2019 #hike14 and #hike15 - "We're About Halfway There"

It was a fun-filled weekend in Arizona’s gorgeous Superstition Wilderness Area just northeast of Phoenix metro. Original plans didn’t work out due to weather, so this was a solid backup. We backpacked in with the intention of staying the night, but left due to weather and difficulty finding water where we wanted to camp. I learned a lot on these two hikes, the hike in and out, about how to balance my backpack weight, how much water to really bring, and what to expect as far as difficulty. I honestly can’t wait to get out and backpack again with friends or flying solo. If you’re in Texas, or anywhere else really, and want to backpack with a newbie, hit me up!

Hike 14

Date: Saturday, May 11, 2019

Location: Superstition Mountains Wilderness Area - Tonto National Forest

Distance: ~6 miles? (we all had differing numbers - probably 5-6?)

Trails: #236 (Second Water Trail) to #241 (Black Mesa Trail) to #104 (Dutchman)

Miles from Home: 996

Weather: Warm, Sunny, Breezy

The day before this trip, I had day tripped around with Scott Jones and walked about 3/4 of a mile on this trail so the beginning was familiar to me. It was a little different this day due to the 34 pounds of weigh on my back, but it was so exciting I didn’t even care. I was carrying enough crap on my back to survive more than one night (if need be, though only one was planned), and it felt empowering. We started out, and then ascended a few hundred feet over the next couple of miles. The views became better and better, and the desert vegetation had me giddy. I was backpacking in the desert and I felt alive. I was with a great group of new-to-me people and they were as welcoming as ever. We stopped as often as we needed to, took in views as they came, and shared conversations over a variety of topics

There were NOT that many people out on the trails, though everyone we did pass was pleasant enough. We were warned of snakes in some places, which was helpful, though I think we only saw one small non-rattler. We were headed to an area just off the Black Mesa Trail to the Dutchman which was supposed to provide us with “pools of water so big you could sit and relax” and plenty of spots to set up camp. Well, the volunteer at the trail head, who became known as Ranger Rick, was either mistaken on the location or behind on information because there was a few scummy puddles and a good size pile under a boulder. No luxurious cooling of the feet, no endless supply of water to filter, and no flowing water of any kind. Not the worst situation, but certainly not what we wanted. We set up chairs in the shade and pondered our options for several hours - re-hydrating from the hike in, filtering what water we could get from the under rock pool, and eating our snacks.

Hike 15

Date: Saturday, May 11, 2019

Location: Superstition Mountains Wilderness Area - Tonto National Forest

Distance: ~5 miles? (we all had differing numbers - probably 4-5?)

Trails: #104 (Dutchman)

Miles from Home: 996

Weather: Warm, Cloudy, Breezy (some light raindrops)

As we’re wrapping up our snacks, and lightening our loads, it’s apparent the clouds rolling through were going to drop some rain on us. We had set up “camp” in the shade of the trees lining the dry creek, so we casually packed up and added rain covers to our packs and began our hike out. The sun had vanished, the temperature seemed cooler, and our pace was a little more intense. There was lightning in the distance and rain too, but we stayed mostly dry. We had to climb only a few hundred feet in elevation, but the views were beautiful with the cloudy sky and sunset. There were less saguaro on the hike out, but still plenty of gorgeous desert vegetation. We made it to the cars at about dark and made our way back to the city.