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Canyon Lake to First Water, AZ
mini location map2014-01-12
26 by photographer avatartibber
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Canyon Lake to First Water, AZ 
Canyon Lake to First Water, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 12 2014
Hiking8.20 Miles 1,840 AEG
Hiking8.20 Miles   6 Hrs   33 Mns   2.05 mph
1,840 ft AEG   2 Hrs   33 Mns Break
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Met at Superstition Museum parking lot and then formulated the shuttle plan. We drove to First Water and of course, said hello to Ranger Jack before leaving 3 vehicles and taking two to Canyon Lake TH. One vehicle had to go back to First Water so we left the TH a little later than planned but the temp was perfect for tackling that first hill.

Suzaz was on a rehabilitation hike with her new shoe for her broken down foot. She handled the day well and her foot held up too except the last mile was a little tough but she persevered. Personally I think the couple sips of butterscotch schnapps at lunch time helped ;) . About 3/4 the way up the hill we stopped for the group portrait since there were 7 of us... of course this took a little time to get it just right with the lake in the background and such.

Next it was down around and over to the rocky crag hills but not before a stop in the shade to wait for the stragglers. We had a nice view and we wanted to take it easy on Susan's foot's maiden voyage. We didn't spend too much at the craggy rock hill before heading on down toward LaBarge Creek. The view was right into the sun so not the best for photos today.

Once again toward the bottom we pulled over to wait in the shade for the stragglers, and rested Susan's foot for our next push over to Indian Paint Mine for lunch. At the campsite that you pass thru before heading up the little saddle, we waited to make sure the others wouldn't miss this turn. While there a couple gents from back east had us take their picture with what they originally thot was Battleship in the background. Well it was Geronimo Head in the background; nonetheless, they were duly impressed with this mountain no matter its name.

Come to find out one of the guys who was directing me where to take the shot was a 40 year photographer; that splains it! Well then the others joined us (these guys thot they were just some strangers when it was two more of our group) and so now they took our picture and even joined in the picture :) . It was quite the ordeal. They were from Boston and RI, very heavy accents too. Well the 40 year photographer was complaining about Ambika's camera setting so she reset it for him and I politely said that Ambika was with Arizona Highways Photo Workshops so we all had a bit of a chuckle. Anyway, it turned into a rather memorable stop.

Finally it was lunchtime at the Paint Mine before crossing Boulder Creek that actually had quite a bit of water in it as did the crossing over to Second Water Trail junction. And now, it was time to head up and up Second Water Hill. A few of us took off and only rested for a few minutes before finishing it off (and I got a chance to take a couple of photos of the beautifully lit grass and some rather large cactus in the drainage/canyon).

At the top of the hill we waited for the others to make their way up. Ambika and I explored over to the east looking for the trail :-k toward Cholla Tank that we see on our map. (Really don't see much of a trail here though on the satellite, I can see it once you cross the drainage area on the north.) From here it's on the rocky trail you go between the mesas. I do like this section other than having to stop if you want to look up at the surroundings.

Past the Dirt Tank a ways, I was looking for those big cholla trees and found one just off to the north of the trail. I drug my cousin over with me so I could get her in the picture for scale. We also checked out this real big and flat camping area off to the south of the trail a little further.

We all made pretty good time from here back to the TH though I did notice once you cross the tributary that goes into First Water that it looks like it might be an interesting tributary to explore down stream. We could see pools of water down in the tributary as we climbed the last hill. As we got within 1/3 mile of the TH we encountered quite a few people coming down. I suspect many of these folks think if they hike down this way they'll get a better view of Weavers Needle not realizing they'll need to hike another mile 1/2-3/4 before they'll get to see the Needle again.

At the TH we were surprised to see Ranger Jack still there. He usually only works until 2 and I think it was around 4 when we arrived. Anyway, I went and got the Tibber snacks and some pumpkin spice beer and left over crantinis to enjoy before we all parted ways. Another great day in the Superstitions:
    my cousin's 3rd hike here and 3 different areas she's seen so far (now she just needs to see the Needle from the east), Susan's successful foray back out on the trail, and getting to meet another hiker (she normally is a climber but wants to get into hiking more). You can never have enough hiker acquaintances.

Shock of all shocks :o , I took very few photos and already have them edited and ready to go; already posted them on FB too. No videos, the light just wasn't good. However, I do have video of this hike from 2011.
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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