Hikers lost and found in the Supes

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neilends
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Hikers lost and found in the Supes

Post by neilends » Feb 11 2008 9:02 am

Anyone have ideas on how this could have happened? Is the trail a hard one to follow? I'm not familiar with the Superstitions.
Eugene Scott
The Arizona Republic
Feb. 11, 2008 12:00 AM
Three East Valley residents missing for more than a day near the Superstition Mountains were located Sunday afternoon, police said.

A 50-year-old man, his 18-year-old daughter and his daughter's friend, 19, began hiking the First Water Trail, northeast of Apache Junction at noon Saturday, said Lindsey Smith, Maricopa County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman.

They were supposed to return home at 6 p.m. Saturday

The Sheriff's Office heard about the missing people at 10 a.m. Sunday. The office located the man's abandoned white Jeep Sunday before deputies began the search.

The missing trio was found dehydrated, hungry and exhausted at about 3 p.m. Sunday in a rural area near the Second Water Trail. They were OK and left the scene with family, Smith said.

"Once the sun went down, they found a cave, bunkered down for the night and started again in the morning," Smith said. "They were very fortunate. Had this been last week, with the storm and the freeze, they may not have been so lucky."
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mttgilbert
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Re: Hikers lost and found in the Supes

Post by mttgilbert » Feb 11 2008 9:14 am

Trails around the First Water Trailhead are fairly well traveled and easy to follow, but there are a lot of spur trails and the area is very rugged. Once off trail, it's not hard to lose your bearings. People are constantly getting lost in the Supes, it's a testimonial to just how difficult the terrain can be.
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wallyfrack
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Re: Hikers lost and found in the Supes

Post by wallyfrack » Feb 11 2008 9:19 am

The trails are easy to follow in the First Water TH area but at the Junction of Black Mesa Trail and the Dutchman Trail there are some side trails which sometimes get people turned around and going in the wrong direction. If you have a compass or a map you could easliy find your mistake because there are trail junction signs every few miles.

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te_wa
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Re: Hikers lost and found in the Supes

Post by te_wa » Feb 11 2008 9:45 am

where is the rural area near Second Water trail?
and a cave?
once again showing the newspaper writers dont research their work. :sl:
:D

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joebartels
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Re: Hikers lost and found in the Supes

Post by joebartels » Feb 11 2008 10:13 am

According to KPHO they followed the creek. Found within a mile of the trailhead. Perhaps they were lost further out over night.
began hiking the First Water Trail
What is "First Water Trail"? Maybe the 0.3mi leg from the new trailhead to the old trailhead along "First Water Road"?

The Dutchman #104 about a mile out isn't difficult to follow. But if you go down to the creek, then check out something else and the sun starts going down on you the terrain does look all the same. Especially if you're paying attention to your kids and not making the slightest mental map.
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Re: Hikers lost and found in the Supes

Post by JoelHazelton » Feb 11 2008 10:56 am

I probably woulda just followed any drainage downstream and hoped/assumed it would eventually intersect First Water Creek, then follow that until it crosses the Second Water Trail. Having a general idea of how water flows and the main drainages in an area is pretty priceless if your lost. 'Tis why I love to study topo quads.
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big_load
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Re: Hikers lost and found in the Supes

Post by big_load » Feb 11 2008 12:29 pm

azpride wrote:I probably woulda just followed any drainage downstream and hoped/assumed it would eventually intersect First Water Creek, then follow that until it crosses the Second Water Trail. Having a general idea of how water flows and the main drainages in an area is pretty priceless if your lost. 'Tis why I love to study topo quads.
I've never been confused in that area, but sometimes just being one drainage off from where you thought you were can lead to a chain of compounding bad decisions. Besides be able to read the terrain, being able (and willing) to backtrack is great self-preservation tool.

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Re: Hikers lost and found in the Supes

Post by JoelHazelton » Feb 11 2008 1:57 pm

True, but at least you know you'll eventually end up in the Salt River :)
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nonot
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Re: Hikers lost and found in the Supes

Post by nonot » Feb 11 2008 3:07 pm

My guess is they missed the trail at a creek crossing and didn't want to backtrack. There are numerous shallow alcoves they could have spent the night in, although I wouldn't call any of them "caves". Too bad they didn't bring a whistle, you could probably have heard them from the trailhead if they did. At least they had matches or something to start a fire. Still, I've always said if you manage to get lost on the Dutchman, hiking probably isn't for you... :o
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Hoffmaster
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Re: Hikers lost and found in the Supes

Post by Hoffmaster » Feb 11 2008 3:46 pm

nonot wrote:Still, I've always said if you manage to get lost on the Dutchman, hiking probably isn't for you... :o
Amen to that!

The rest of you guys are being way too nice!

te-wa: What else would the area around First Water be if if isn't rural (I know; it's wilderness)? It certainly isn't urban or suburban. You should know not to take "journalists" literally. They didn't spend the night in a cave, they spent the night in a "cave", aka: alcove, overhang.
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djui5
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Re: Hikers lost and found in the Supes

Post by djui5 » Feb 11 2008 4:37 pm

There are some caves/mines around there, depending on where they were. The "rural area" has me though.

