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Oct 16 2012
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 Guides 4
 Photos 542
 Triplogs 573

43 male
 Joined Oct 19 2010
 Mesa, AZ
Peak 2891 SaddlePhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 16 2012
Charger55Triplogs 573
Hiking4.00 Miles 438 AEG
Hiking4.00 Miles   2 Hrs      2.00 mph
438 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
A short create-a-loop in the Supes. I dropped down the back side of the saddle and connected with First Water Trail. Then I walked the road back to my car. There's not much happening out there today, but the weather really makes evening hikes nice this time of year.
_____________________
"I've driven across deserts, driven by the irony, that only being shackled to the road could ever I be free"
- Frank Turner "The Road"
Feb 26 2011
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 Guides 4
 Routes 17
 Photos 4,082
 Triplogs 489

81 male
 Joined Feb 17 2010
 Apache Junction,
Peak 2891 SaddlePhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 26 2011
AZLumberjackTriplogs 489
Hiking7.20 Miles 1 AEG
Hiking7.20 Miles   4 Hrs      1.80 mph
1 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Peak 2891 to Eastern Massacre Grounds

The weather predictions were pretty bad for today, but as I was having breakfast, I noticed that the temperature was in the 50's, the winds were light and there was a lot of overcast. That sounds like good hiking weather, so I had to put together a hiking destination and get my gear ready again.

I decided I would hike to the saddle by Peak 2891 (between the Massacre Grounds and First Water TH) and once there, I would make up my mind and set a destination.

So there I was in the saddle and looking to the North, then East and then South. From this vantage point, I could hike North to the First Water Trail Head, South to the Massacre Grounds or East through the mountains towards the Dutchman's trail and Parker Pass. I opted to go to the Southeast, which would put me about .5 miles East of the Massacre Grounds and in the foothills area that doesn't get much mention in the hiking circles.

Once you leave the saddle, there are no more trails, cairns, or signs to guide you through the area. Bushwhacking is the rule of the land unless you hike the creek beds or are lucky enough to find a wildlife trail through the thick brush. The mountain sides are steep, irregular and have lots of loose rocks that will give you fits. But because of limited public use, the area is free of plastic bottles, beer cans, shotgun shells and all of the other signs of human presence (I did find a deflated helium balloon left over from a New Year's party). I guess you could say it has a too rugged beauty and therefor sees little use.

As I continued to gain altitude, off to my right, I could see the familiar cliff wall that marks the Eastern approach to the Massacre Grounds. Ahead was a horseshoe shaped canyon with tall vertical walls along the backside up against the mountain. The floor of the canyon is very irregular and hard to get around so I worked my way up and out and then found a steep, narrow canyon with a large waterfall at the head.

I made a rather tricky ascent to the base of the waterfall. There is no trail so you have to pick the best route and do some backtracking if you reach a dead end. At the waterfall, I took some photos and a video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8QYcx6b6vI In the video, I mentioned that I was at a 4,000 foot level, but after checking the TOPO maps, I was at 3,200 feet. (It must have been the way my legs felt after working my way up the rocks). The coordinates of the falls are 33 deg. 26.962 by 111 deg. 26.217. A short distance further East, is another series of waterfalls but I think I'll save that hike for another day.

At this point, I started working my way back down the mountain heading towards some rock formations that appear at the end of the video clip. These rocks are very interesting as they suddenly pop up and rise from 50 to about 100 feet. All around the base of the formations is a forest of Prickly Pear cactus that grows so thick that you can't cut through them, you gotta go around them. From here, you can get a glimpse of the tip of the Weavers Needle off in the distance.

If you continued East from here, you would descend into O'Grady Canyon and then connect with the Dutchman Trail (104), but I was going to take another route back as I headed to the saddle again. I finished my hike back at my car and the GPS showed I had traveled just a little over 7 miles and I was out for almost 4 hours.

