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Black Mesa Loop
Superstition Wilderness
December 2, 2017
by David French
  GPS Map 
group
Hikers line up at First Water Trailhead.
Vicki, Rebecca, Dorinda, Scott, Tamar, Billie, Kari, Bruce, Allan, Dave M, Emma, Bill, Dave
not in the picture:Yanis.

This is one of a few hikes that really show you the heart of the Superstition Wilderness. I hope all hikers get to do it at least once. There were 14 Trailblazers on this overcast but unseasonably warm December morning.

We gathered at First Water Trailhead and got one of the rangers (or volunteers) to take the group picture. Unfortunately one of the hikers had wandered off, so there are only 13 in the picture.

We started down the Dutchman’s Trail #104 and came to the junction with the Second Water Trail #236. I had intended to go clockwise around this loop but instinctively stayed on the Dutchman’s Trail, so we went counterclockwise. The Dutchman’s Trail provides great views of rock formations and Weaver’s Needle. We had several stream crossings, but given over three months without rain, there was no water in sight.

hikers
Off we go. [photo by Yanis]
Dave
Dave makes sure everyone is there. [photo by Yanis]
rock
Major outcroppings along the Dutchman Trail. [photo by Dave F.]
artworks
I’d like to meet the artist, but he’s long gone. [photo by Dave F.]
hoodoo hoodoo
Hoodoos and more hoodoos. [photos by Dave F.]
Needle
First good view of Weaver’s Needle. [photo by Dave F.]
hikers
Vicky and Tamar motor along. [photo by Dave M.]
picture
Billie with virga, closest we will get to rain. [photo by Dave M.]

We continued to Parker Pass and stopped for a short break before continuing southeastward where we got good views of Palomino Mountain and Black Top Mesa.

pass
Break time at White Rock Pass. [photo by Dave F.]
crack
Crack in the rock. [photo by Dave F.]
Needle
Weaver’s Needle. [photo by Dave F.]
hikers
Back on the trail. [photo by Yanis]
mesa
The edge of Black Mesa. [photo by Dave F.]
Palomino
Palomino Mountain. [photo by Dave F.]
mesa
Black Top Mesa. [photo by Dave F.]
sign
Black Mesa Trail starts here. [photo by Dave F.]
Yanis
Yanis takes a break. [photo by Dave F.]
lunch
Lunch break at trail junction. [photo by Dave F.]
hikers
Tamar, Kari, Dorinda, at break. [photo by Bill]
picture
Bruce eats healthy. [photo by Bill]

We stopped for lunch snacks at the junction of the Dutchman’s and Black Mesa Trails. After the break we headed northwest on Black Mesa and climbed several hundred feet on a rocky but easy-to-hike trail. Once on top we got a good view of Black Mesa (not to be confused with Black Top Mesa). We paused to let all the hikers catch up and then continue to the junction with the Second Water Trail. We paused again and let everyone get there. Some hikers climbed up the Indian ruin near the junction.

Needle
Weaver’s Needle from Black Mesa. [photo by Dave F.]
mesa
How Black Mesa got its name. [photo by Dave F.]
trail
Through the saguaro forest on Black Mesa. [photo by Yanis]
hikers
Pause at Black Mesa–Second Water junction. [photo by Dave F.]
hikers
Bill, Rebecca, Dorinda. [photo by Dave F.]
Needle
Final view of Weaver’s Needle. [photo by Yanis]

We returned to the trailhead about 2:00 PM completing the 9.1 mile hike in about 5.5 hours. My GPS said we climbed 946 feet. Given that several people had activities planned for the evening, we all went our separate ways.

This hiker made it back in time to attend the Electric Light Parade on Central Avenue. That had been on my bucket list for some time now, so glad I got to do it and enjoyed it.

parade
Got back in time for Electric Light Parade. [photo by Dave F.]
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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated December 6, 2017