I'd say it would be pretty easy to get lost back there if you've never hiked the Supes before. Like Joe said, all it takes is one step off the trail and that's it. Some people just don't have a good sense of direction. It happens. I've lost trails before, embarrassing as that can be :scared:

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Hoffmaster
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Re: Hikers lost and found in the Supes

Post by Hoffmaster » Feb 11 2008 5:17 pm

djui5 wrote: The "rural area" has me though.
I think my point above wasn't very clear. I was trying to say that for a fair majority of people in Phoenix, a "wilderness" experience is hiking Camelback. And with that being the case, the word "wilderness" is not in most people's vocabulary. It was a lot easier for the "journalist" to come up with the word "rural" than "wilderness", no matter how incorrect or inaccurate the word is.
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mttgilbert
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Re: Hikers lost and found in the Supes

Post by mttgilbert » Feb 12 2008 6:48 pm

Matt I think your on to it.

I just wanted to throw this out there; The media may be misusing "rural" in place of "wilderness", they may also be misusing "hiker" in place of "people who get out of their cars occasionally". Either way, nonot is definitely on to something, I just think they probably weren't actually out "hiking" (more misinterpretation by our liberal -or conservative?!?- media)... Any way you cut it, we probably just lost three more advocates for wilderness - I mean- "rural" areas.
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te_wa
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Re: Hikers lost and found in the Supes

Post by te_wa » Feb 12 2008 7:51 pm

but Matt, why would a sane person even leave their house, when they have a television?
:D

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mttgilbert
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Re: Hikers lost and found in the Supes

Post by mttgilbert » Feb 12 2008 10:00 pm

Thats an interesting question. The answer of course is long, complicated, and convoluted. Long story short, they left the house because (now, wait for it, this is good) the Television told them to! I know, I know, bear with me; in an attempt to better their ratings, the TV news programs amped up their coverage of the impending wild-flower season. Why? you ask. Again, its complicated. Why would the TV stations try to lead people away from their quality info-tainment? It's actually about to come full circle... If the unwary couch dweller wanders outside his (or her) natural habitat they are bound to become severely mis-located (that is to say, "lost"). This ensures the Networks' ability to bring sensational coverage of "dramatic rescues" of "hikers" in "rural areas". Hence bringing more people back to the (gasp) Television.


I know; your impressed.


(see what you get for asking a rhetorical question? :D )





Wait... Which Matt were you asking?
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te_wa
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Re: Hikers lost and found in the Supes

Post by te_wa » Feb 12 2008 10:13 pm

:bigth: touche
:D

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Hoffmaster
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Re: Hikers lost and found in the Supes

Post by Hoffmaster » Feb 12 2008 11:09 pm

matt gilbert wrote:Wait... Which Matt were you asking?
I think it was you, but I have a slightly different take on this.

I think the TV stations have a secret deal with pharmaceutical companies that make allergy medicine. Why else would you encourage the masses to go out and enjoy the wildflowers? People getting lost in the process is just a "happy accident" that the media is all too happy to capitalize on.
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Re: Hikers lost and found in the Supes

Post by Dschur » Mar 11 2013 10:48 am

APACHE JUNCTION, Ariz. -- Search teams from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office have found three overdue hikers who spent the night in the Superstition Mountains.

The hikers, two men and a woman, all in their 50s, were supposed to return at 5 p.m. Sunday, but nobody had heard from them. Family members reported them missing at about 10 p.m.

Searchers launched their operation from the First Water Trailhead, which is where the trio planned to hike. Their SUV was found in the parking area at the base of the trail.

The three hikers were found safe at about 7:45 a.m., nearly 18 hours after they were originally due.

The trio talked to the pilot of the MCSO chopper, apparently telling him that they wanted to hike out on their own. The pilot pointed them in the right direction.

Aerial video from the Fort McDowell Casino News Chopper showed the three hikers walking on the trail. They all appeared to be just fine.

According to MCSO spokesman Brandon Jones, the three are experienced hikers, but it was not clear if they had the necessary gear for an overnight stay. The overnight temperature dropped into the low 40s in the Superstition Mountains, perhaps even the high 30s in some areas.

"They are out-of-state, from Michigan," Jones said. "They've never hiked this area. Being experienced hikers, hopefully they are used to conditions like this."

The group reportedly had plenty of water and food with them and had made sure that somebody knew their plans.

It's not uncommon for hikers, many of them treasure-hunters, to get lost in the Superstition Mountains, which is home to Lost Dutchman State Park and the famous Lost Dutchman's Mine.

According to Jones, it happens when hikers leave the marked trails.

First Water Trail is located just north of Apache Junction and is one of the easiest access points to the Superstition Wilderness Area, which is part of the Tonto National Forest.

The Superstition Mountains are about 50 minutes east of Phoenix near Apache Junction.
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Re: Hikers lost and found in the Supes

Post by Tough_Boots » Mar 11 2013 12:54 pm

'tis the season...
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Re: Hikers lost and found in the Supes

Post by kingsnake » Mar 11 2013 1:44 pm

I'm surprised they give them the option of "hiking out on their own" when someone has just proven their inability to do exactly that. :oplz:
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