This was an interesting hike and I enjoyed it a lot, I cut it short because the sky was getting overcast and the wind was picking up and I didn't want to get trapped in a rainstorm. The hike was a lot of work and the thick brush and catsclaw has claimed another pair of jeans (at least my wife says I can't wear them out in public anymore). But it is worth the time and effort and I saw some great views of the Superstitions that few casual hikers will have the pleasure of seeing.
Geology
Geology [ checklist ]
[ checklist ] Basalt
_____________________
On every trip into the Superstitions, I find another Gold Mine. Today the mine was filled with Memories. I can not wait for the next trip.
Feb 20 2011
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 Guides 4
 Routes 17
 Photos 4,082
 Triplogs 489

81 male
 Joined Feb 17 2010
 Apache Junction,
Peak 2891 SaddlePhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 20 2011
AZLumberjackTriplogs 489
Hiking2.50 Miles 250 AEG
Hiking2.50 Miles   1 Hour   30 Mns   1.67 mph
250 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I thought with all the rain on Saturday, I might find water flowing along the trail to the saddle, but, as luck would have it, no water was flowing. The pools on the flat expanse of rock, were full but there was very little sign that much water had even been flowing since the rains. I guess that the dry spell wanted to be quenched and all the water soaked into the ground. At least the plants are looking greener now.

It had been quite muddy along the horse trails and I was debating whether to continue on up to the saddle, but then the clouds thickened and the rains started again. That was the decision maker and I turned around and headed back to the car.

It didn't look like it was going to clear up again so I headed back home, lit a fire in the Webber and settled back to watch the Datona 500 and bar-b-que some brisket. Yep, salvaged part of the day.
_____________________
On every trip into the Superstitions, I find another Gold Mine. Today the mine was filled with Memories. I can not wait for the next trip.
Feb 08 2011
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 Guides 4
 Routes 17
 Photos 4,082
 Triplogs 489

81 male
 Joined Feb 17 2010
 Apache Junction,
Peak 2891 SaddlePhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 08 2011
AZLumberjackTriplogs 489
Hiking6.90 Miles 835 AEG
Hiking6.90 Miles   2 Hrs   45 Mns   2.51 mph
835 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Massacre Grounds Loop via Peak 2891 Saddle and return via Massacre Falls Trail.

Last week I scouted out a trail to the Saddle between Peak 2891 and an unnamed peak on its West flank. My intention was to find an alternate route to the Massacre Grounds and take some of the pressure off of the present trail. The existing trail to the Massacre Grounds and the Falls, has become difficult, at best, to walk because of all the loose rocks, frequent washouts and horse do-do along its course.

My brother and I parked the pickup in the creek bed where it crosses the First Water Road at coordinates 33 deg. 28.584 , -111 deg. 27.582. After we put on our gear, I reset the GPS and hit the horse trails at about 8:30 am. In slightly more than an hour we arrived at the saddle and projected a course to the cliffs that are a familiar sight on the way to the falls.

We dropped down to the creek bed, which now only has a few pools and no running water, and followed it upstream to a point where a second creek joined it at coordinates 33 deg. 27.772, -111 deg. 26.552. From this juncture, we followed the branch to the right and began gaining altitude to get away from the sharp brush that was growing in the valley.

This was a pleasant part of the hike as we were all alone, viewing the cliffs and observing the groups of hikers well off on the existing trail. Behind us in the distance was the ever-present outline of Four Peaks and to our right was the tip of Weavers Needle. We rejoined the Massacre Grounds Trail at coordinates 33 deg. 27.442, -111 deg. 26.772.

From this juncture, we headed back down the Massacre Grounds Trail and upon arriving at the old trailhead, we cut cross-country in a Northeasterly direction until we once again joined the horse trails leading back to the pickup on First Water Road. We arrived back at our starting point at around 11:00 and the GPS had logged in 6.9 miles for the entire loop. I'm sure the trail would have been shorter if we weren't doing so much prospecting (did I say that?) along the creek bottoms.

I think this trail is a pleasant alternative to the existing Massacre Falls Trail and depending on where you end up parking, the overall round trip mileage difference would be insignificant. After dropping from the saddle, the bottom of the valley has a lot of brush and you end up walking around the thickest parts of it, which adds miles to the journey. The change of scenery is a relief and there aren't any hard vertical climbs along the route and it's always a pleasure to take a trail less known.
_____________________
On every trip into the Superstitions, I find another Gold Mine. Today the mine was filled with Memories. I can not wait for the next trip.
average hiking speed 1.99 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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