Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Superstitions and endings

I'm not sure that there could have been a better ending to this trip than hiking in the Superstition Wilderness.


From GET - Arizona

The Ray Mine Complex is in the background, quite a bit before entering the Supes. I had expected to be revolted when I saw the Morenci Mine weeks earlier. Instead, I was treated with a view that didn't really hint at the full scale of how huge the mine was. Nearing the "town" of Kinsley I saw the Ray mine from above and was sickened. The land around was all red, but from above I was seeing whites and turqoise colors that just should not have been there. HUGE. This photo doesn't hint at the scale of it so much, but it's still quite deep.

White Canyon Wilderness (surprising rough AZT conditions)turned out to be one of the hidden gems of Arizona. Huge canyons. Really strange strange buttes.

Mother Nature is a strange woman indeed.

By this point I'd fallen completely in love with the Sonoran desert. For what it's worth, this desert felt surprisingly "lush". Saguaros everywhere. Agave. Yucca. Cholla cactus and their "bombs", etc etc etc. The desert (Chihuahuan?) of New Mexico really couldn't compare to this.

Took a quick sidetrip to the Boyce-Thompson Arboretum in Superior, catching some nice flowering Cardon Saguaro, among many many other desert wonders

sunsets that linger for an hour never really get old.

did a nice and steep climb to drop back down into Reavis Canyon and the southern end of the Superstitions

huge views. overgrown trail. more huge views.

After taking a nap in the shade at the top of Parker Pass, I was 2 miles from the Trailhead and the end of the hike. 15 minutes later I found myself hiking with Gopher's friend Brian, his girlfriend Katrina, and engulfed in my first conversation WHILE hiking in a month. Before I knew it we were standing in the parking lot and my trip was over. Showered, laundered, and inspired, we drank amazing beers at the Four Peaks Brewery in Tempe, ate salmon BLT's, and I slept inside for the first time in 39 days.

This was probably my favorite thru-hike that I've ever done. The sense of adventure was here that never really existed on the other hikes...well maybe in the Grand Canyon Hayduke route.... Every morning I would wake up, and over a cup of coffee I'd wonder what I'd see that day. Every single day was unique in a way I've never seen before. Maybe I'm getting older and appreciating subtle changes more, but I do believe that this trail really has more variation than others. There are just way too many mountain ranges out here that you do quick traverses of, then drop into a canyon to bottom out on desert floor. Climb around up other canyons or through the grassland hills of NM, and up into a totally unique mountain range 3 days later.

Great adventure, and thanks for following along.

Iconic Weaver's Needle and one of the cooler features of the Wilderness.


  1. Congratulations. Makes me want to get out there next Fall as well.... how were the water sources? It looked pretty lush from the photos... for the desert that is ;-}

  2. Unlike other desert hiking trails (ie Hayduke), the GET really is pretty wet. There was really only one stretch where I was carrying max capacity (9L) in the Santa Teresa Wilderness, otherwise, I'd average maybe 3-5 L in pack. Some spots are really quite wet...loads of windmills in NM in their desert. The mtns usually have a creek and springs in them. Oh...the Superstitions were pretty dry too, but it wasn't all that hot. All in all, I was very happy with the lack of heavy water carries. Blisterfree has done a phenomenal job upkeeping a water report with historical data for the past few years as well...

    do it!

  3. Impressive work, amigo. I appreciate your comments about the diversity along the route. I think this is amplified by the fact that the hiking itself is so diverse, an unavoidable consequence of hiking a route rather than a trail. But I didn't expect to hear you rate it so favorably against the Hayduke. Along with the Arizona Trail and portions of the CDT, these four trails are really branches from the same tree, distinct yet connected like the land itself. The Great Southwest Circle (Circuit? Loop?) may be calling next, aye?

  4. very nice! I loved hearing a detailed account of a westbound thru. Makes me even more inspired to get out there and hike the GET again. I totally agree that routefinding and problem solving makes this trail even more spectacular. I hope it continues to remain a challenging trail for many years to come!

  5. one question, what camera did you use?

  6. peter: camera was a crappy Canon SD1300. Probably won't carry this again unless I figure out a way to hack it to enable full manual controls, which is possible wit CDHK.