It's an hour+ drive to Canyon Lake in the Superstition Wilderness but well worth it. Oddly, the day was overcast but that's good for hiking since I don't have to drink and carry as much water. Nevertheless, I brought 3 liters with me for this 10 mile hike.
Once leaving the parking lot, it is a long and fairly steep ascent but the Canyon Lake trail is in good shape and wide, as if someone had laid cobblestones. Above I near the summit.
Dang, wish the sun was out but without it the scene is kind of eerie with Weavers Needle prominent in the background and Battleship Mountain center-left. Upon reaching the top of the climb, I found a young guy from Toledo laying on the ground. Kind of odd to be taking a nap at 7:30am but oh well.
A short walk later, the valley to the southeast opens and shows me where I am going. Upon reaching that creek bed at mile 3.2, I go off trail to the left of Battleship Mountain and towards that triangular peak in the distance.
I reach the creek bed, LaBarge Creek, wide and pebbly at first but soon the canyon narrows and narrows, the rocks give way to boulders and.....
...Battleship looms above me to the right.
There are some cairns to show the way but they are infrequent, probably the recent rains washing many away
How about that? At mile 4, I begin to run into pools of water but they are avoided by bushwhacking around to the right or left. Lots of frogs jump into the pools as I near and as usual, I am ever watchful for snakes. Getting bitten out here in the middle of no where would suck. I watch where I place my hands prior to pulling myself up and over boulders, watch ledges carefully, the usual stuff.
Almost at mile 5, the canyon approaches a vertical wall. I know from reading hike reports that the canyon becomes very narrow and shoots sharply to the left at this point.
I enter the narrow zig-zag corridor. Smooth rock lines the narrow base with water rushing through it but there is enough space to walk alongside it.
A stupendous experience in this narrow, twisty corridor with the walls soaring above me on both sides. During heavy rain, the last place to be and as I contemplated taking a snack break, it began to rain. If I continued forward, I would exit this narrow corridor, it would open up and around mile 6, the Calvary Trail would cross the creek and I could loop around but I didn't want to chance missing the trail and intended to turn around at this point anyway so turn around I did. Soon, I discovered the Toledo guy sleeping on a rock. Weird. He woke up and I briefly spoke to him but did not linger. Why would a guy who was, by his own admission, oblivious to what lay ahead (the zig-zag corridor) go off the trail into a creek bed, lay down and fall asleep?
I traipsed back down the canyon, located the trail, climbed out of the canyon, looked back, wow.
Later, I came across this guy but he was harmless. Small diameter but very long.
The clouds began to move out and brilliant blue sky approached. Finished with 10 miles and 3000' of climbing in just under 6 hours.
Mark is a long-time cyclist who enjoys poking fun at himself but most especially at his friends. No nicknames or comments are intended to offend, accept them in the humor they are intended.