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Tag: Superstition Wilderness (page 1 of 3)

Sunday Hike – Praying Hands / Massacre Falls Loop

Nick, Mike, Bob, Marilyn, and I did a hike in the western Superstitions on Sunday. I hiked nearly 7.5 miles with about 1700 feet of total ascent.

La Barge Battleship Saddle Loop

Marilyn, Linda, Ben, Marilyn, and Mona joined me for a twelve mile hike of the La Barge Battleship Saddle Loop. I modified the hike somewhat from the route on hikearizona.com; I turned the loop into more of a lollipop by hiking back on the Boulder Canyon Trail instead of coming back via Boulder Creek.

The hike starts at the Canyon Lake Marina and follows the Boulder Canyon Trail to the intersection with La Barge Canyon. From there, we entered La Barge Canyon and hiked up-canyon until the way narrowed and became blocked with boulders. There are some nice pools of water here; some of us stopped and ate lunch at this spot. We then backtracked slightly and hiked up to the saddle at the “stern” of Battleship Mountain. From there, we descended the other side of the ridge until we entered Boulder Creek. From there, we hiked back on the Boulder Canyon Trail (mostly through Boulder Creek) and found Marilyn waiting for us at the Indian Paint Mine ruins. (Marilyn wanted to limit her hiking to eight miles for the day.) We finished our hike by returning the way we came – on the Boulder Canyon Trail.

The route is shorter and has less elevation gain if you follow the route posted on HAZ.  However, I’m guessing that it is harder because the way back is through Boulder Creek; there is no trail for the two miles or so back.  It looks to me like it’s boulder hopping all the way.  For me, I think this would be more strenuous than hiking back on the Boulder Canyon Trail.

This is La Barge Creek, just above the point where it empties into Canyon Lake. It has water in it due to the backflow from Canyon Lake. While we did see some pools of water in La Barge Creek, it was mostly dry on the day we hiked it.

Battleship Mountain on the left and Weaver’s Needle more towards the center. I have a lot of photos of Battleship Mountain in this set of photos.

Yep, this is still Battleship Mountain.

Heading up La Barge Creek now, with Battleship Mountain on the right.

The bow of Battleship Mountain is impressively steep.

I haven’t been able to figure out the name of this peak, but it’s impressive looking from this vantage point while walking up La Barge Canyon.

This shot helps to explain why Battleship Mountain has its name. When approaching it on the Boulder Canyon Trail from the marina, it looks like it might be a blocky cube shaped mountain. But that’s not the case at all.  It’s a long mountain which forms one of the walls (for quite a distance) of La Barge Canyon.  I hope to get a photo of it someday from Geronimo Head which is taller than Battleship Mountain – it’s just across the canyon from Battleship Mountain.

Continuing up La Barge Canyon. Later on, we hiked to the top of the saddle at the right.


This is where La Barge Canyon starts to narrow.  There are several pools in this area.

Looking back down La Barge Canyon from the trail leading up to the saddle. Battleship Mountain is on the left and Geronimo Head is on the right.

Ben, Marilyn, Linda, and Mona:

A view of Weaver’s Needle from the saddle just aft of the “stern” of Battleship Mountain.

As we hiked down to Boulder Creek, we saw a saguaro with many twisted arms.

This is part of the ruins at the Indian Paint Mine where Marilyn was waiting for us.

A memorial for someone or something who (apparently) died while hiking on Feb 21, 2014. (It seems unlikely that it’s 1914 or 1814.)

One of the many rock formations that we saw while hiking back on the Boulder Canyon Trail.

Looking down at Canyon Lake:

Some last looks at Battleship Mountain and Weaver’s Needle just prior to losing sight of them on our descent back to the Marina…

Kevin and Marilyn:

Fish Creek Canyon

Nick, Ben, Marilyn, and I hiked perhaps a mile up Fish Creek Canyon from the bridge.  We had planned to go further, but were turned back by bees.

A view from the bridge before starting out:

Nick and Ben take a look at the bridge from the bottom just before heading up canyon.

A tiny waterfall:

There were a number of pools that we had to work around.

An especially green pool:

The piled up logs and smaller pieces of wood is evidence that the canyon occasionally carries a substantial amount of water.

Lunch break:

Looking up-canyon (while still on lunch break):


Roger’s Canyon

Sandra, Mark, Randy, Marilyn, and I hiked Roger’s Canyon on Saturday. The canyon is pretty and, at about 4 miles in, there are some 600 year (or so) old cliff dwellings.

La Barge Battleship Saddle Loop

On Sunday, I did a hike in the Superstitions, the La Barge Battleship Saddle Loop.  This hike starts at the Canyon Lake Marina, following the Boulder Canyon Trail until it reaches La Barge Creek. It then heads south down the creek until it reaches a narrows with pools of water.  It then backtracks a bit and heads up to the saddle south of Battleship Mountain. I took a short side trip from the route at this point and visited the “stern” of Battleship Mountain in order to see what the opening moves of this class 3 territory look like. The route then heads to the west to Boulder Creek. From there, I rejoined the Boulder Canyon Trail which I took back to the trailhead.

