|Hiking||18.60 Miles|| 11 Hrs 20 Mns ||2.11 mph|
|2,824 ft AEG|| 2 Hrs 32 Mns Break||45 LBS Pack|
|The night time temps looked good so I was a go (thx to those who contributed to keeping me updated as to the weather). I posted on both FB and HAZ about hiking in Sat AM by myself hoping someone would feel sorry for me and come along. Fortunately for me, Alex decided my timing would work for him as well so he contacted me Friday evening and we met at the TH around 9 (I left Union Hills & Cave Creek at 7, arrived at 8:50 or so with a stop at Fish Hill restroom). It was pretty windy on the drive in so I wasn't sure if that would deter me. As it turned out, the wind for the most part was more of a blessing as we only had to head into it twice. Tonto did have to squeeze into a parking spot and Alex had to park on an itty bitty pullout as the lot was FULL.
Timmy also joined us (Alex's dog). So we geared up and off we went. Fortunately Alex had done this trail before so I nominated him the tour director. As we initially headed up the trail, I have to tell you I was so impressed by the condition of the trail. I didn't think this type of trail even existed in the Supes; it was like a freeway and really was pretty nice, except for a couple very manageable rocky sections, until Windy Pass. The grade was very pleasant as well and of course the scenery was top notch .
The views all around us were just terrific; especially when you would get glimpses of the lake. And since Alex knew the lay of the land, I felt much more oriented which made my hike much more enjoyable. At about the 3 mile mark Alex informed me that this might be the longest 10 mile hike of my life. And that became quite evident as we went around each corner and could see the other corners we still had to go around including along the side of Castle Dome. A lot of times I think it's fun to see the trail ahead but this is ridiculous. So new hikers here beware when someone says "just around the corner" .
I fought with my pack for most of this part of our hike in. I just couldn't get the pack to quit laying on my shoulders so hard as my lats and rhomboids were already hurting which they shouldn't be until the next day about half way back. I should have fiddled with the stabilizer straps until I was more comfortable. I did have a heavy load, 42-45 I think, but that's almost standard for me when carrying warmth. Anyway, we finally arrived at Windy Pass with perfect temps and little to no wind. We had lunch here.
And then as they say, it's almost all down hill. On the way down toward Plow Saddle Alex saw a horse rock and then a people rock. From what I understand, that is his M.O. . Somewhere along here I looked over and saw the Superstition Ridgeline. That was cool. We did see a hunters camp and they told us quite a few people had come in yesterday. We kept on moving toward Plow Saddle and then the intersection with Frog Tanks, all of these trails I had read about and now I was here .
We encountered a young man on his way back to the TH who had carried down a backpack full of stuff for his dad who would be packing down later that week. He just wanted to make sure his dad had everything he needed including his beer . Now how awesome of a son is that! I can't remember that we encountered any others at this point altho one hiker passed us on his way in; he was quite fast. We did encounter 4 hikers down on the trail in the Valley who were supposedly headed to Reavis Falls which was about 6 miles just to the junction from where we were. Alex pointed this out to them as well as it was 2:30.
We continued around and down to the rocky road into Reavis Valley. By now my pack was not only irritating my back, it seemed to be getting heavier. It was fun yet scary to imagine traveling on this road to the ranch. And then you arrive at near creek level and the shade of the trees and the golden grasses and taller trees in the meadows begin to impress you as well.
We ended up walking past the campsite but that was fine cuz I got to see a little more of the homestead land. However, I was growing weary... well I wasn't but my back was so we made our way back. We went toward one campsite and the fellow we encountered said our group was down by the orchard. As we continued back on the trail I yelled out a couple times "Hike Arizona, It Rocks" in hopes of finding where our people were. One gal yelled up and said Hippy was down the way.
Not everyone was back from their day excursions. I quickly laid out my car visor, had a beer and then pumped some water before setting up camp and preparing dinner. I shared the meat/cheese tray and Wheat Thins I had brot with me. Soon the fire was roaring nicely and the late afternoon had turned to dark. I got on all my cold weather gear to enjoy the nite. Cookies were offered several times but Alex and I decided to imbibe in the butterscotch schnapps I had brot. I did try what I thot was a joke "fire" whiskey. Darn that's good stuff . I'll have to add it to my liquor cabinet (well the top of my fridge). I was surprised that after hoping I would last til hiker's bedtime that it was after 10 before I retired.
It rained lightly off and on during the nite but that kept the temp from dropping so it was indeed a nice evening at Reavis Ranch as I cat-napped my way until morning. It was a pleasant morning and after having breakfast, packing up, getting some water and help with my filter before saying goodbye to the remaining guests, we were on our way. The first couple miles I wasn't feeling too well (I think it was the eggs) so I wondered how on earth I would complete the next 8 miles without stopping way too many times. Fortunately after using nature's restroom, I felt much better and we continued on our way.(I know; TMI)
It was a beautiful day with puffy clouds in the sky so the landscape was even more beautiful on our way out. On the climb I could see very far in the distance not only the Ridgeline but other mountains as well. Alex thinks he identified the San Tans. Also the light was shining nicely on Weavers Needle. We made the climb to Windy Pass which was a little windier today but not enough to deter us from having our lunch. Timmy actually drank lots of water. Saturday, I don't know that he drank hardly anything. Plus he laid down which he didn't at all on Saturday. From here, once again, it was all downhill .
However, we stopped a few times to take in the expansive views as it was quite clear. I don't know if the broken clouds had anything to do with those views but they did make for real purdy pictures. I think we made one quick stop and the last stop at the rocky pass area before those last couple miles back to the TH. At the last stop, Timmy was down for the count too. I got a great photo of him with the Four Peaks way in the background and of the lenticular clouds in the distance.
The last two miles went on and on and on; just as always. But the trail was so lovely, the temperature so nice and the company so great. It was one of those times where you figured you were around the last couple corners but still had a few more corners to round before we finally spotted the vehicles; still safe and sound. Both of us were parked somewhat precariously, Alex more than me so we hoped all would be well. During the last couple miles you get some nice views of the Lake . We would still stop and look around quickly from time to time as the landscape was intriguing and picturesque.
The drive is really so beautiful from Apache Junction to the TH and back. It's almost surreal during certain sections. I did stop at Tortilla Flat for a delish orange creme soda and buttered popcorn in a bag.
Thx Alex for keeping me company and setting a good pace. It was perfect, other than my stupid backpack which hopefully I will have under control next time. I enjoyed meeting everyone and reacquainting with others. It's hard to believe this is only my 11th backpacking trip since 2009. Guess I still need more practice .
PS On this event, Thx to all of you who offered encouragement and tell me I am doing well. This backpacking/hiking thing still seems a struggle sometimes.
The video is delayed as I noticed on youtube there isn't much in the way of good video of this hike so I will be adding photos to the video and that takes a little more time. So stay tuned for that.
Update 2013 1111 - here are the videos
Video 1 hiking to the Ranch http://youtu.be/5CYdAMvWJZo
Video 2 still hiking to the Ranch and a little evening time http://youtu.be/p1YEpRnykBM
Video 3 hiking back from the Ranch: http://youtu.be/nwQG29r-WIU
||Autumn Foliage Observation Light
|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.