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Boulder Canyon Loop from First Water TH
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mini location map2012-12-29
61 by photographer avatartibber
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Boulder Canyon Loop from First Water THPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 29 2012
tibber
Hiking11.30 Miles 1,427 AEG
Hiking11.30 Miles   7 Hrs   15 Mns   2.26 mph
1,427 ft AEG   2 Hrs   15 Mns Break
 
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Wanted to get back out in the Supes so I posted on FB and HAZ. Jack and Shawn joined me (Tracy had a death in the family so couldn't come along). We met at the TH around 8:15 and headed out in the cold of the morning.
Keeping with my theme of doing hikes in the reverse of the way I had previously done them, we went via the Dutchman first. We clipped along at a pretty good pace until we encountered water when I would have to stop and admire :) and maybe take a picture or two. I was also pleasantly surprised to see frost on the ground and on some of the foilage.

Before you knew it, we got to the interesection with Boulder Canyon and now the real fun would start. We were rewarded with water in the creek in many areas. In some cases a lot of water and not so much in others. It was fun to hear it running sometimes loudly sometimes not.
We spent a moment at the intersection with Needles Canyon as quite a bit of water was running in from there. Our next stop would be at the big rock around noon. It was a great spot to enjoy the views http://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=306712 and listen to the water as it ambled by. It was so lovely here and tempting to just want to hang out and take a nap but we headed out.
    2 quick "Shawn" notes here :wrt: :
    Having Shawn along is like having a human GPS as there are a couple areas where it was slightly debatable as to where to go but Shawn "GPS" Redfield kept us on the right track. I swear he had the route engrained in his brain, ha!
    I would let the boys cross first and then choose which route to follow. I would see Shawn one foot it across the entire creek in like a second :o . He was so smooth too (I filmed it). Meanwhile, Jack and I would have to two-foot it and sometimes hesitate before picking the next rock to step on.
But I digress:
A little over a mile later we were at the intersection with Second Water where we had the pleasure of watching Sentimental Journey fly by. I got some pictures framing her between some saguaros.
And then it was up that hill :sweat: where we encountered several horseback riders. I was surprised at how sweaty the horses were. We encountered 4 other people on this part of the trail and that was pretty much it for the day. On the way up the hill Jack was tempting us with his short cut to First Water Ranch. I had never been (in spite of hiking out here quite a lot) so it didn't take much persuasion.

At the top of Second Water we headed out cross country through a chain cholla forest. This was not the easiest of negotiations and I thot after all 3 of us came out of a cholla attack that maybe Shawn wouldn't think the catclaw was so bad :lol: .

    A quick Jack note here:
    Apparently he is fearless when going thru a chain cholla forest as this one section was extremely narrow... but even worse is Shawn and I followed him thru knowing we were going to suffer the consequences
    ](*,) .


We crossed the Garden Valley Trail and headed toward the rock formations. Jack showed us some of the neat area along these rocks where we also enjoyed sweeping views back up Second Water, toward Weavers Needle and ultimately the Superstition Ridgeline.

We rounded a corner to head thru the slot and there it was: The Arch. I had seen many pics of this arch on HAZ and though I had a sense of where it was, I would never have guessed. So that was a real treat :DANCE: . The weather had turn slightly cloudy so there was a bit of a chill in the air as we made our way down the hill toward the ranch that we could see in the distance.

This is really a special area around the ranch and I can see where it draws people in to want to explore more. I was quite happy to finally put my boots on the ranch's ground. What a place this must have been! Alas there was one more hill to hike to get us back toward the TH where we went cross country once again to hit the road just before the TH.

It really was a marvelous day for a hike and I had great company. I smiled and laughed a lot (as you will hear in the video). Thanks so much for keeping me company as I really prefer that on the longer hikes. Last, congratulations to Ranger Jack who has decided to join the ranks of volunteer ranger. I am sure your services will be much appreciated.

Which reminds me of a couple things:
The boys picked up trash along the way, I only wanted to go for the lighter stuff so I offered to pick up plastic bottles but there were none.
Second, the Boulder Trail really could use some clipping.


Video 1 from the Dutchman to/through Boulder Canyon and up Second Water:
http://youtu.be/-apl-eeQaNA?hd=1
Video 2 from the top of Second Water to the Ranch (incl going thru the cholla forest): http://youtu.be/E3w7-hEeJg0?hd=1
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For me, sometimes it's just as much about the journey as the destination.
Oh, and once in awhile, don't forget to look back at the trail you've traveled.
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