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First Water to Canyon Lake
Superstition Wilderness
November 25, 2016
by Tamar Gottfried
  GPS Map 
Elevation
group
Michael, Andy, Mark, Michelle, Steve, Monika, Alan, Nancy, Mohammed, Sandy, Tamar, April, Dave

This is a nice moderate and pretty hike. I think we would do it more often if the car logistics weren’t so complicated due to the driving distance between the two trailheads. We were fortunate that 5 Trailblazers woke up early Black Friday morning to meet at the Canyon Lake Marina at 7:00 AM, leave 3 cars there, and shuttle one back to First Water trailhead. The rest of us assembled at the Mesa meeting spot and the two groups arrived to the trailhead within minutes of each other.

Intro
Introductions at First Water Trailhead on a cool morning. [photo by Michelle]

After a quick round of introductions, 13 hikers hit the trail at 7:45, taking the Second Water Trail to Garden Valley, past the Black Mesa turnoff and down into the Second Water riparian zone. This area was verdant and cool, providing a little standing water to see and a nice place to rest for a minute.

cake
Birthday Cake on the Superstition Ridgeline. [photo by Steve]
rocks
Cholla-studded rock formation on the Second Water Trail. [photo by Michelle]
ridge
Looking back at Peak 5057 and the Superstition Ridgeline. [photo by Michelle]
arch
Garden Valley Arch. [photo by Michelle]
Needle
Weaver’s Needle from the Second Water Trail. [photo by Michelle]
cairn
Not much of a cairn. [photo by Michelle]
trail
Rocky Second Water Trail. [photo by Michelle]
water
Yes, there’s water in Second Water Canyon. [photo by Steve]
Battleship
First view of Battleship Mountain. [photo by Michelle]
throny
Thorny vegetation along the way. [photo by Michelle]

We continued onward, connecting to the Boulder Canyon Trail and detouring to the Indian Paint Mine for a few minutes of snacks and exploring. Shortly after, we crossed LaBarge creek. At the small connector trail, Michael led a group of 7 fearless hikers for a bushwhack up the LaBarge Narrows. The remaining 6 of us continued up the Boulder Canyon Trail, trudging upward with nice breezes to help us until we reached a summit with expansive views of Battleship Mountain and Weaver’s Needle in the distance. More hiking let us glimpse Canyon Lake and the Four Peaks.

bushwhacking
Bushwhacking, anyone? [photo by Michelle]
Geronimo
Geronimo Head. [photo by Michelle]
signs
New signs at the junction. [photo by Michelle]
Monika
Monika at the Indian Paint Mine. [Michelle]
cave
Is it a cave, or mine diggin’s? [photo by Steve]
Battleship
This is some canyon! [photo by Steve]
Battleship
Looking back at Battleship Mountain. [photo by Michelle]
butte
If you can’t climb me, name me. [photo by Michelle]
Flatiron
Looking back on the Flatiron and Hackberry Mesa. [photo by Michelle]
saguaro
Three-armed saguaro points the way. [photo by Michelle]
down
Looking down at LaBarge Creek. [photo by Michelle]
lake
First view of Canyon Lake, a welcome sight. [photo by Michelle]
down
Almost there. We’re on the down grade, heading toward hill 2276. [photo by Michelle]

Nearing the Marina, we joined the other group for the final descent to AZ 88. Relieved to shed our poles and packs into the waiting vehicles, we regrouped at the Lakeside Restaurant at the Marina, enjoying the cool patio with a vista onto the lake and boats. Several hikers took advantage of the Friday all you can eat Fish Fry.

Well fed and relaxed, we took the group photo and drove back to the cars at First Water Trailhead. By 3:00 we parted ways to enjoy the rest of our post-Thanksgiving day.

 →   More pictures, by Michelle
 →   More pictures, by Tamar
 →   More pictures, by Steve
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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated January 10, 2020