6 Days in the Supes, questions about a LONG loop

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SeekingLost
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6 Days in the Supes, questions about a LONG loop

Post by SeekingLost » Jan 31 2013 11:31 am

Hi, first post here, hopefully this is in the right category. I am planning a hike in the Superstition Wilderness in early March. I have 6 days, and I'm looking to tackle an 80 mile route that I plotted after studying the maps, water sources, etc over the last several days. I intend on beginning and ending at the Canyon Lake TH (have a small car so I can't reach many of the other trailheads).

My fitness level is considered excellent... I'm 30 years old, run 1-3 times per week, lift weights (including legs) 3 times per week.

Below is a screenshot of the route:
80mileloop.GIF
Here's a rough day by day itinerary of the hike.


Day 1 - 10.2 miles - Canyon Lake TH to Camp on or near Black Top Mesa

boulder canyon trail > calvary trail > dutchman's trail north > bull pass trail > spanish hieroglyphics trail. Camp on Black Top Mesa (GPX file downloaded here: http://web.utah.edu/thorne/superstitions.html indicates a campsite up here), 2nd choice is below the mesa.

Water - Bought enough from car this morning


Day 2 - 15 miles - Black Top Mesa to Clover Spring area on JF North

spanish hieroglyphics trail > bull pass trail > dutchman's trail north > red tanks trial > hoolie bacon trail > jf north trail. Not many campsites in this area on my gpx, so I am just shooting for a 15 mile day, putting me near Clover Spring which I expect to be dry.

Water - Charlebois, Oak, and Trap Springs all have been flowing according to the latest spring reports on this site.


Day 3 - 16 miles - JF North camp to Reavis Falls

jf north trail > rogers canyon trail > frog tanks trail > reavis ranch trail north > reavis falls. Camp in one of the sites near reavis falls.

Water - Plow Saddle Spring, Lime Mountain Spring, Reavis Falls


Day 4 - 16.8 miles - Reavis Falls to Randolp Canyon entrance

reavis falls > reavis ranch north > reavis ranch south > hewitt-canyon rd > woodsbury trail > jf south. Camp near Randolph Canyon entrance. Alternate campsite would be 1/4 back at the junction of the JF & Woodsbury trails. This is only about 2/10 mile from the Woodsbury TH, so I'd like to find a spot closer to or just inside of Randolph Canyon if possible.

Water - Reavis Falls, Plow Saddle Spring, Rogers Spring


Day 5 - 16 miles - Randolph Canyon to Little Boulder Canyon Creek

randolph canyon > red tanks > coffee flat > dutchmans south > bluff spring > terrapin > weaver crosscut trail > peralta > dutchmans north. Camp near Little Boulder Canyon Creek Spring, just North of Palomino Mountain.

Water - Randolph Canyon, Little Boulder Canyon Creek Spring


Day 6 - 8.2 miles - Little Boulder Canyon Creek camp to Canyon Lake TH

black mesa > second water > boulder canyon > canyon lake th

Water - Little Boulder Canyon Creek Spring, Second Water


As far as water sources go, I've only listed the ones that had been reported to be flowing in the spring reports. I know that most of the reports are not recent, so I'd like to get some feedback on the ones I have listed. I plan to carry extra water in my 2L platypus collapsible containers during the driest sections, between Charlebois/Trap Springs and Plow Saddle Springs/Reavis Falls (shortest/longest scenario) at 16 or so miles and between Randolph Canyon and Little Boulder Canyon Creek Spring at about 14 miles. They have been reported flowing, but some recent reports of water would sure put my mind to ease. Otherwise, I think I have the water covered, but again, recent info on these springs would help. I'll be checking the reports up until I leave regardless.

I'd also like to know which sections of this hike are prone to being problematic... confusing trails, overgrown vegetation, etc. I just want to know in advance about things that might slow me down so I can be prepared.

As I mentioned on my Day 1 itinerary, I want to camp at the top of Black Top Mesa if possible. Can anyone verify that there is or isn't a campsite up there? Any other campsite suggestions are welcomed.

At the Canyon Lake trailhead, do I need to pay to park? And as far as I could find, there are no fees or permits needed and nowhere to register to hike and camp in the Superstition Wilderness, correct?

