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Battleship Mountain - Superstitions
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mini location map2012-03-16
56 by photographer avataroutdoor_lover
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Battleship Mountain - SuperstitionsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 16 2012
outdoor_lover
Hiking11.40 Miles 2,100 AEG
Hiking11.40 Miles   11 Hrs   30 Mns   1.30 mph
2,100 ft AEG   2 Hrs   45 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 no routes
Partners none no partners
Decided almost first thing in the morning, that this was going to be a slow hike. Wasn't feeling well, (I think the sandwich from the hike the day before was bad), and within a mile, the left knee made me regret doing so much hiking the day before, as well. Not that I was in a hurry anyway, so I decided to just take my time and really enjoy being out here at all... :) Took several "breaks" on this one, including a long lunch break with an incredible view. :)

Decided with the Water situation being so bad that I would really pay close attention to conditions and also do some photographic documentation, just in case anyone was interested in that area, although the rain that we get this weekend should change conditions. :pray:

So I stopped along Second Water Trail a couple of times, to photo and document water. Also started taking ibuprofen at that point. :( Got down to Boulder Canyon and started the rock hopping process south towards the bow of that looming massive Ship. Especially since I was solo and without GPS, I tried to really research this one and take as much info as I could with me. I even printed out a couple of Fritzki's photos that he had been so thorough about attaching to his Description and plotting the route on. I made an extra effort to keep an eye on the topo as I was going along so that I didn't miss the exit out of Boulder Canyon. I'm thinking that I still missed it and ended up at the Saddle. Found several Cairns in the creek where I knew was going to be the last place I could possibly turn, and found a small Trail heading up the hillside. The Trail was distinct enough and marked well enough with Cairns that it was easy to follow and I got up the hill in really good time. Continued to follow it, but it seemed to bypass where I wanted to go, so I got off and made my way about 500 ft due North to the rocky area immediately in front of the Bow of the Ship.

It was getting warm and I wanted to rest before actually tackling the Ship itself, so I found the large alcove and settled in for a bit and pretty much ate lunch. It was awesome. Nice, shady, and cool with killer views! I almost didn't want to get up and leave. :D

But time is definitely not on my side at this point, so finally after checking the Route and Description again, I start the climb/scramble/bouldering process. I was actually very surprised at how easy the first obstacle was. Maybe I've been doing this type of stuff long enough now that it's not so hard, I don't know, but before I knew it, I was already up on the first level. Very Cool!!! :y:

The only mistake I really made that cost me a lot of time, was that I should have made some notes off some of the Triplogs I read. The Description states that you pretty much find your way with your own Route Finding, so I spent most of the time on the Ascent of the Ship doing just that. There were a few Cairns along the way to help, but it didn't occur to me that if I really paid attention and started actually looking for them, that they would pretty much spell out the whole Route. :doh: No big deal really, I ended up probably doing alot more Bouldering and Climbing than I needed to, but I was having a blast with it, so who cares? The only thing it really cost me was time and probably too much energy.

I had two "tiers" left to go, when 2 hikers appeared behind me. I stopped and talked to them for a few minutes, found out that they, Mike and Shane, had never been up here either. So we went Route searching together. Came to the narrow area before the last "tier" and Peak. Got across that without practicing any "Base Jumping" moves and started to try to find a way around to get up that last big hunk of rock. Shane decided he was too bushed to go on, so Mike and I kept going and Shane went to go find some shade and wait. (It was pretty warm today). While looking for the Route up, we were kind of on a steep grade and I was telling Mike to be careful, as there was a lot of loose scree, and then down I went! :lol: It wouldn't have been bad, but I panicked for a moment because I was on my stomach, feet downhill and couldn't find a way to stop the slide... :o Somehow my foot hit a small plant and I found another small plant to put the other foot on and managed to stop sliding and get up. Ok, I now have enough adrenalin to carry me the rest of the day. :sweat:

Lo and behold, we found a Cairned Route along the side that took us to the back of the Peak and then up and it was actually easy! Made it! :y: It wasn't too hard to see the Pink Ammo box and I got my name in the register. Since I don't do cigars, I had a celebratory oxygen stick, soaked up some monster views, did the pic thing and decided that I didn't have the time and the energy to explore the Northern Plateau of the Ship. Have to leave something for next time, right???? And there will be a next time!!! That was way too much fun to not do it again....

