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Battleship Mountain - Superstitions
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mini location map2016-11-26
6 by photographer avatarmt98dew
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Battleship Mountain - SuperstitionsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 26 2016
Hiking15.03 Miles 2,100 AEG
Hiking15.03 Miles   7 Hrs   50 Mns   1.92 mph
2,100 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Trying to increase my knowledge of the lay of the land I had chosen Battleship as my next destination in the Superstitions. Got to First Water TH and on the trail around 6:30. It was overcast (all day) and a waning moon but there was still enough light with the approach of morning that a headlight was not necessary. I took Second Water Trail to Boulder Canyon, passing by a camp at the Black Mesa juncture that was just stirring. (Is this area considered to be Hidden Valley, Garden Valley, both or neither? Trying to get a name for a local, and then retain it, is an ongoing battle for me). At the Boulder Canyon juncture I encountered 4 campers who were just heading out. As I went along the Boulder trail, I kept finding myself drawn to the slopes, wanting to start my ascent then and there. I hadn't downloaded the route, but I remembered the write up said that the point of ascent started from the southern slope. So refrained, looking for that southern slope and a cairn to indicate the "trail." When I started my ascent I was 4.89 miles into the hike. (FYI. There appear to be several cairn routes that tackle the slope up to the cave. The route I took up - was lesser used than the one I took down, but actually connects to the Boulder Canyon Trail while the trail is on the east side of the wash. The trail I came down was much better used, but it enters directly into the wash. The Boulder Canyon Trail was on the west side of the wash obscured by growth). The hike up to the cave was uneventful and, in its own way, enjoyable. As I always like the challenge of trying to stay on "trail."

After the cave is where some would say the fun starts. For me, it was a questioning of my sanity. I actually spun my wheels for a short time above the cave trying to figure out where the "trail" was that led to the mesa. Finally opted, for what I am sure is the standard route, for a straight climb. The views from the top of this mesa are awesome! Got my first views of what I think is La Barge Canyon. Beautiful! Great views of what I think is Geronimo Head to the east (is that the correct name?) and a unique version of Thanksgiving Pie. I did something that in hindsight was rather foolish of me. I admired the views and the DROPS. I have a fear of heights and I now was very much aware of how high I was and how sudden the drop offs were. This played on my mind for the rest of the hike, especially on rocky "spine". I am not ashamed to admit that I butt scooted along this part. (FYI. This "spine" is about .25 miles from where you breach the top of the mesa. There is a cairn to the left of the "spine" that will drop you down to a trail below the spine and avoid the exposure. I unfortunately did not discover this until my return trip). My heart was still beating triple time 5 minutes after making my way across. There were still 3-4 more climbs with some knee rattling views. I found myself questioning on several occasions how much I really wanted to do this. I soldiered on, because I really wanted to sign the register....and I did. :D I sat down (rather shakily) to read the register and give myself time to compose myself. One recent entry had signed "WAAHOO"ed for making it to the top. I thought that was a bit premature because you still have to get down. I admired the views, took some pictures, but knowing what I had to face on my hike down I did minimal edge walking. I wanted, needed, to get the vision of heights driven from my mind. I have never focused so hard on my feet and the ground in front of me as I did on that return trip. In its way, it is unfortunate because I'm sure I missed out on some astounding views. But I can honestly say that the decent was easier than the climb. And it helped immensely that I circumvented the "spine". It was only when I made it back to the cave that I let loose with a "WAAHOO!" :y: I felt exhilarated! Ironically, about 200 yards from the cave, as I was descending the 45 degree slope, I stepped on a large boulder that rolled out from under me. I went down HARD. Go figure. Down, but not out, I continued on my planned hike. Going south on the Boilder Canyon Trail doing some minor trimming of catsclaw and other thorny plants along the way. I then took the Lost Dutchman back to the TH. it was only when I got on the Dutchman that I started encountering people again...over 20 (2 horsemen) between the juncture and the TH. Wildlife has been disappointingly minimal with my last two visits to the Superstitions. Even the birds seem nonexistent.
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