Thanks in advance for any info regarding this hike.
Last edited by SeekingLost on Jan 31 2013 2:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 6 Days in the Supes, questions about a LONG loop

Post by joebartels » Jan 31 2013 11:32 am

:welcome:

no permits
although not required I'd probably notify the Forest Service and/or Canyon Lake Marina for being parked there so long
(perhaps snakemarks or mtnlumberjack know better...)

water shouldn't be a problem for months as the Superstitions just received several days of good rain
of course it'll be better if we get some rain between now and then too

others should know more about Black Top Mesa
I don't have an eye for camp spaces, just know it's pretty rocky from my visits

in case you haven't come across it, here is a dynamic mapped area for the Superstition Wilderness

as for problematic areas in the route
shouldn't be any really if you carry a gps
if not, please upload your route into Route MGR, save it, set is as public, then share the link here for easier review

looks like a friggen awesome hike
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Re: 6 Days in the Supes, questions about a LONG loop

Post by Tough_Boots » Jan 31 2013 11:33 am

there is definitely a campsite on Black Top Mesa. Also, your day 4 is going to be a beast-- coming out of Reavis Falls is no joke (especially with a pack on). That is seriously steep but there should be a nice flow this year so I imagine it will be worth it. If you're not feelin' it, you could always skip it and stay at Reavis Ranch where the livin' is easy :)
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Re: 6 Days in the Supes, questions about a LONG loop

Post by te_wa » Jan 31 2013 11:33 am

http://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=53292 might allow you to see the area of the camp-spot. ignore the dude in the ugly orange shirt.
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Re: 6 Days in the Supes, questions about a LONG loop

Post by SuperstitionGuy » Jan 31 2013 11:34 am

No problem camping on top of the south end of Black Top Mesa.

Trap Spring is up canyon a little ways and if there is water along your route before Trap Spring you can skip it.

I did not study your route as carefully as I will after I post this but you MUST hike thru Rogers Canyon and visit the ruin upstream of Angel Basin. - OK I see that you will be passing by the ruin.

If possible maybe I or another HAZ'er can check your progress along some of the points at or near trailheads that you will be passing near. Keep us posted as to when you actually will be starting your trip and when and where you will be.
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Re: 6 Days in the Supes, questions about a LONG loop

Post by SeekingLost » Jan 31 2013 11:38 am

joe bartels wrote:welcome to HAZ

no permits
although not required I'd probably notify the Forest Service and/or Canyon Lake Marina for being parked there so long
(perhaps snakemarks or mtnlumberjack know better...)

water shouldn't be a problem for months as the Superstitions just received several days of good rain
of course it'll be better if we get some rain between now and then too

others should know more about Black Top Mesa
I don't have an eye for camp spaces, just know it's pretty rocky from my visits

in case you haven't come across it, here is a dynamic mapped area for the Superstition Wilderness

as for problematic areas in the route
shouldn't be any really if you carry a gps
if not, please upload your route into Route MGR, save it, set is as public, then share the link here for easier review

looks like a friggen awesome hike
Thanks for the info. I will be carrying a GPS along with topo maps, so no problem there. That interactive map is pretty awesome, I used it, along with Garmin Basecamp and the GPX file I referenced in my first post to plan most of this trip.
Tough_Boots wrote:there is definitely a campsite on Black Top Mesa. Also, your day 4 is going to be a beast-- coming out of Reavis Falls is no joke (especially with a pack on). That is seriously steep but there should be a nice flow this year so I imagine it will be worth it. If you're not feelin' it, you could always skip it and stay at Reavis Ranch where the livin' is easy
Awesome, I think that'd be a sweet campsite. Yeah you're right on that climb, I just looked at the route in Basecamp... 1200' in a mile. That'll get my blood pumping early in the morning!
te-wa wrote:http://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=53292 might allow you to see the area of the camp-spot. ignore the dude in the ugly orange shirt.
Thanks for sharing that, looks like an amazing campsite. I just hope it's available!
SuperstitionGuy wrote:No problem camping on top of the south end of Black Top Mesa.

Trap Spring is up canyon a little ways and if there is water along your route before Trap Spring you can skip it.

I did not study your route as carefully as I will after I post this but you MUST hike thru Rogers Canyon and visit the ruin upstream of Angel Basin. - OK I see that you will be passing by the ruin.

If possible maybe I or another HAZ'er can check your progress along some of the points at or near trailheads that you will be passing near. Keep us posted as to when you actually will be starting your trip and when and where you will be.
Yup, I plan to hit up Charlebois Spring and use Trap as my backup. But from the sounds of it, Charlebois is pretty reliable, so I'm sure I'll be fine there.

You're talking about the Cliff Dwellings, right? How far upstream from Angel Basin are they, and are they visible from the trail? I love stuff like that.