Now the three of us have decided that is was very possible that the whole Route was Cairned, so we really looked for them on the way down. It turned out that it was beautifully marked all the way down and I made it down in a third of the time, with alot less scrambling and climbing.

Would like to say that the rest of the Hike was uneventful, but, no. :sweat: We had just scrambled down the first tier when Shane, who was in the lead, stopped dead in his tracks and yelled "snake". We caught up to him and could hear the angry rattle. Luckily, it was off the "Trail" about 15 feet. It was a small Western Diamondback and I just got a glimpse of the tail before it disappeared into a hole under a rock. I walked around to try to get a pic, but although I could still "hear" him, never saw him again.

I parted ways with the guys at this point, and decided that the Route I had come up, was not the GPS Route, so I went straight down the hill. Bushwacked down and found out I was pretty much lined up with a drainage that went down to Boulder and the vegetation wasn't too bad. There was no path or Trail, but after scrambing down a small waterfall area at the bottom, I was down. :) Probably took just about as long to get down that way as it would have to go the way I came, but now I have two options for next time.... :)

Took a long break at the bottom, had a headache and was not feeling well, so rested, medicated, drank and then got up and started the return trip. It was getting into later afternoon, so thankfully Boulder Canyon for the most part was now in the shade. As soon as I turned the corner onto 2nd Water though, I was looking directly into the sun again, sigh....

I was literally "plodding" up the hill out of Boulder and suddenly halfway up, I hear a very familiar rattle! The Trail is pretty narrow in this area without much "shoulder" even, with the drainage to my left. I froze, but couldn't see him for what seemed like minutes, although it was probably only a few seconds. He was off the Trail, but only by about a foot or less, and he was so well camoflauged that I literally could not see him until he moved. He was about 10 feet in front of me, up trail. When I finally saw him move, he was in a high, defensive, coiled position, and looked pissed. :o I stood my ground, and he uncoiled and slithered across the Trail and started crawling under a tree to hide. He was pretty good sized and beautiful. I got out the camera, put it on mega zoom, :lol: and proceeded to seek him out for some pics. I managed to get a couple that weren't too blurry. Have to say though, this could have been bad. If I had been going at some speed on this Trail, one of two things could have happened. If I had been really fast, I might have "blown" by him before either one of us was aware of the other, or, I would have been going just fast enough to where I didn't have enough space and he hadn't had enough time for a warning and he'd have pegged me just out of reaction. I'd have never seen him without the rattle warning....

So after "hoping" that I got at least one good pic of him, I plodded on, through the rocky part and made it to Garden Valley. This is a nice area, but I absolutely welcomed that part of the Trail today. It was heaven! No rocks, no uphill, just a nice, soft, wide open, level, dirt path that really quieted my now Train Wrecked body. I was really starting to seriously hurt. The rest of the way was without incident or adventure, and I actually somehow made it back to the car before dark... :)

Got home, feeling the worst I have ever felt after a Hike, showered, ate, and pretty much went unconcious. Drank 5 liters of fluid on this trip and could have had more. I don't think this Trip was the culprit so much. I just tried to do too much in two days. I need to reassess what I do the day before a big one like this....But I still enjoyed it all immensely. I just paid a heavier than normal price, that's all. More recovery time than normal.... :D

The entire Photoset is now also posted. Enjoy!
Fauna
Fauna
Gila Woodpecker
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Second Water Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Found what could possibly be another Spring about a 1/2 mile up the Trail from this Spring, along the Drainage of Second Water Trail. See Picture 5. Usually this Drainage has at least a few pools in it, but I only saw one this time and I wouldn't even attempt to use it. See Picture 7.

Second Water Spring is still flowing, but alot less than a month ago. Still a good source for water though. See Pics 9 and 10.

Further downtrail from Second Water Spring, there is still water flowing across the Trail, see Pic 11 and at the Campsite on the Creekside of the Trail, there is still nice pools of Water. See pics 12 and 13, but the Water disappears pretty quickly after that.

There is now very very little water left and none flowing in Boulder Canyon. Most of the nice pools from a month or so ago are completely dry.
_____________________
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty & well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming, "Wow What a Ride!"
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