Somehow I haven't yet written about one of our fun weekends from back at the end of March. Time to fix that!
Our friends Taylor and Andrew, along with their trail dog Basil, went down to Phoenix for a vacation weekend. John had a solar training class/conference scheduled for the following week, so we decided to join them and explore the Superstitions together.
This is a fairly large and remote mountain range, for being so close to a big city. It would take a long time for us to see all of it, especially since you really only want to go in the cooler months of the year. No reason to mess around with summer in the low desert.
We camped at Tortilla Flat for the night and then trekked up the trail toward Boulder Canyon, coming from the north on the first day. It didn't take long before we got high enough for some great views:
Battleship Mountain in the middle of the picture and the Weaver's Needle off in the background just to the right of the Battleship:
Looking back at Canyon Lake and all the different colors of the landscape:
Having fun running on trails with friends!
We did a loop around Battleship, finding the loosely-defined trail on its north side. Andrew and John wanted to see how far up they might climb it, while the rest of us decided to find a spot in the shade and wait for them. I don't think the guys are in this photo, but we did glimpse them here and there along the ridge:
John's picture up on the ridge, perhaps around where they decided not to take the time to go all the way to the top. Another time, perhaps.
Basil keeping watch for dad to return:
The highlight of the day was finding a pretty and shaded pool in La Barge creek. Basil was especially excited to swim, get wet, and chase sticks out into the water. I guess we were too busy laughing and enjoying watching him to get a picture of the dog joy.
Instead we took pictures of each other:
And the tall rocks around the pool (columnar basalt, maybe?)
Heading back to start the hike out. Super fun day, thank you friends!
The next day they stayed in town to go to a basketball game, so John and I decided to try a different trailhead and maybe get ourselves closer to the Weaver's Needle. We have seen that thing several times (first pointed out to us at orienteering meets around the area). So we drove up to Peralta trailhead and came in from the south.
So many interesting rocks to look at:
If that rock had fallen over, at least John would have gotten it on camera...
Fantastic lighting captured by John's phone:
It was good timing for desert flowers:
Sort of a Gorn head watching over hikers on the trail:
Another superb and dramatic picture from John:
Reaching the saddle - thumbs up for the Needle!
Once we started down toward the Needle we had the trail to ourselves. I was loving all the rock shapes along the way:
I believe this was on the slope leading up to the base of the Needle. We found a "sort of" trail going up, quite steep but plenty doable.
I'm probably thinking how neat it was to be there, and how I'm not at all interested in the higher rock climbing-looking stuff up above:
Checking out the wilderness to the north:
We returned to Fremont Saddle and decided to take the "adventure" way back to the trailhead. We didn't really know how much of an adventure, just that the trail on Gaia was in grey (i.e. not a main trail) instead of green.
Perhaps the most beautiful saguaro I have ever seen. The location certainly helps:
The trail winds through rocks, past excellent overlooks, and then eventually to the challenging section somewhere past here:
I'm not sure why John didn't take any pictures of me down-climbing the large slabs and huge boulders. He had plenty of time while waiting for me. We would reach the top of something and I'd be like, "really?", he would demonstrate, and I would say "well, OK" and eventually find a way to the bottom. It was one of those fun-in-retrospect things.
Back in my comfort zone, trail running to finish off the day:
Our verdict - we love the Superstitions, can't wait to get back again someday. Thank you Taylor and Andrew for suggesting it!