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Parker Pass Day Hike
Superstition Wilderness
March 3, 2018
by Ted Tenny
Ted’s   GPS Map 
Carl’s   GPS Map 
Wayne’s    GPS Map 
Ted, Jeanne, Carol B, Kevin, Eileen, Carl, Mimi, Quy, Monika, Carol L, Krista, Wayne

When I scouted this hike I started at first light hoping to catch a colorful sunrise, but the sky was cloudy. Today we had plenty of sunshine.

Wasn’t expecting to meet any long-lost friends on this hike. But when we were crossing First Water Creek I met Ken McGinty, ace hike leader for the Sierra Club. He was leading a hike to Palomino Mountain. Felix and Herm were among those with him.

Then at Parker Pass I met Jerry Nelson. Jerry and his companion are also Sierra Club hikers. Hadn’t seen any of these folks in years.

A dozen daring Trailblazers started from First Water Trailhead on a pristine winter morning. We were organized into three groups:

5 miles: Jeanne, Eileen, Monika, Carol B., Ted
9 miles: Carl, Carol L., Kevin, Krista, Mimi, Quy
12 miles:  Wayne

The Dutchman’s Trail crosses two tributaries of First Water Creek, then it crosses the creek five times. No water today, so it was easy keeping our feet dry. Along the way we saw rock goblins, petroglyphs, and a row of boulders standing upright marking the turn for O’Grady Canyon and Old West Boulder Canyon.

A rock goblin overlooks the Dutchman’s Trail. [photo by Carl]
We’re going southeast. [photo by Carl]
We cross two tributaries, then cross First Water Creek five times. [photo by Quy]
Getting high (topographically) on the Dutchman’s Trail. [photo by Quy]
Nice piggy.  Now just stay right there.
What kind of a bird is that?
Oh come on, have a heart.
Not quite big enough to be an arch, but it’s cute.
Nine-mile hikers will be on Black Mesa, beyond this ridge.

White Rock Pass is often mistaken for Parker Pass, because the rocks are the same color. But Parker Pass is a half mile on down the trail. It is also the northern end of Tim’s Saddle Trail.

Everyone stayed together, sort of, until we got to Parker Pass. Then the folks who were hiking the 9-mile Black Mesa Loop kept going southeast on the Dutchman’s Trail, led by Quy.

Five-mile hikers at Parker Pass:  Jeanne, Carol B., Eileen, Monika, Ted. [photo by Quy]
lichen lichen
Colorful lichens adorn the boulders at Parker Pass
Opuntia fulgida - Chain Fruit Cholla. The tunas hang down in chains.
Carol B., Monika, Eileen, and Apache Gap Mountain.
Nefertari’s hat. [photo by Eileen]

Those who were hiking the 5-mile round trip to Parker Pass waited a few minutes, then turned around and walked back to First Water Trailhead with me. We enjoyed a leisurely walk back, stopping to take pictures, tell stories, and let others by. The Dutchman’s Trail sure is popular today! Must be our lovely weather.

Special thanks to Quy Nguyen for leading the Black Mesa portion of this hike.

Supplemental Report
by Quy Nguyen

Black Mesa Loop is one of the best hikes in the Superstitions. Most people prefer to hike this loop clockwise. As they said, the trail is less challenging and the scenery is more beautiful. But for me, each direction has its own challenge and beauty. Our club has hiked this loop for many years. Recently, Dave led this hike on December 2, 2017.

Six magnificent hikers continued hiking the loop after saying good-bye to Ted’s group at Parker Pass. The weather was wonderful, with a high of 72 degrees and some light breezes now and then. Due to the drought, we didn’t see any wildflowers.

From Carl’s GPS: we hiked 9.1 miles with 1263 feet accumulated elevation gain. We were done by 1:35 PM.

Pictures from the Black Mesa Loop:

Heading down into Boulder Basin. [photo by Kevin]
Sheriff’s helicopter to the rescue. [photo by Kevin]
Starting our big climb out of Boulder Basin on the Black Mesa Trail. [photo by Quy]
Looking back at Weaver’s Needle. [photo by Quy]
Climbing down from Black Mesa. [photo by Quy]
Saguaros along the Black Mesa Trail. [photo by Wayne]
Trailblazers in Garden Valley. [photo by Quy]

→   More pictures, by Quy
→   More pictures, by Carl
→   More pictures, by Kevin
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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated March 4, 2018