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Parker Pass Plus Day Hike
Superstition Wilderness
October 24, 2020
by Ted Tenny
  GPS Map 

21 resplendent Trailblazers met at First Water Trailhead for today’s hike. It was partly cloudy, 59° when we got there. The hike leader wanted a deputy leader for the 12-mile hike, so Tom took over. But the 12-milers decided to do the 9-mile Black Mesa Loop with deputy leader Dave French.

Trailblazers ready to hike. [photo by Ted]
Li, Jeanne, Billie, Kim, Neil, Allan, Tish, Barry, Tom, Dave, Bill, Amy, Kelley, Brittany, Michelle, Ken, Lori, Tamar, Kevin

The remaining hikers went with me on the 5-mile round trip to Parker Pass, all on the Dutchman’s Trail. No big climbs, but an occasional steep spot.

The Dutchman’s Trail is named for Jacob Waltz, who was actually German. He knew where the Peralta Mine was, but didn’t tell.

Hoodoos on the Superstition Ridgeline. [photo by Ted]
Apache Gap Mountain. [photo by Ted]
Hobgoblins for Halloween. [photo by Ted]
The head of a famous person. [photo by Ted]
“Well hi there, old friend.” [photo by Ted]
Turn here if you’re going to hike Upper First Water Creek. [photo by Ted]
Three heads are better than one. [photo by Michelle]

On the way out we looked for petroglyphs but didn’t find any. We did see a tarantula on the trail, after we crossed First Water Creek for the fifth and last time.

Tarantula on the trail! [photo by Ted]

I decided to lead on the way out and sweep on the way back. The others were soon out of sight, but Jeanne walked with me.

Ted’s five-mile hikers (all except Jeanne). [photo by Ted]
Brittany, Amy, Chalice, Barry, Lori, Michelle, Kim
Selfie of the five-mile hikers. [photo by Amy]
Amy, Brittany, Chalice, Lori, Barry, Michelle, Kim, Ted
Heading back on the Dutchman’s Trail. [photo by Amy]

On the way back I found the petroglyphs. A young couple were coming down the trail, and I stepped to the side to let them pass. There were the petroglyphs! The young couple walked right by them and didn’t notice.

Don’t you wish you could talk with the artist? [photo by Ted]

Special thanks to Dave French for being deputy leader on the 9-mile hike!

Special thanks to Jeanne for walking back to First Water Trailhead with me!

→   More pictures, by Li
→   More pictures, by Dave

Supplemental Report
by Dave French

Twelve hikers launched first and headed south on the Dutchman’s Trail. We continued south, crossing several dry creek beds, reconvened at Parker Pass, and took a group photo.

We met again at the junction with the Black Mesa Trail. Those that had considered adding the Hackberry Spring loop to this hike announced that they will just do the Black Mesa Loop. As a result, the trail shown in green on the GPS map was not hiked.

The faster group took off while a couple of us took a break. We headed back northwest on the Black Mesa Trail and soon entered an extensive area that was burned this summer. It is so sad to see all those saguaros and other plants turned black or yellow. It will take a long time to recover.

Once we topped the mesa and started down the canyon toward the Second Water Trail, we noticed that the east side where the trail was located had not burned, but the west side had. Nice to see that some vegetation survived. Once we came to the Second Water Trail, we turned left and headed toward the Dutchman’s trail and the long-sought trailhead. By the time I reached the trailhead, Ted’s group had gone, along with about half of my group.

It was a very nice hike on a wonderfully cool and partly cloudy day. Nice to get back into the Superstition Wilderness again after a horrendously hot summer with lots of wildfires in central and southern Arizona.

We hiked about 9.5 miles with 1100 ft elevation gain in 5.5 hours.

Group photo of the “Long” hikers. [photo by Dave]
Bill, Tamar, Allan, Tish, Ken, Li, Kelley, Neil, Tom, Billie, Kevin, Dave
“Long” hikers on the Dutchman’s Trail. [photo by Li]
Crossing First Water Creek. [photo by Li]
Dave takes a picture of Weaver’s Needle. [photo by Bill]
Weaver’s Needle was named for a mountain man. [photo by Dave]
Hmmm, that looks interesting. [photo by Li]
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updated October 26, 2020