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mini location map2020-11-27
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Dacite Super LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 27 2020
Hiking8.73 Miles 2,837 AEG
Hiking8.73 Miles   6 Hrs   41 Mns   1.52 mph
2,837 ft AEG      56 Mns Break
1st trip
It's the day after Thanksgiving and everyone will be out. I want something that will burn some of the mass quantities I consumed yesterday, but where to go to avoid the crowds? How about the Dacite Super Loop. Not many people hike that loop so that's what I settled on. I miss my weekly wanders with @CannondaleKid, so I decided to throw in some off trail stuff too.

I parked at the Lost Goldmine TH because no one ever parks there. Until today, that is. A dozen vehicles were there, most likely because there were several dozen parked near the Carney Springs/Wave Cave TH. I left the TH at 9:30ish on a cool morning under a clear blue sky with no breeze. It stayed that way throughout the hike.

At the 2.75 mile mark, I left the loop trail and headed NNW in search of a route to the Wicked Wall Spire. I hiked there once before using a different route, but thought I would try to find something a little easier. I mocked up a route to follow as a general guideline (it looked good on Google Earth), but I kept hitting dead ends. I thought I found something promising, but I ended up facing a down climb that I chose not to pursue. Maybe doable, but not alone. More planning required, or maybe I'll just leave it be. I like the other route well enough anyway.

An hour and 10 minutes later, I was back on the loop trail. I stopped for lunch and a break. Off trail stuff in that boulder strewn area is hard work. It was enjoyable, but I was famished.

Back at it after the break, I cruised up to the down climb above Fremont Saddle. Up to this point I hadn't encountered any burn areas. I knew the area above Fremont Saddle had burned and I was in it in short order. Where the fire burned hot, the soil was quite soft. I had to tread carefully to avoid slipping and falling. When rain comes, that area will see some erosion. Interestingly, the route down to the saddle was much easier to follow post fire. Where the grass was trampled low from boots on the ground, the fire skipped over it, making the trail quite prominent.

At the saddle, I did my best to avoid the mob, hustling over to the Cave Trail. I didn't see anyone until I reached the Geronimo Cave area. As I was approaching the cave area, I saw a group of eight or so high up on the north side of the mountain. I thought they might be trying to get to the top, but it looked like they were confused and trying to find a way down. I hung around until they were all down safely. Turns out they went around the east side of the caves, following cairns that others left. There are many new sections of the Cave Trail since the last time I was up there. Starting to look like South Mountain. I'm surprised more people don't get lost.

After leaving the Cave Trail, I worked my way down Bluff Springs looking for, and finding, a spur trail from Bluff Springs to Dutchman mentioned by @DayTripper when he last hiked the Cave Trail. Like Tom, I don't like that last section of Cardiac Hill on Bluff Springs. I'll gladly walk an extra mile to avoid that. Once on Dutchman, that last half mile is probably the best half mile on all of Dutchman.

I still had to get back to the Lost Goldmine TH, so I bushwhacked over to the Dons Camp. It beats walking down the dusty Peralta road with a steady procession of vehicles coming and going. I walked through the Dons Camp, past the gate and back to LG TH. Done.

I saw three Ridgeline hikers on the way to OWB saddle and the aforementioned group on the cave trail, but I had solitude the rest of the day. Wonderful hike. Best of all, I was starving and leftovers were beckoning. Time to eat!
Ray Bain de Soleil
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