Thursday, January 24, 2013

Superstition Wilderness: Charlebois Spring

Superstition Wilderness

Finally, a return trip to the Superstitions. Last time was just a day hike around Lost Dutchman State Park. This time I would actually be traveling into the backcountry and spending the night. The Superstition Mountains (or "the Supes" as the locals say) is a 159,757 acre federally designated Wilderness in some of the most ruggedly beautiful Sonoran desert landscape I've seen. Not long after we struck out from the First Water trailhead I was in awe of the beauty of the place, and wondering why I hadn't spent more time here.

Superstition Wilderness
Giant Saguaro
 On Dutchman Trail #104 I noticed immediately the huge and dramatic rock formations that make up these mountains. It made for some awesome eye candy during  my walk. Especially with the impressive, 1000' Weavers Needle towering in the background. I mentioned the legend of the Lost Dutchman's Gold in a previous blog, well another part of the legend claims that the shadow cast by Weavers Needle at a certain time of day will reveal the location of the lost gold.

Weavers Needle
Weavers Needle

It was a hot hike, but never miserably so. I think the temps only reached the low 80's, although it felt like more at times under the relentless sun. The Supes are a place to hike in the winter time. In the summer temps can reach 115 degrees, and water is sometimes impossible to find. In January the heat wasn't so bad, and water was plentiful (for the desert I mean).


The Superstitions

I don't know if they call these mountains The Superstitions because of the Lost Dutchman story, or because of the rock formations, some of which can be quite mysterious. I mean, this looks like a place of superstitions and hidden treasures. In a sense it is, if you know where to look. In these mountains you can find Hohokam petroglyphs, Spanish hieroglyphs, and supposedly buried gold.


Superstition Wilderness
Faces in the rocks. Can you see them?

Superstition Wilderness


Overall it was a great trip. The only disappointment was our camp at Charlebois Spring (pronounced Charlie Boy), which was tucked away in a canyon choked full of very spiny vegetation. There wasn't really any good spot to pitch a tent, and camping next to us was a large group of Boy Scouts who started hootin' and hollerin' at about 6 in the morning on Sunday.

Superstition Wilderness

On the way out Sunday, I kept thinking how much I wanted to stay. One night in the backcountry is really just a tease. I want to stay longer. Maybe a week... Or a month... Yeah, a month sounds good.