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8 triplogs
Nov 20 2006
Brittany
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 Guides 2
 Photos 6
 Triplogs 8

female
 Joined Mar 01 2004
 Colorado Springs
Bill Hall TrailNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 20 2006
Brittany
Hiking
Hiking
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I did the Bill Hall trail as part of a loop hike to Thunder River, Tapeats Creek, and up Deer Creek. We did the loop in four days, which was shorter than anyone we ran into on the hike. It was our first hike in the primitive zone of the GC, and was a good experience. There are three major elevation changes. The first is, of course, the Bill Hall trail on the way down to the Esplanade. The next major elevation chuange is down the Red Wall to Surprise Valley (which is actually an abandoned river channel). The third change is getting down to either Tapeats or Deer Creek.

I would certainly recommend doing Thunder River and Tapeats first, since Thunder River gives you a much gentler (but not too gentle) descent than Deer Creek.

It was a good trip. Most of the other hikers had big fishing plans. We didn't bring any gear, but I don't really have any regrets about that one.

All in all, a good hike. It was tough on the knees, and I certainly wouldn't recommend the lower loop (Tapeats to Deer Creek) for anyone with a fear of heights.
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Nov 19 2006
Brittany
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 Guides 2
 Photos 6
 Triplogs 8

female
 Joined Mar 01 2004
 Colorado Springs
Maverick Camp via 192BGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 19 2006
Brittany
Hiking5.80 Miles 1,260 AEG
Hiking5.80 Miles3 Days         
1,260 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I did this hike on a Sunday in November in 87 degree weather. It was beautiful and there was plenty of shade in the canyon. I only had time for the 6 miles, and didn't get a chance to explore. I really wish I had the time to get deeper into the canyon, because the camp was just past the point that the canyon really started to show its colors.

I tried to do some brief research regarding Maverick Camp, but could not find anything. If anybody has information, please email me. I was, however, able to find out that Millsite Canyon has a vein of silver in it.

Overall, it was a pleasant hike. We didn't see anybody out there until we were about .5 miles away from the car.
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Nov 18 2006
Brittany
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 Guides 2
 Photos 6
 Triplogs 8

female
 Joined Mar 01 2004
 Colorado Springs
Black Mesa Loop - Superstition MtnsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 18 2006
Brittany
Hiking9.00 Miles 1,125 AEG
Hiking9.00 Miles   3 Hrs   20 Mns   2.70 mph
1,125 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I had been meaning to do this hike fo a while, but I have spent so much time on overnights, I continued to overlook the western superstitions. I finally checked it off my list and it was a very enjoyable hike. I only saw one group of hikers on the Black Mesa trail, which is pretty good for a Saturday in November. This certainly wasn't a destination hike, but it was enjoyable anyway.
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Jan 29 2006
Brittany
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 Guides 2
 Photos 6
 Triplogs 8

female
 Joined Mar 01 2004
 Colorado Springs
Garden Valley LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 29 2006
Brittany
Hiking5.40 Miles 450 AEG
Hiking5.40 Miles   2 Hrs   30 Mns   2.16 mph
450 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I hit the trail around 11:00. At first, I was thinking that I had to find a dirt road from the parking lot separate from the First Water trailhead. The dirt road actually is the First Water trail. I headed out for desert valley. Unfortunately, I am pretty sure I did this hike at the exact wrong time of year. The highlights of the loop include the desert foliage and the creek. Well, doing this in a extremely dry winter took its toll on the beauty of the hike.

For the most part, I was alone on the trail. I did run into two groups of horses and a couple of backpackers. When I arrived at garden valley, I looked immediately for the prehistoric ruins. I started out looking on the wrong side of the trail - for some reason my orientation was off. The ruins are actually to the right and just look like a pile of rocks. There are supposed to be a lot of pieces of pottery lying around, but I didn't take much time to look.

I headed down to Hackberry Springs. The scenery was nice, but not as majestic as the scenery I am used to seeing in the Superstitions. When I arrived at what I thought was Hackberry Springs (I headed down to the creek too soon) I found a flat rock and stayed and read for about one hour. I was alone the entire time. Once I headed down the creek (I chose First Water creek back to the Second Water trail as my return route) I found the real Hackberry Springs. I walked up to it and there was actually water, but it had been stagnant for so long it smelled.

After less than a minute at the actual spring, I headed back down Firstwater Creek toward the trail. This creek often has water in it even during dry seasons, but this winter is so dry that there wasn't so much as a trickle until I arrived at the turnoff for the Windmill, and the turnoff for one of the optional returns back. Here I found a pool of water, but it resembled the color of what the mules leave behind in puddles on the GC trails.

I am a little disappointed I didn't do this hike as an out and back because of the views I would have had on the way back. I did enjoy some fun rocks by taking the creek route.

