We set off and about a mile into the hike, there is the largest and most
impressive saguaro I’ve ever seen, with over 40 arms.
Shown here is a picture of it, courtesy of Brian Cross:
The trail runs parallel to the ridgeline, with Peralta Canyon on the other
side. The rock formations along the way are magnificent. The Superstition
Mountains were volcanic 25-30 million years ago, and the remaining calderas are
quite impressive. The lighter-colored tuff is a mixture of ash ejected from
the volcanoes and quartzite.
We passed through a forest of saguaros and then through a group of huggable
(NOT) teddy-bear chollas. It causes one to wonder why there is a sudden group
of certain plants in specific areas.
Regions plentiful with quartz hint of
nearby gold, hence the name of the trail. I started thinking about just where
that gold might be. There was evidence that others had investigated this.
We saw the remains of what appeared to be a horse trough and there were several
unmarked paths up to the hills, all asking to be explored. High above one of
these paths was a cave eroded into the rock cliff.