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3rd Annual New Year’s Eve Hike
Hieroglyphic Trail 101
Superstition Mountains
December 31, 2001
by Jeanne Van Lew
Motorola hikers in the southwestern Superstitions.
Climbing the Hieroglyphic Trail.
Hieroglyphic Trail is located on the southwest corner of the Superstitions Wilderness Area, near Gold Canyon Ranch and King’s Ranch Road. The trail and spring should technically be called Petroglyph Springs and Trail, since the word “hieroglyph” refers to the complex drawings typical of ancient Egypt; “petroglyph” refers to the more simple drawings found in this area. The trail leads to Hieroglyphic Springs, an area with a remarkable number of petroglyphs.

The petroglyphs were made by the Hohokam people. They were farmers who lived in the south-central deserts of Arizona between 300 BC and 1450 AD. When the Hohokam arrived, they generally settled along the lush riparian river valleys of the region. The Hohokams’ excellent knowledge of canal building permitted them to develop an extensive irrigation system to farm the rich soils which surrounded these river basins.

The Hohokam diet consisted of corn (maize), beans and possibly squash. They also ate many of the native plants of the desert including Saguaro seed and Mesquite beans. Rabbit, bighorn sheep, and deer were important meat sources.

Hohokam villages began as a few scattered clusters of homes. Later, large compounds and “great houses” such as Casa Grande began to dominate. The homes were made from adobe and wood.

However, on this New Year’s Eve day, the springs were visited by a group of Motorolans and their dogs. We had Chuck and Peggy Giovaniello, Pat and Karen Martin, Ben Velasquez, Elaine Cobos, Bill Ruppert, Mike and Grace Haverty, Darleen Lindquist, Gerry Kinley, Doris Madueno, Doug and Erik Tomren, Tom, Jeannie and Jon Van Lew, Beth Baumert, Mike Wargel, Chuck Parsons, Doug Hawkins, Liyan Me and her son.

The trail is short and relatively easy so we reached the springs in good time. After a short snack, we broke out the champagne and sparkling cider, our plastic glassware and toasted to the New Year, a few hours early. We returned the way we came, with plenty of time for folks to rest up before the long night ahead of them.

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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated February 12, 2019