Arizonahikers.com started something new called “Epic Hike.” Once a month we do a hike out of the ordinary or something big. The first one (which started it all) was the West Fork Wade, which was a strenuous hike and wade through a canyon. This one I missed but from what I hear was a killer.
The Superstition Ridgeline is a 10.5-mile trek. The elevation profile of this hike shows and elevation gain of plus 3980 feet, and a total descent of minus 4220. Participants at the beginning were, Mike, Canyon Dweller (me), Jmzblond, JW63, HikerInGilbert, Daddee, GTG, Kurthzone, CK1, Outside 1 and Arizonaheat
We had decided to start at 5:30 in the morning so I set my alarm for 4:00. I had the choice to meet the group at our starting point, Carney Springs or our pick up point at Lost Dutchman State Park (LDSP). I was not about to get up at 3:00 to meet them at 4:30. After getting only 4 ½ hours of sleep my alarm got me up at 4:00. I soon left after and went to pick up Mike. Not to far down the Loop 101 we had to detour off the Loop which delayed us for about a half an hour. Right as we hit Highway 60 Todd called us and told us he was barely leaving LDSP after a half hour delay relocating the vehicles due to closures of the park. Right as we passed Idaho Rd we passed Todd and Kent just getting on Hwy. 60. I then just followed them to the turnoff where the road gets to rough for a passenger car. Mike and I hopped into one of the vehicles there and they took us to the trailhead. By this time it was 6:00. We were supposed to be hiking by 5:30.
After GTG shuffled, reshuffled and reshuffled pack we were on our way (so we thought). We crossed the fence and lost the trail from the start. Kent was suppose to be our guide since he had done this hike before, but was on the phone and could not find the trail. What a great start! We found the trail and was on our way. Within 2 minutes of hiking we were heading up and it was steep. The trail took us up through a very beautiful canyon with a cirque of spires and spines and hoodoos. Unfortunately it was too dark to take any pictures. Not to longer we lost the trail again, and just bushwhacked up the slope to a ridge where we caught the trail again. It was somewhere in here Mike had to turn around due to an ankle injury. He headed back and drove around to Siphon Draw to meet us there. We then headed around the side of the canyon and up to West Boulder Saddle. From here we had our first views of Superstition Peak. There were Hoodoos on every ridge surrounding us. It was very breathtaking. Not to longer up the trail Weavers Needle came into view. This was a very different view of this peak. We could see the huge flat top of it. We proceeded up the trail and it just got steeper and the brush, bushes, cactus, and agaves were scraping our legs up. I think everybody got poked by the cacti sometime through here. Colin got the worst of it getting stabbed by an agave plant and the needle stuck into him. He noticed this after his calf muscle cramped up really bad. Todd tried to get it out, but it was in him really good and he had to suffer through the rest of the hike with this in his leg. (This is desert hiking at its best!)
Before 10:00 we were getting ready to summit Superstition Peak. Near the top we encountered a short class 3 scramble with an exposed nice class 4 maneuver with minimal handholds to get to the peak. This was quite a dramatic finish. The view was incredible. Seamed like we were on top of the world. The view of the Superstitions was incredible. We even had a good view of Picket Post Mountain. I enjoyed this much more than the Flatiron. We rested on top for a while and headed back down. Not too far down the trail we lost it AGAIN! Kent then informs us that he takes a different route in this area every time. Not to long later we were back on the trail. The trail (or lack there of) took us through some interesting colliers with some class 3 scrambling. Once we reached point 4,869 everybody skirted around it except for me. I was too close to the top to pass it up. Being an avid peak bagger I try to make the most of every opportunity. This point had a great view of the Flatiron and Superstition Peak. Not to longer later we took lunch, which was about 1:30. We stayed there about an hour then proceeded. We had some easy traveling heading down and on level ground until we started to ascend up towards the Flatiron. At this point I was exhausted and my legs were scratched to pieces. I did not want to go up again. It was up and down, up and down all day and we had a bit of elevation to ascend to reach the top of Siphon Draw. Once we reached the top of Siphon Draw it was a relief. Only down faced us. Jarred headed down and me and whoever else I was with waited for the rest of the group. Colin in pain from the spine in his leg over compisated on his other leg and his knee started to give him problems. Now he has a thorn in one leg and a knee on the other that does not want to work. Stan also was having knee problems. I decided to hang back with Stan and Colin. Todd and Tony also did the same. Todd and Colin never had climbed in Siphon Draw before and was not sure what to expect. I forgot how steep it was. This is not an area you want to go down when your knee does not want to bend. I had had this problem before and knew what the pain is like. I could not imagine being in that sort of pain heading down Siphon Draw. It would be HELL. Colin kept making jokes about finding some nice spots to sit and quit till he felt better. At some point in this canyon I ran out of water, and so did just about everybody else. Once we hit the bottom it was about 5:30 and getting dark. I decided to take off. About 14 minutes later I saw Tony quickly catching me. I stopped and waited for him. We reached the trailhead and I did not know where to go. We decided to go to the ranger station. About a half a mile later Tony remembered he had a walkie-talkie. He radioed the people in the group and the told us to go back to the restrooms. Once at the restrooms SandeeJ and Hoolie, from Arizonahikers.com, greeted us and took me to the correct parking lot. Tony went back to wait for the next person to show them the way. We would have never found it if Tony never called in. At the parking lot a huge group of Arizonahikers greeted me. It was a relief as my legs were aching and my feet were killing me. I was so sick of walking.
We all headed into Apache Junction and got a bite to eat a Mexican restaurant then headed back to Carney Springs to get our vehicles. The time I dropped mike off and got home it was after 12:00am. What a long day; 12 hours of hiking, 10 miles and 20.5 hours of being awake all off of 4.5 hours of sleep.
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