All in all it was a good hike, but at the time of year I did it, it was missing some of its appeal. I will be doing this one again in the spring.
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Jan 22 2006
Brittany
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 Guides 2
 Photos 6
 Triplogs 8

female
 Joined Mar 01 2004
 Colorado Springs
Cave Trail #233Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 22 2006
Brittany
Hiking5.00 Miles 1,400 AEG
Hiking5.00 Miles   2 Hrs   30 Mns   2.00 mph
1,400 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
The cave trail is an excellent return option for those of you who want to leave the over beaten path of Peralta trail. This was my second time on the Cave Trail. The first time was in the middle of the summer and I ended up dehydrated, delirious, and almost halucinating. I went through over six liters of water on that hike. So, I would recommend trying this for the first time in the winter.

We hit Peralta trail at about noon. I can't even count the number of times I have been on the Peralta trail, and it still stumps me every time. I love looking at all the different rocks up through the canyon, and of course, the breathtaking view of Weaver's Needle can't be beat. Whenever I take newbies on the trail I don't tell them about the needle, so they come around the corner at the saddle and see the big surprise.

One thing that was great about this trip is that I had actually read some history of the canyon and the Peralta family in "Arizona Legends and Lore." It is a great book - I had a very difficult time putting it down. It was fun going in this time with a little background.

We reached the saddle in a little under and hour, and stayed up there for about 30 minutes taking in the view. The saddle was pretty crowded that day, as we had expected. After re-energizing we took off for the Cave trail. The access to the cave trail is a little difficult to find. Head Northeast along the ridge. Stay high. Eventually you will get to the end of the high ridge (there is actually a lower portion of the ridge that continues out further with a lone tree on the edge of it - this is not where you need to be). Once you get there back track a minute or so and look for cairns and a trail heading down the Southeast side. It has taken me a few minutes to find this both times, but keep looking and it will be there.

There seemed to be a lot more Cairns than I remember and the trail was much easier to follow than before. It seems that its popularity is growing, and pretty soon the trail might lose its adventure. There are places where the trail branches off in different directions, we generally stay high.

The most challenging part of this trail for me is The Fortress, which is basically a huge steep rock you have to get down. People do technical climbs up it. I am not exactly the most coordinated person, so I always take extra care to get down. You will know you are there when you are on a very steep, fairly long all rock surface, and the only thing you see on either side of you is rock. Tip - as soon as you have a clear view of the trail beyond The Fortress, start looking up and to your right for a cairn. This seems to be the best way down, although you do have to do a short climb up the rock to get to the cairn.

After I made it past The Fortress I was much more relaxed knowing that it was over with. The first time I took the trail I wasn't exactly mentally prepared for it, which made getting down seem even more difficult.

There will be a couple more times when the trail drops down, and goes back up in a steep incline. Don't expect the trail to be all downhill, because you will be in for a surprise. Most of the elevation is lost in the last mile of the trail. You will know that you are about to head down when you find yourself in what I like to call "a wonderland of boulders." Just a tip, don't go too high or too low here, and you will find your easiest route. How is that for vagueness?

Before you know it, you will be on the descent. After descending for a couple minutes, the Bluff Springs trail will come into view. The Cave Trail dumps you off on this trail. I know its exciting, but there are a lot of loose rocks here, so try to pay a little bit of attention to the trail.

Once on the Bluff Springs trail you have about 3/4 mile left to go. You will get several tempting glimpses of the parking lot, but don't forget to stop and take in the view. The final descent is down what is referred to as "Cardiac Hill," and it will dump you right onto the Dutchman Trail and then right into the parking lot.

When all was said and done we traveled about 5.5 miles in 2 1/2 hours. This time, I only went through two liters of water, even though it was unseasonably warm on the hike.

So, definitely do the Cave Trail, but make sure you wear good supportive shoes, do it in the winter, and if you are not a very experienced hiker I would not do it alone.
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Jan 21 2006
Brittany
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 Guides 2
 Photos 6
 Triplogs 8

female
 Joined Mar 01 2004
 Colorado Springs
Pass Mountain RidgelinePhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 21 2006
Brittany
Hiking4.00 Miles 1,422 AEG
Hiking4.00 Miles
1,422 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This is one trail that surpassed my expectations. I started out this hike expecting to just knock another trail of my list. I already knew the trail would be very well maintained and very crowded. To my shock, there was a surprise waiting at the end.

The Wind Cave trail goes up to the tuff of Pass Mountain. Pass Mountain is distinguishable to pretty much anybody who lives in the East Valley, by its light stripe, or tuff layer. The trail starts in the Usery Mountain Recreation area, but most of it is on national forest land. You will have to pay a $5 fee to access the trail.

The trail begins winding its way through the desert up to the base of the mountain. After about ¾ mile, you hit switchbacks. I can't say that these were actually tough switchbacks, but I did get a little bit of a workout from them. There were a lot of people slowly making their way up, but I didn't run into anybody who resisted letting me pass. The switchbacks go through an area of huge boulders.