A view of Battleship Mountain and Weaver’s Needle from the Boulder Canyon Trail.

Another look at Battleship Mountain. I’m still on the Boulder Canyon Trail, but am near the turnoff into La Barge Creek at this point.

One of the pools of La Barge Canyon. Prior to this the creek had been quite rocky.

Looking back down La Barge Canyon from the way I had came.

I turned around shortly after passing this pool.

At this point, I’m returning to find the trail up to Battleship Saddle. The saddle is in the sunlit section to the left. The red rock near the top of the photo is actually the starboard side of Battleship Mountain. The part at the far left in the photo would be the stern.

Looking north down La Barge Canyon on my way up to the saddle.  Battleship Mountain is on the left side and Geronimo Head is on the right side.

This is the “stern” of Battleship Mountain – it’s not as impressive as the “bow” which was shown in two of the earlier photos. If you look closely, you can see two hikers making their way up at the left.

A view of Weaver’s Needle from just below the stern of Battleship Mountain.

I’ve made it through the rocky part of Boulder Canyon now.  The GPS track that I was following routed me further down Boulder Canyon, but I opted to follow the trail instead.

This is the site of the Indian Paint Mine.

This is one of the walls of Geronimo Head.

Looking toward Canyon Lake on the way back.

Sunday Hike – Dacite Super Loop in the Superstitions

Marilyn, Ben, Marilyn, and I hiked the Dacite Super Loop in the Superstitions.

This was an early view from the Lost Goldmine Trail:

Marilyn, Marilyn, and Ben on the Carney Springs Trail:

After leaving the Carney Springs Trail, we went the wrong way by following some prominent cairns. I hiked to the top of a ridge to see if there was a shortcut to get back to our trail. There didn’t appear to be anything easy, but I noticed this really cool rock formation while I was looking around.

Weaver’s Needle:

One of the views as we descended to Fremont Saddle:

Ben and Marilyn with the famous pine tree & Weaver’s Needle in the background:

One of the many great views from the Cave Trail:

Ben spots Marilyn as she makes her way down one of the steeper sections of the Cave Trail.

Minnow Canyon

Marilyn and I had a canyoneering adventure in Minnow Canyon on Thursday, the 19th.

The route is only 2.4 miles in length, but has some bushwhacking, down-climbing, and one rappel.  There were several spots where we lacked the skill and nerve to do the down climb. In those spots, I rigged a rappel, usually no more than 20 to 30 feet, so we could get past that point safely.

The long rappel near the end was a lot of fun. It was about 130 feet in length and an overhung section near the end, in which you can no longer touch the rock with either your hands or feet.  There’s a large boulder which can be used for an anchor at this point. There were already two slings in place, one of which still felt supple enough that I was willing to trust it.  I rerouted the second (and presumably older) one a bit so that they were equalized.  The one problem that I saw with the way that the anchor was rigged was that rapid links (rappel rings, though which you pass the rope) were set back too far from the edge.  Setting it up this way makes it easier and perhaps safer to get over the edge, but it creates a lot more friction when it comes time to pull the rope.  That proved to be the case; I had to pull very hard on the pull cord to get it to move.

It was dark when we got to Fish Creek, so we strapped on our headlamps so that we could finish the adventure.  There was water in the creek; I saw pools that appeared to be at least three feet deep.  I was able to find a way around these pools though.  The climb back to the road at the Fish Creek Bridge was challenging in the dark.

It turned out to be a 2.5 mile walk on the Apache Trail to get back to our vehicle. We left our headlamps on so that cars would see us.  It might have been safer doing this part in the dark because cars could definitely see us.

The hike starts on Forest Service Road 213. Hiking the road is easy, but there are still some pretty good views.

I left the road to photograph this view.  I got us lost for about half a mile while trying to get back to the road.

At this point, we had entered the wash which eventually led to Minnow Canyon. To get here, we had to descend a steep(ish) hill in the rain and then make our way through some cat’s claw. I was happy that I chose to wear a long sleeve shirt and long pants.

Bushwhacking was not over though…

Making our way further down the wash…

As the walls started to steeper, the way became easier for a time.

But after a while, the way down started to get steeper.

I found the striations in this wall interesting.

I took this photo when I was scouting a way down. We ended going down a short wall which had a nearby tree which helped us get down.

After taking this photo, the way got considerably harder. I was so focused on figuring out how to proceed down the canyon that I forgot to take pictures of our adventure.

I took a few more photos when we (finally) reached the 130 foot rappel. The larger boulder to the right is the anchor. The rope bag with 200 foot rope is in front of the boulder. If you look closely, you can see some purple and green webbing. The green webbing was in better shape. I used a carabiner block along with a pull cord for rope retrieval.