I'll let ya know when I get some concrete dates set, but right now it's looking like I'd begin the hike on March 5th.
azpride wrote:I've camped on top of black top mesa, right at the edge overlooking weavers needle. Looking back on my triplog from January 2011, I can confirm there is a great little campsite with a fire ring, though fuel is obviously sparse.
Cool, I bet that was an awesome view. I'm really looking forward to this campsite now! Glad you mentioned the fuel being scarce, didn't even think of that. Oh well, the views will be worth it.

Well damn, you guys pretty much answered all of my questions right off the bat. Thanks for all the info, I'll check back in before I leave and if I have any more questions.
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Re: 6 Days in the Supes, questions about a LONG loop

Post by base871 » Feb 02 2013 7:23 pm

Sounds like an awsome trip. I pretty much lived in the supes in 2008/09, and probably have still only seen 5% of it all.

I need to get back out there if I ever get home from work. I was home all of 6 weeks in 2012 :(
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Re: 6 Days in the Supes, questions about a LONG loop

Post by SuperstitionGuy » Feb 02 2013 8:10 pm

MetalBackpacker wrote:You're talking about the Cliff Dwellings, right? How far upstream from Angel Basin are they, and are they visible from the trail? I love stuff like that.
The ruins are on your left as you follow the trail upstream. As long as you pay attention to the left side of the canyon you will not miss the main ruin.
Last edited by SuperstitionGuy on Feb 03 2013 12:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 6 Days in the Supes, questions about a LONG loop

Post by SeekingLost » Feb 05 2013 7:50 am

Thanks SuperstitionGuy, sounds like they aren't too far out of the way. That will probably make a good resting spot for lunch on that day.
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Re: 6 Days in the Supes, questions about a LONG loop

Post by SeekingLost » Feb 27 2013 7:17 pm

Getting ready to leave for the trip in a few days and thought I'd check in before I go. My itinerary and dates have not changed.

I would like to inquire about my intended water sources one last time to make sure I'm covered. I've checked the spring reports, but no new ones have been posted since I started this thread. I've been watching the weather, and besides the rain/snow on Feb 20th, I didn't see any rainfall reported. I'm going by the weather channel, using "superstition wilderness area". The average rainfall for February in the superstitions, according to the weather channel, is 2.16 inches, and there's only been .41 inches this February. January was an inch lower than normal too. So, can anyone confirm that there is (or isn't) water at any of the springs I've mentions in my first post? Plow saddle, randolph, little boulder canyon creek springs, and rogers springs are the ones I am most concerned about. Sounds like charlebois, second water, and reavis are pretty reliable. I guess I am just looking for a little reassurance that I'm not going to go thirsty out there on the route I've chosen.

That's pretty much my only concerns with my chosen route. Looks like the weather is going to be great, 60s and low 40s/upper 30s at night. Can't wait to get there!
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Re: 6 Days in the Supes, questions about a LONG loop

Post by outdoor_lover » Feb 27 2013 7:37 pm

MetalBackpacker wrote:there's only been .41 inches this February.
Hmmm, :sweat: I'd say there was quite a bit more than that.... :sl: I don't think you're going to have any trouble finding water right now. The Supes still have snow... http://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=319291 All of the major drainages are still flowing....Boulder Canyon will definitely have water. And Roger's Canyon was reported running well before we got this latest wave of moisture, so I certainly wouldn't be worried there either. http://hikearizona.com/photoset=23522
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Re: 6 Days in the Supes, questions about a LONG loop

Post by hippiepunkpirate » Feb 27 2013 8:55 pm

I can report that Reavis Creek has a ton of water in it as of 2/24, as well as water flowing in numerous drainages between Reavis Falls and the Reavis Trailhead. The Supes have received multiple storms this month and water should not be a concern at all given your itinerary.
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Re: 6 Days in the Supes, questions about a LONG loop

Post by chumley » Feb 27 2013 10:42 pm

hippiepunkpirate wrote:The Supes have received multiple storms this month and water should not be a concern at all given your itinerary.
You will have no problem finding water. It will be in every drainage. There has been plenty of rain and snow still remains at the higher elevations. The ground is saturated. Every drainage you cross will either have running water or pools of water for at least another couple of weeks.

