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 »

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

Post by azfatboy »

Metal, sounds like we were both up there this last weekend. Fortunately for me, I missed the crappiest stuff on Friday and early Saturday, but still saw plenty of cold and muck over the weekend. I had to shorten my route as well, and missed both the big scenic stops that we had planned. I thought I had it bad until I read your post!!! :D 2000 miles???? EACH WAY??? :o

Sorry man, that truly sucks. Hope you can make it back out here again.
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SeekingLost
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Re: 6 Days in the Supes, questions about a LONG loop

Post by SeekingLost »

azfatboy, that's funny because I just read your triplog a little while ago, and I was just thinking about how my trip would have panned out had I not been sick. The night the storm came in was Thursday night, and I would have been camping at Reavis Falls had everything gone to plan. I can only imagine trying to cover 20 miles the next day through all that mud! And yeah, 4200 miles roundtrip. I live in Southeast Michigan unfortunately, and if I want to hike anywhere worthwhile it requires a LONG drive. Can't wait to move out west, hopefully within the next 3-4 years.

chumley, I definitely was not prepared for the weather this time, which was a big reason why I chose a to take 0 day on day 2. I did not bring my rain pants or waterproof boots this trip. To cover all that ground in 6 days I was trying to go light and shaving weight everywhere I could. I didn't expect any rain besides a few sprinkles, and figured it would be warm anyways so my pants would dry quickly. I also figured that my Merrill Moab Ventillators would be a good choice for the terrain, had it been 70 and sunny every day like I was expecting. They are not waterproof in any way, but highly breathable... figured they'd be perfect for drying out quickly when they got wet here and there. When I woke up on that windy, cold day (friday march 8th) I knew it was going to be nasty for a while and that I didn't want to be completely soaked all day, and just decided to stay in. Had I been feeling better and more prepared I would have probably sucked it up and did my mileage for the day. I think I made the right decision though by staying put. I can't say I would have rather stayed home though, because it was beautiful and a great experience otherwise. Hopefully this doesn't set me back 3 months like your Yosemite trip!

This certainly didn't change my perspective on the Supes. The drive from Payson along 260, 88 and 87 was one of my favorite drive in recent memory. This was the first time I have ever seen those saguaro catci, very unique and certainly creates an amazing landscape. In fact, going through all this and having things unravel the way they did makes me want to come back some day and hike this exact route as I originally intended. Someday...
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SuperstitionGuy
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Re: 6 Days in the Supes, questions about a LONG loop

Post by SuperstitionGuy »

Usually I recommend out of state hikers and backpackers to always have a plan B if the weather is not suitable for a trip through the Superstitions.
I failed to do that regarding your request for information and apologize for that now. :wrt:

Arizona is fortunate in that you can arrive in Phoenix and drive within a day to almost any plan B or C that you chose and have a good time even though there may be a storm front in another part of the state. In fact you can snow ski in the morning and water ski in the afternoon if you really want to. Mountains or desert take your choice depending upon the weather and the desires of your heart.

Please come back but do have a plan B and C in mind if the weather is not cooperating with you.
A man's body may grow old, but inside his spirit can still be as young and restless as ever.
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big_load
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Re: 6 Days in the Supes, questions about a LONG loop

Post by big_load »

I sympathize with the health thing. A couple years ago, I hiked five days in the Galiuros with really bad bronchitis. I was still sick two months later, but it was worth it. Oddly enough, I actually felt better when I was hiking.
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friendofThundergod
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Re: 6 Days in the Supes, questions about a LONG loop

Post by friendofThundergod »

@MetalBackpacker
hey man totally random, read your trip aspirations from a few months ago...they were very ambitious but a little off to be honest, water sources etc, I am surprised nobody caught it...the hike would have been possible, and I am sure you were physically ready for it, however, I have hiked nearly every trail in SUPS including out east twice and off trail as much and that would have been a killer...if you ever go back to SUPs and want some good intel about water, off trail gems, and other cool places, just send me a private message...
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JoelHazelton
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Re: 6 Days in the Supes, questions about a LONG loop

Post by JoelHazelton »

@friendofThundergod
I don't actually think anyone was off regarding water sources. In the triplog he even mentioned that he encountered several knee-high water crossings. There is nothing unrealistic about expecting water in most Superstition drainages immediately after a wet winter.
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JoelHazelton
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Re: 6 Days in the Supes, questions about a LONG loop

Post by JoelHazelton »

MetalBackpacker wrote: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
"Arizona is the land of contrast... You can go from Minnesota to California in a matter of minutes, then have Mexican food that night." -Jack Dykinga

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

Post by SeekingLost »

Looks like I am going to have some time off around the holidays this year and and contemplating a winter hike somewhere warmer than Michigan. Since I never finished this hike in the supes earlier this year, I am considering giving it another go if everything works out logistically. It would be early January and I might have more days available for hiking this time as I will likely fly instead of driving 4000 miles round trip. I'll need more time too since the days are so darn short this time of year.

I am thinking about hiking 8 days instead of 6 as I originally had planned. The days are going to be shorter than they were in early March, so Im going to have to reduce my daily mileage compared to last time. I might not start at the same trailhead either, so I'd have to modify my original route.

When I get my plan ironed out I will make a new thread with the details.
friendofThundergod wrote:@MetalBackpacker
hey man totally random, read your trip aspirations from a few months ago...they were very ambitious but a little off to be honest, water sources etc, I am surprised nobody caught it...the hike would have been possible, and I am sure you were physically ready for it, however, I have hiked nearly every trail in SUPS including out east twice and off trail as much and that would have been a killer...if you ever go back to SUPs and want some good intel about water, off trail gems, and other cool places, just send me a private message...
Thanks for your input. Which water sources do you think were questionable? I'm sending you a message in a minute...
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friendofThundergod
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Re: 6 Days in the Supes, questions about a LONG loop

Post by friendofThundergod »

@MetalBackpacker
I did respond to your PM, this time of year I don't think any water will be an issue for most of winter now. Six days in Supes though will be fun man..
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SeekingLost
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Re: 6 Days in the Supes, questions about a LONG loop

Post by SeekingLost »

friendofThundergod wrote:@MetalBackpacker
I did respond to your PM, this time of year I don't think any water will be an issue for most of winter now. Six days in Supes though will be fun man..
Thanks man, I have been going through your triplogs and pictures, and just made another post on my updated plans.
CDT Thru Hike 2018 (2998 miles)
My Hiking Adventures: [ youtube video ]
Blog: http://www.seekinglost.com
Next Adventure: Currently plotting a 3-4k mile loop hike in the west 😎
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