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First Water TH to Canyon Lake
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mini location map2013-01-17
15 by photographer avatarAZLumberjack
photographer avatar
 
First Water TH to Canyon LakePhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 17 2013
AZLumberjack
Hiking9.00 Miles 1,589 AEG
Hiking9.00 Miles   5 Hrs      2.25 mph
1,589 ft AEG   1 Hour    Break
 no routes
Partners none no partners
With the sudden chill behind us now, I wanted to visit the Indian Paint Mines and this seemed like the right time to do it. There were only a couple of cars at the First Water TH as I signed in and hit the trail to Garden Valley.

It's always a pleasure to have the trails all to yourself, the quiet is so noticeable you can hear the birds singing and the wind rustling the bushes. By the time I got into Garden Valley, the wind had picked up enough to create a haze in the air and Weavers Needle was becoming only a dark silhouette in the distance.

I made the turn at the tank and began the long down-hill trek to Boulder Creek, muttering to myself about all the loose rocks along the trail. As I descended the trail, I occasionally stopped to look back knowing that before long I would be heading back up :? BTW; I measured the distance from the Garden Valley Tank to the trail signs at Boulder Creek with the GPS at 1.5 miles :o

Down at Boulder Creek, I met my first two hikers who had preceded me by only a couple of minutes on the trail and it turns out that we were all heading for the same place (rats). It was a relief to finally get on a level trail without stumbling over all the loose rocks that I had just encountered.

Soon I was at the old Paint Mine and marveling at the color of the exposed rock surfaces facing me. I wandered the narrow crevices of the centuries old mine and imagined the Indians from another time, chipping away at the stone. The stone that would be ground up and mixed with water and plant juices to make a paint to decorate their unique pottery.

But along with the discovery, comes more unanswered questions, like why are there stone walls up there? And who put in a building foundation? Why all the drill holes? Someone had obviously been mining these rocks, but for what use? There's no tailings below the mine so had all the rock been hauled out? Later research only briefly mentions the Indian Paint Mine http://mines.az.gov/DigitalLibrary/usbm ... 136-82.pdf

All these questions kept recirculating as I headed back towards the Second Water Trail and the dreaded 1.5 mile hike back up to Garden Valley. I met a few more hikers along the way and the winds had diminished enough to remove layers as I trudged uphill.

I arrived back at the parking lot shortly past noon and stowed my hiking gear as I enjoyed a cool brew and some salted-in-the-shell peanuts. As I drove back along the First Water road, the questions returned so I made it a point to stop in at the Blueberry Mine Store and ask Luis what he knew about the mine. As it turns out, Luis knew very little about the mining activity that went on back there. OK Kollenborn, you're next.

I guess that's what hiking the Superstitions is all about, the beauty then the history, then the questions :D

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Boulder Creek at #103 / #236 Jct Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Water is continuously flowing but slight.

_____________________
On every trip into the Superstitions, I find another Gold Mine. Today the mine was filled with Memories. I can not wait for the next trip.
HAZ Member
AZLumberjack's
378 Photosets

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