Please post a triplog and share photos when you get back. Sounds like it'll be a great trip!
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Re: 6 Days in the Supes, questions about a LONG loop

Post by SeekingLost » Feb 28 2013 8:09 am

Cool, that's good news! What about my longest dry sections, on days 2/3 and 5? Any chance of water between Trap and Plow Saddle springs? Between Randolph springs and Little Boulder Canyon Creek springs? I don't want to carry tons of extra water if I don't have to, but on these sections there didn't seem to be much in the way of water sources.

I'll definitely post some pictures when I get back.
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Re: 6 Days in the Supes, questions about a LONG loop

Post by SuperstitionGuy » Feb 28 2013 8:31 am

As already stated there will be water in all the drainages. You need to be more concerned about water crossings and being able to keep your footwear dry. Carry extra socks and be prepared to dry out your shoes/boots somehow every night. I prefer the hot sand method where you heat up sand and pour them into your boots.

Also campsites for a solo backpacker are everywhere and I prefer a spot where the sunrise will find me quickly in the morning.

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Re: 6 Days in the Supes, questions about a LONG loop

Post by outdoor_lover » Feb 28 2013 11:00 am

Your timing for this Trip couldn't have been any better. Weather looks great and as stated a few times already, there is plenty of Water. You will not have to rely solely on Springs for this Trip, trust us on that one. There is a ton of filterable water running all over the place out there. And if it's not actually flowing, there will still be enough pools that you are not going to have a problem. Have a great Trip!!! :)
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Re: 6 Days in the Supes, questions about a LONG loop

Post by SeekingLost » Feb 28 2013 7:35 pm

Thanks for the info guys. I wasn't expecting there to be so much water! I guess I will bring my water shoes along after all.
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Re: 6 Days in the Supes, questions about a LONG loop

Post by SeekingLost » Mar 15 2013 10:42 am

I'm back from the trip. What a disaster... I got sick 2 days before I left and drove all the way out there (2000+ miles each way), gambling that I'd feel better by the time I got there. I'm still sick NOW, days after returning. I ended up staying in a hotel an extra day and then camping at Canyon Lake an extra day before the trip, shortening it by 2 days. So instead of hiking 6 days, I did 4. And I only hiked 20 miles total. I did 10 miles my first day, from Canyon Lake to Black Top Mesa, then that storm rolled through. What a nightmare. I spent 36 hours in my tent with relentless winds and rain, and temps just above freezing at night. The campsite on Black Top Mesa was awesome, but very exposed. If I had to guess, I'd say 40mph winds up there during the storm. My tent blew over twice in the middle of the night forcing me to get up and fix it, getting soaking wet and had all sorts of water in the tent. On top of that, my air mattress popped that night so I no longer had any insulation from the ground. This is on top of being sick (coughing like crazy, chest pains, zero appetite). Night 1 and day/night 2 were pretty miserable. I didn't hike at all on day 2 due to the weather, and finally got up and hiking around noon on day 3. Decided to take Boulder Canyon back since it appeared to be the shortest route. I should have just taken the Black Mesa trail since it's so flat and no water crossings. All the waterways were flooded after the rains and I am very glad I bought my water shoes, because I ended up having to hike several miles in them on days 3 and 4 due to the constant water crossings (30+) of knee deep, fast flowing water. Day 4 was sunny and nice, but I was only 5 miles from my car at that point.

I will post some pictures and more details later, but just wanted to check in for now.
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Re: 6 Days in the Supes, questions about a LONG loop

Post by chumley » Mar 15 2013 11:06 am

Thanks for the update. Weather and health are definitely two big pitfalls on a trip like this. In many ways, weather can be endured with the correct gear, though simple endurance isn't necessarily the key to a good trip. Health can be a deal-breaker though, and there is often little that can be done. Last spring I got sick just before a Yosemite trip, and decided to try to fight through it anyway. Worst decision ever. I ended up not being completely healthy for over 3 months :o because of it. And I ended up cutting the trip short anyway! ](*,)

I look forward to you posting photos and detailing your experiences in a triplog. And hopefully you'll have a chance to revisit the Supes in the future where things work out a bit better. It can definitely be a very special part of the world to spend time exploring!
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Re: 6 Days in the Supes, questions about a LONG loop

Post by outdoor_lover » Mar 15 2013 11:24 am

I'm so sorry to hear about all the bad luck...Being sick, going through one of our not so common winter storms, although all of us Arizonans love seeing it rain, just not when we're sick and trying to backpack.... :sweat: What a bummer for you!!! All of that time, money and anticipation dashed on a pretty bad experience.... Hopefully it does not "sour" your experience out here and you will return. It really is a magical place when you're up for it and you can hit the good weather the other 360 days of the year.... :)
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