Marilyn down-climbs an easy section just before the rappel.

Marilyn, starting the rappel.

Marilyn is scoping out the upcoming steep section of the rappel. She was also trying to figure out whether or not she could get the rope on the other side of the tree. (She couldn’t.)

This was the view from the top of the rappel. After the rappel, there was still quite a lot of down climbing and I, again, forgot to take more pictures.

Sunday Hike – Rock Creek Trail – Mazatzals


Sunday Hike – Massacre Falls Loop

Bob, Nick, and I hiked the Massacre Falls Loop on Sunday. Starting from First Water Trailhead, we hiked a loop of a little over eight miles with nearly 1300 feet of elevation gain.

Friday Hike – Peter’s Canyon / Peter’s Cave

Ben, Marilyn, Nick, Joe, Nora, and I hiked Peter’s Canyon on Friday.

We had planned to hike at the Mogollon Rim, but the forecast high for the day there was only 36 degrees F with winds between 20-30mph, with gusts of up to 40mph.  So, instead, we did a canyon hike in the Superstition Wilderness where it was still forecast to be pretty windy, but the forecast high was 65.  However, for much of the hike, the canyon walls blocked nearly all of the wind, providing us with relatively calm conditions during our hike.  The only time when we noticed significant wind was when we climbed up to Peter’s Cave, which was the destination for our hike. I think we were all happy that we changed our plans for the day.

Joe and I had hiked Peter’s Canyon about a year ago.  On this year’s hike, we encountered deeper pools with a lot more flowing water.

This is a view from near the trailhead at Tortilla Flat:

Another view from early in the hike:

This is a Rock Live-Forever plant.  We saw several of them on our hike.


The trail led our down towards Tortilla Creek:

Early views of Tortilla Creek / Canyon:

Nick and the others examine tracks by the creek.  On the way back, Ben pointed out a large paw print with three widely spaced claw / toe impressions.  We have no idea what it was.

Joe climbs a large boulder in the creek:

Joe took photos of his own from atop the boulder.

Marilyn Huot provided this photo of Joe atop the boulder:

(Photo Credit: Marilyn Huot)

This is the entrance to Peter’s Canyon – it drains into Tortilla Creek.

There are a number of large boulders at the entrance to Peter’s Canyon.  This entire section can be bypassed if desired by following a trail on the side of the canyon to the right.  A pair of backpackers quickly passed us by going that way.  But we had more fun scrambling up and down boulders.

These saguaros are above the narrow tunnel / chimney that Marilyn, Ben, and I went up to get to this point.  On the way back, we all went through this hole in the rocks.  (It can’t be seen in this photo – I forgot to take a photo of it.)

This is one of many pools that we encountered along the way.  It really was that green.

In order to keep our feet (mostly) dry, we frequently had to do a bit of scrambling to go around and above the water.

We’re about to turn a corner (to the right) here, at which point the going got considerably easier.

But first, we had to do some more rock hopping and scrambling:

Joe, Nick, Nora, Marilyn, and Ben:

The hiking got considerably easier for perhaps the next quarter mile. Nick noticed the hole in the rock formation near the center of this photo.  I don’t recall seeing it on my past visits to this canyon.

Looking back down-canyon:

This is a Hackberry Beardtongue, a type of penstemon:

We’re getting closer to our destination. You can see one of the backpackers (with the orange pack) ahead of us.

This is Peter’s Cave.  We all climbed up to the cave and ate lunch.  The ascent to the cave was easier than I remember it being last year. I think the path was better defined this year.

Ben looks back at the cave prior descending back to the canyon floor:

We saw this spiky fruit on the way back. None of us knew what it was. (Denise, in a comment to this post, has identified it as wild cucumber.)

This is Owl Clover / Exserted Indian Paintbrush.  We found it growing near the spiky fruit shown in the photo above.

Mexican Poppy:

Desert Chicory:


We avoided the water in some areas by hiking high on the banks.  It was less wet and less rocky than hiking near the water.

Nick, Nora, Marilyn, Ben, and Joe hiking along a rock ledge above the water.

I was fascinated by the little islands of white rock.


Nora and Nick:

We’ve turned the corner now and have reentered a very entertaining part of the canyon.

Joe takes a break while the rest of us catch up.

We’ve exited Peter’s Canyon now.  This is a look back at the entrance.

Mariposa Lily:

This might be Perezia / Brownfoot:

Globemallow with yellow brittlebush beyond the prickly pear cacti:

Hedgehog blossoms:

Marilyn Huot sent me additional photos of the group:

(Photo Credit: Marilyn Huot)

This is me standing beside a small waterfall.

(Photo Credit: Marilyn Huot)

Joe, Nick, Ben, Kevin, and Nora:

(Photo Credit: Marilyn Huot)

Ben, Joe, Nora, Nick, and Kevin (from back to front):

(Photo Credit: Marilyn Huot)

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