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Peak 5057 Day Hike
Superstition Mountains
March 30, 2019
by Debbie Rowray
  Topo Map 
Trailblazers on the way to Peak 5057. [photo by Debbie]
front:  Kim, Chris, Terry
back: Ian, Debbie, Felix, Daniel, Michael, Katie, Bruce, Li
Trailblazers on the way to Peak 5057. [photo by Debbie]
front:  Kim, Terry
back: Ian, David, Daniel, Felix, Michael, Chris, Katie, Bruce, Li

Our morning could not have started out more perfect, with a crew of avid hikers staring at the rugged, majestic Peak 5057.

The first mile or so was smooth-running, with blankets of wildflowers on the sides of the trail. Superstition Mountain loomed in front of us, growing closer every step, as we approached its intense formation against a stark blue sky.

The terrain then abruptly turns, with slickrock and boulders leading to a vast wall of petroglyphs (the correct term, differentiated from the trail name Hieroglyphic Canyon), where we admired the art of a culture long ago. There were various pools of water, adding contrast to the land in their wake. In addition, the hedgehog cactuses were sharing their bright hues of fuchsia flowers with us.

art art
An ancient artist drew these petroglyphs. [photos by Debbie]
Well hi there, little fellow. [photo by Katie]
Water in the desert. [Katie]
Water in the desert. [photo by Li]
This animal didn’t make it. [photo by Bruce]

Travelling upward, the scene turns to lush, riparian texture, with trickling water and much plant life, dancing through and around many more spectacular wildflowers. Birds were cheering us with their song, and the cliffs above us beckoned a summit. As we ventured up the canyon, the layers of this massive mountain become clearer, and the jagged landscape confirmed the difficulty of the hike.

Scree on the way up. [photo by Katie]
Watch out for those hooked needles! [Debbie]
Getting high (topographically). [photo by Bruce]

There were many areas of scree on the trail, making it very slippery and hard to maintain balance. Some of us used poles or climbing gloves to help. At times it was hard to distinguish where to go, yet cairns were a big help in guiding us. Once at the saddle, officially on the Superstition Ridgeline, we all took a scenic break, with about mile and a half left to summit Peak 5057. The views of Weaver’s Needle, Four Peaks, and the vast Superstition Wilderness lay before us.

Looking upward. We’ll soon be there. [photo by Katie]
The Superstitions are famous for their hoodoos. [photo by Debbie]
That must be the Superstition Ridgeline. [photo by Katie]
We still have a ways to go. [photo by Li]
We enjoy a fine view of Weaver’s Needle. [photo by Bruce]

There is one chute to conquer to reach the Peak base. It is a challenging, yet fun experience for climbing up is most definitely not the same as going back down.

The final ascent to the Peak was full of huge boulders, switching into a maze of hoodoos, with frolicking lizards greeting us. When the hoodoos started surrounding us, we came to the base of Peak 5057, and gazed up to confirm which way would be the safest to summit. Once completely engulfed by its granite strength, one can see that from the base it is not as easy as it may look. It is a semi-technical climb to the top, and every hiker has the way that suits them best. There are some cairns, yet with the cliffs and exposure, there are alternative routes that may work better either up or down the Peak.

This rock looks comfortable. [photo by Li]
Let’s take a break here. [photo by Li]

At the top of Peak 5057, the vistas were breathtaking and we sat actually above the top of Weaver’s Needle. We were able to enjoy a 360 degree view of the valley and so much beauty it is almost surreal. There is a metal box on top to sign names, memories or thoughts.

Bright flowers cheer us. [photo by Li]
The descent is a whole new array of hiking, sliding down scree and trying to stay on foot. An out-and back trail gives a whole different perspective each way, giving one a full experience of what nature has to offer. A few of us spent a tranquil moment at the petroglyphs, resting our legs, and again taking in the unique drawings carved in rock. The landscape here is an obstacle course of climbing escapades.

The small group of us left after the hike concluded enjoyed a cold beer: much appreciation goes out to Terry, who awaited our arrival at the Trailhead! In addition, a big thank you to those who waited to make sure everyone got down the mountain safely.

Michael, Terry, and I then enjoyed a delicious dinner at BJ’s in Mesa with a generous gift from Katie. Thank you so much from all of us! We enjoyed conversation about other routes to the Ridgeline, and the night concluded with exhausted smiles.

I want to thank each and everyone who joined me on this demanding yet rewarding hike. The day was amazing, the mountain relentlessly testing, as always. It is forever worth every heavy breath and step to enjoy what the mountains have to offer.


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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated April 2, 2019