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Black Mesa Loop - Superstition Mtns
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23 by photographer avatarrayhuston
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Black Mesa Loop - Superstition MtnsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 24 2017
rayhuston
Hiking11.95 Miles 1,718 AEG
Hiking11.95 Miles   5 Hrs   23 Mns   2.41 mph
1,718 ft AEG      25 Mns Break
 
1st trip
The aim was to burn some Thanksgiving feast calories while having some fun. The Black Mesa Loop would do just fine today. I added a loop around Palomino Mtn so I could stop for a visit at Aylor's Caballo Camp and then complete the only portion of Dutchman that I haven't been on, a short segment between the Bull Pass and Peralta trails.

I won't go into much detail about the big loop, other than to say it's dry. No water anywhere. At the top of Black Mesa, I headed west towards the ridge to check out the views. You have to pick your way through a lot of prickly stuff to get there and back, but the views are splendid.

Finished the Black Mesa trail and hooked up with the Dutchman/Grand Enchantment trail for the 10 minute walk to Aylor's camp. Hard to imagine living there for two decades, but you can't beat the location. Tall cliffs on either side, a great view of Weaver's Needle to the south and a creek right in front of you.

I continued on up Dutchman, then took the Peralta trail to the top of the switchbacks where I left the trail to follow an old route I saw in Carlson's book. It was referred to in the book as the Quarter Circle U Ranch trail. I've also seen it referred to as a retired segment of the Peralta trail. Maybe the names are synonymous.

The route starts at the saddle above the last switchback on the Peralta trail. It then heads west down into the canyon and bends north to parallel Palomino Mtn. The book says the trail was washed out in parts, but cairned elsewhere. I found the washed out section near the saddle. It was also thick with brush. I stayed to the right and aimed for a rock formation at the bottom of the canyon that I needed to go around (south of) before turning north.

I found the cairned route pretty quickly. When I was researching the hike, I could see segments of the trail on Google Earth and pinned my track accordingly. That helped acquire the route. It was still hard to follow but the cairns would occasionally appear again and I continued on. I joined up with Dutchman right where I was supposed to.

I stopped there to have lunch and apply some alcohol swabs to my legs. I should have brought long pants for the off trail stuff. From there until the end of the hike, I passed a dozen or so hikers out enjoying the beautiful weather.

A very enjoyable hike on a gorgeous day. Hopefully I left enough in the legs to get another hike in on Sunday.
Named place
Named place
Aylor's Arch Yellow Peak
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