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Nov. 11, 2008 Spicules, Spines and Spurs on the Black Mesa Loop

(See Photo Album for Images)

On November 9 (Sunday) I decided to hike the 9 mile Black Mesa Loop Trail in the Superstition Mountains nearby.

I start the hike at the First Water Trailhead after driving Regina's Prius through 2.5 miles of very rugged, washboard gravelly dirt road. There were about 7 cars and trucks at the lot. The trailhead, despite it's name, begins on the SECOND Water Trail and makes a 9 mile loop through the Superstitions. My route would take me along the loop going in a clockwise fashion.

After hiking about 2.75 miles East on the Second Water Trail the first trail intersection brought me onto the Black Mesa Trail for about 3.5 miles. Next was the Lost Dutchman Trail which swings around clockwise and begins heading West. Lastly, I would pick up the 2.75 mile length of the Second Water again and head back to the car.

The 2nd Water Trail bought me through several extremely rocky washes. What struck me most about this entire loop was the pervasive, non-stop loose rockiness. I slipped up several times and almost fell on my bony butt. Luckily I had my poles with me. I love those things! For my day hikes, those are the one piece of gear that I would miss the most if they were taken away.

In many places, the trail merged so indistinguishably with the rest of the environment that I had a hard time telling if I was on the trail or not. My progressively good trail sense, I believe, gave me an edge in that respect. Also, in many cases, the trail was very narrow and it was at these locations that I realized how close I was to all of the prickly vegetation. I decided to start documenting all of the plants that had spines, spicules, spurs and needles.

I started the hike at 8am and finished at 11:30am exactly. The elevation change was very minimal and the weather was awesome! The temperature changed from aound the high 60's to the low 70's AND there was a good cool breeze much of the time. Of course, when hiking, your body temperature rises, too. So, the breeze and the fact that the sun was hidden behind a very cloudy and foreboding sky most of the time gave me a wondeful feeling. It was perfect hiking weather. I was alittle worried, though, that it was gonna rain; but it never did.

One of the greatest sites along the trail was Weaver's Needle in the distance; a tall, thin, sharper looking Devil's Tower sort of mesa formation on the close horizen. Many trails lead up to it. One of these days I'd love to hike there. Also, there were many open and flat areas along the trail that are used by campers (no campers today). Many had charred remnants of wood in firepits. This is another thing I'd love to do here: camp overnight. Isaac would probably like it, too.

During the entire hike I only drank a little less than a litre of water and ate about 2 Balance bars.

This time I decided to place my heavy water containers on the BOTTOM of the pack and next to my back (as opposed to at the top of the pack and against my back). I believe it helped, as my neck, back, and shoulders didn't feel as sore as other times.

I would have liked better footing on all that loose rock. The running shoes I wore didn't help much. I'm not even sure hiking boots would have helped any better, although they would have put less stress on my ankles, as they were twisting, turning and getting bumped up a bit with no support.

Overall, the hike was fun and felt very good. Black Mesa Trail is a popular hike in the Superstitions and is not difficult to do, just be prepared for the rocks and spurs!

There are 2 responses: Leave a comment
No May 27, 2009
Response by Frank
I am Gordon Freedman.

Half - Life May 27, 2009
Response by Alec Kraynak
Did you see Gordon freeman on the Black Mesa loop?

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