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Hackberry Springs Loop
Superstition Wilderness
September 10, 2022
by Tamar Gottfried
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Group photo. [photo by Li]
Robert, Anna, Michael, Li, Diane, Tamar, Terry.

Seven trailblazers arranged a last-minute desert hike to welcome fall 2022. We met and drove to First Water Trailhead on a muggy post rain morning when the high temperatures were forecast to stay under the century mark. After a quick sign in and hello to the tiny frogs at the trailhead, we were on our way by 6:45 AM.

There were few cars in the parking lot and a lot of overgrowth along the trail, which was unusual. I had a bit of trouble finding the little social trail to the left of the trail after First Water Creek, but with a little bushwhacking, it became more obvious. We had stepped around in some high grass and were distressed to find out that most of us had barely missed stepping on a hidden coiled rattlesnake.

Snake in the grass. [photo by Li]

We continued on the social trails, seeing a little water in the creek beds, but only two other hikers. Eventually after a bit of bouldering and rock walking, we went up the side trail that goes around to the Hackberry spring. A small break ensued in this little verdant slice of heaven. The smell of chaparral permeated the green grasses and trees.

Tamar leads the hike. [photo by Li]
We’re about to emerge into the sunlight. [photo by Tamar]

We continued on our way, up out of the creek bed and into the sun. We went up to the Garden Valley plateau expecting a lot of mud after the rainy night, but it was pretty dry. Two more black rattlesnakes were noted along the path. We followed this popular trail back to First Water, only encountering two more hikers in those 2 miles.

We all reached the cars by 10 AM, as it was beginning to feel warmer and were safely back in air conditioning shortly after, happy to have seen the summer/fall desert and a few of her inhabitants in its glory.

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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated September 13, 2022