The last quarter mile up to the cave goes along the base of the tuff layer. Don't forget to look up, because there are some great views along here. When I arrived at the cave I found just what I had expected, nothing spectacular. The trail guide I was using said the trail was 1.61 miles to the cave, but my GPS said 1.33.

After sitting for a couple minutes I overheard a lady saying that the trail continued unmaintained for about a half mile. I figured that since I probably wouldn't be up there again, I might as well check it out. So I found the sign for the unmaintained trail (just above the sign for the wind cave) and continued on my way.

From this point, the trail was not as defined and there were very few people out. There are several trails that branch off on this section, but I tried to stay on the most traveled trail. The route I ended up taking took me out onto a ledge where I had an incredible view of the superstitions. I did not see a single person out there and enjoyed listening to the birds, the planes, and unfortunately, the Usery Shooting Range. Even with the disruption, I still have to say that the solitude on this ledge was great. I did not hear a single human voice during the 30+ minutes I was there.

On the way back I noticed a trail that looked more traveled than the one I was one. I decided to take this trail and ended up at the top of the mountain. Once again, it was beautiful up there. I did see several people there, so it wasn't quite as peaceful, but I was able to engage in a pleasant conversation with another hiker.

So, if you take this trail don't stop at the cave. Either go to the top, or to the ridge. The turn-off is right after climbing up what I can best describe as a rock chute. If you go right and follow the mountain down to its Southeast corner you will end up on the ridge, and if you go left you will follow the trail up to rest on a bunch of boulders at the top. I wish I had kept better track of this with my GPS, but I really wasn't expecting anything spectacular.

One thing I do need to mention is that there tend to be a lot of bees on this trail, so if you are allergic, I wouldn't recommend it.
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Jan 08 2006
Brittany
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 Guides 2
 Photos 6
 Triplogs 8

female
 Joined Mar 01 2004
 Colorado Springs
Bluff Spring Loop & Weaver's ViewPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 08 2006
Brittany
Hiking7.00 Miles 2,250 AEG
Hiking7.00 Miles   3 Hrs      2.33 mph
2,250 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I just did the Bluff Springs trail out and back. I must say that if you plan to do this during a dry season, make sure you enjoy the journey more than the destination when you hike. I arrived at the end to find a dry creek bed and nothing spectacular.

The journey, however, was spectacular. I found it to be a great alternative to the almost too popular Peralta Trail. The Bluff Springs trail branches off the Lost Dutchman trail just a minute or so after the trailhead. If you are like me and prefer a good quarter mile or so of even ground to warm your muscles up, don't count on it. The trail continues in a steady ascent for the first half mile.

This trail is more of a wilderness trek, so you will do a lot of ascent and descent each direction of the trail. The first couple miles will take you through a variety of saddles with some great scenery. This portion of the trail takes you into Barks Canyon, which will eventually lead you to the base of the Bluff Springs Mountain. Don't forget to take time to enjoy scenery.

You will cross through several creeks (all were dry when I did this hike). Just make sure to follow the cairns. In many spots you will stay in the creek bed for longer than expected before emerging out.

The last 1.5 miles is not quite as scenic as the first portion of the trek, but the terrain is more flat and the hike becomes a little more of a stroll. You will know you have hit the end when you reach the sign marking the junction with the Lost Dutchman trail.

Overall, I really enjoyed the hike. I only ran into a few other hikers and enjoyed quite a bit of solitude. The scenery was great, including a great view of Weaver's Needle on the way back.
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Jan 07 2006
Brittany
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 Guides 2
 Photos 6
 Triplogs 8

female
 Joined Mar 01 2004
 Colorado Springs
Hieroglyphics Trail #101Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 07 2006
Brittany
Hiking3.00 Miles 588 AEG
Hiking3.00 Miles   1 Hour      3.00 mph
588 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
My decision to do this hike was a last minute decision. I had heard and read all about it, but had not yet taken the time to venture off on the hike. When my hiking plans fell through due to a sick friend, I decided to finally discover this one on my own.

First of all, the directions look a little confusing, but once you get onto Baseline, all you really need to do is follow the pavement. There are also plenty of signs marking the way.

The trail starts out with a short ascent. This is probably the steepest part of this easy trail. You start a ways out in the wilderness, so unlike most of the Superstition hikes I have been on, you don't even hit the mountain until the very end of the trail.

The trail is wide with a lot of lose rock that proved to be somewhat of a nuisance. The trail was fairly steady and is a great beginning hike for anybody who is not a seasoned hiker. It is also a great way to share the Arizona beauty with out-of-towners.

The petroglyphs at the end are certainly interesting. Some of them are not genuine, which is unfortunate. I hiked up in the canyon a little further to get away from the crowd. Unfortunately, I did not have time to hike as far as I would have liked.

Overall, the trail was good, but not really for the serious hiker. There were a lot of people, and the trail lacked any sort of a challenge. This is a great beginning hike!
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average hiking speed 2.44 mph

WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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