Bob and I hiked a loop which took us past a cool balanced rock and then took us to the highest peak in the western Superstitions. We returned by by hiking back through Hieroglyphic Canyon as the sun was setting. We hiked somewhat less than eight miles in nearly ten hours. We took two 10-20 min breaks during our hike (so that we could pull thorns out of our feet). We took other, shorter, breaks to figure out where the route went. We got off track several times, mostly due to following a well defined path (which often had cairns) which didn’t correspond to the GPS track – we probably wouldn’t have figured it out without the GPS track. Aside from those few breaks, we were on the move all day long.
The area is very scenic and well worth hiking. It’s not an easy hike though; we both wished that we had gotten an earlier start – we were only about halfway around the loop at around 3:00 in the afternoon. At that point I thought that we’d eventually have to get our headlamps out, but we got back just as it was getting really dark.
This is a view of the balanced rock from a distance:
We’re getting closer here. As we got even nearer, we ended up below it and lost sight of it for a while.
Bob, next to the balanced rock:
Another view of the balanced rock. At this point, we had climbed a short ways up the ridge to the right of the rock from the earlier photo.
The views got even better as we got higher!
The route took us along the base of this formation and then up through something of a gap.
When I first saw the cairn in this picture, I thought that our path went past through those boulders. But, when we looked, we saw there was nothing there – it dropped off (somewhat) precipitously. Our route actually made a sharp turn, going uphill in front of the large rock at the right edge of this photo. We packed away our hiking poles for this section so that we could more easily use our hands for the climbing.
More hiking and a fair amount of scrambling eventually led us to the summit of Peak 5057. We were higher than Weaver’s Needle!
Another shot of Weaver’s Needle from Peak 5057:
Bob makes his way to the summit. If you look closely, you can see another hiker in this photo. We passed him as he made his way to the summit a short while later.
When we got down from the summit of 5057, we saw a number of hoodoos as we continued on our loop.
Two shots of Weaver’s Needle through some hoodoos…
This shot was taken a good time later after we had negotiated several obstacles (and a few wrong turns) on the Ridgeline Trail. We’re starting to make our way down into Hieroglyphic Canyon here:
Looking back at where we had been:
Another shot of the canyon:
And, again, looking back:
Finally! We arrive at the pools and the petroglyphs. Just in time, too, as it was starting to get dark. The rock was slick from being polished by water. I fell on my back when both of my feet simultaneously slid out from under me. Luckily though, my backpack absorbed the fall. My only injury was a bruised elbow.
A view as we exited Hieroglyphic Canyon:
The sunset produced an intense orange glow on the rock. Off to the left in this photo is where we began our off-trail portion of the hike earlier in the day.
Nearly back here, but we still had a great view!