I am out the door at 5am, drive 90 minutes north, park, hop in the above Forester, drive 90 minutes to cover about 17 miles, some of that paved. The final 12 miles was really rough and at one point, a new rattle popped up and we had to stop to check it out. Grand view to the southwest. Doug, our driver, decided it was a bushing around steering linkage and we would be good to go.
Seven of us headed out for a 15 mile hike that included a visit to Reavis Ranch where Elisha Reavis the "Hermit of the Superstitions" lived prior to being bushwhacked and killed in 1896. The guy tended a farm in the eastern "Supes", sometimes making the long journey to Florence to sell his vegetables.
Far different from the western portion of the Supersititon Wilderness, the landscape is dominated by Junipers and Pinon pines. I had been hoping to do this hike for a long time but was underwhelmed, probably because this reminds me too much of hiking in Ohio forests which I find boring. But, if you do most of your hiking around Phoenix/Tucson, you may find this refreshing.
A couple of times we break from the forests into meadow hiking. I found staying on the trail a little tricky in here so pay attention although if you keep the stream to your right, you will probably be ok.
Now this was a fascinating sight, a 200+ year old Alligator Juniper, still growing. Lisa, a trainer of marathoners and dietician, provides a point of reference for the diameter of the giant tree.
Five of us had walked past this point when we discovered this baby Tarantula. Surprised it had not been crushed. We are in the middle of their mating season so they are on the move.
We reenter the forest where now Ponderosa pines are plentiful. We began and mostly hiked at 5500' elevation. We began the hike with a temperature of 51 degrees and it didn't rise much thereafter.
As we approached the ranch, we found several pear trees but may be another week or two before they are ripe. There is an apple orchard farther north and some apple trees here too but the few hikers who visit this remote area, along with bears and other critters, have stripped fruit from all the lower branches.
We reach the ranch and find some old implements while we eat snacks and rest.
Then we begin our journey back, retracing our route. Many stream crossing for the entirety of the route.
The final 1.5 miles is uphill but before reaching that ascent, there is a short side trail that takes us to Reavis' grave. A head stone was stolen in the 1920's so all that remains is a rock pile and a crude cross. So, I had been thinking of the final climb and the likelihood it would be a segment on Strava. Hmmmm, what to do, what to do, stay with the group or appear to be a jerk and take off. Of course I.....
….took off, using the grave visit as a way to be at the head of the column as it reemerged onto the main trail. I picked up the pace, hit the bottom of the climb arrived at the trail head where the rest of the group arrived not too long thereafter. As for Strava…..
…..not only 2nd but crushed by the KOM finisher. Guy had to run it to get that time! Well, after the drive home, my legs were really stiff. Can't use the community spa because I was seen jumping the fence on Sunday to get into the pool area (my key card inexplicably would not work) so received a 2 week suspension. No excuse for jumping the fence I am told. Visited bike shops on Friday and getting ready to lead a group hike on Saturday.