While I waited to start my job with Aramark, I decided what better time to do a little journey into the local wilderness. When visiting in the summer, we did a short jaunt into the nearby Superstition Mountains and I thought it would be exciting to go back and do some more exploring. The Wilderness area is huge, 160,000 acres, and trails criss-cross the mountain range. About an hours drive from Scottsdale and on the very Eastern edge of the Metropolitan area, the Superstitions provide a great opportunity to really escape the hustle and bustle of the big city. The desert landscape is filled with all sorts of cacti including the mighty saguaro and the obscure Jumping Cholla- it looks like a tree cactus. While it is almost unbearable to hike in the summer (daytime temps above 120F), winter is much cooler and actually quite pleasant. Pockets of water can be found along the perennial streams, saving you the trouble of trying to carry 1 gallon/person/day, as recommended.
I traced a nice 22 mile loop along the Boulder Canyon Trail and then the Dutchman’s trail. I encountered several small groups of people along the way. Surprisingly, most were elderly folks out on day hikes. User made campsites can be spotted all along the trail, though there doesn’t seem to be any designated campgrounds in the wilderness area. When I was tired, I found a nice little spot among some mesquite trees. I made a little campfire and cooked my traditional backpacking meal of ramen, beefing it up with a can tuna. I tried to stay awake for a bit to read, but I was tired from the day’s adventures and fell asleep soon after the sun went down. No joke, I was probably asleep by 6 o’clock!
The next morning was rough trying to get out of the sleeping bag. The desert may heat up during the day, but it sure cools off at night. It must’ve been around 40 degrees when I packed my things and hit the trail. I was sweating soon enough though. All in all, my first backpacking trip into the Superstitions was a good one. It was a good taste of the Sonoran desert back country and I hope to be back soon!