post by friendofThundergod » Mar 02 2017 11:12 am

@SuperstitionGuy
Oh I know it can get warm, prob endured a few warm days myself in March, I just did not want someone changing plans based on fear of the heat, especially with the water that will most likely still be out there...

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Re: 5-day backpack in the Superstitions

Post by nonot » Mar 03 2017 5:47 pm

It has been a warm winter, and for example, hit exactly 80 degrees today about 20 miles away. Getting into the mid-90s by the end of the month would be pretty rare, but it might be mid-80s and it might be mid-70s.

Your itinerary seems reasonable in terms of miles and campsite availability, and should give you a good tour of the southern Supes Wilderness.

It it gets really hot, and you can start early, head east to dripping springs, and head for Reavis Ranch the next day. You can camp at Reavis and explore Circlestone, then head back. Same parking area. Or if you have high clearance you could start from a trailhead further east. The eastern Supes are higher in elevation on average than the western sections and about 10-15 degrees cooler.

However, if you are comfortable with low 90s I think you'll be fine sticking to your plan A even if you are unlucky enough to arrive during a heat wave.


gardel wrote:I've got Verizon, so that's good news.

As for a Plan B, any suggestions? And any guidance on what counts as hot? I'm accustomed to hiking when it's in the high 80s/low 90s, but that's with high humidity and nearly total tree cover. I have no idea what would be too hot in the desert.
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Re: 5-day backpack in the Superstitions

Post by nonot » Mar 03 2017 5:51 pm

gardel wrote:I read in several trip reports that the Red Tanks Trail is overgrown with cat's claw and other painful plants, and so was trying to avoid it. Is that information outdated?
Superstitions have catclaw bushes. There will be some everywhere. Everything in the desert tends to have thorns or spines or stings. Whether you find them annoying enough is kind of a personal thing but plan on getting some scratches. The first 2 days of your journey will tend to be on the trails better maintained than the 3rd and 4th day. If you get itchy really easy bring some benadryl itch relief cream with you.
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Re: 5-day backpack in the Superstitions

Post by gardel » Mar 04 2017 10:27 am

Thanks for all of the information and advice. I'm really looking forward to some new experiences.

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Re: 5-day backpack in the Superstitions

Post by big_load » Mar 04 2017 12:44 pm

nonot wrote:Superstitions have catclaw bushes. There will be some everywhere. Everything in the desert tends to have thorns or spines or stings. Whether you find them annoying enough is kind of a personal thing but plan on getting some scratches.
I agree. Red Tanks is too useful a route to give up for that inconvenience. I've hiked it at every level of obstruction from wide open to nearly impassable, but even at its worst, I've never considered avoiding it. The same is true for other thorny stretches throughout AZ.

My only concession to the thorns is wearing a shirt and pants that are already so full of snags and bloodstains that I don't mind new ones.

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Re: 5-day backpack in the Superstitions

Post by Tough_Boots » Mar 05 2017 5:27 pm

Word on the street is that the Arizona Backpacking Club has taken on Red Tanks as a project. If anyone is worried that much about trail conditions, I'd contact them and find out how much they've gotten done this year. In my experience Red Tanks has been pretty prickly in the past but not enough to discourage use. This is the Supes-- it gets way worse.
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Re: 5-day backpack in the Superstitions

Post by gardel » Mar 06 2017 7:05 am

Ghanks for all the information. One last question -- what do I need to do about food storage? I'm used to going to pretty extreme lengths to deal with bears, but I understand that they're not a problem in the Supes. I usually keep everything in a dry sack. Can I just leave that on the ground?

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Re: 5-day backpack in the Superstitions

Post by Stavman » Mar 06 2017 7:13 am

No bears.. so yer good

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Re: 5-day backpack in the Superstitions

Post by chumley » Mar 06 2017 7:54 am

Stavman wrote:No bears

There are no bears in the Superstitions!? :-k

The healthy population of bears are not a problem and you are unlikely to see any sign of them on most of this route. (Angel Basin would be the most likely possibility).

There are other critters though so I'd try to hang your food a few feet off the ground to keep it away from mice, squirrels, skunks, etc.
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