I belong to several hiking groups but either because of an aging leader base, disinterest, injury, the group hikes have been lame at best. Then, last week, someone put me onto a Phoenix hiking group, "Hikers Hiking Hikers" that is a prolific scheduler and so I signed up for a hike and drove to Apache Junction and the fabulous Superstition Wilderness. Even though it was a Thursday morning, seven of us showed up including Letlet, showing off a color coordinated hiking outfit that included a wild pair of socks. She and husband David lead lots of hikes and are good people with whom to hike on this beautiful day with highs in the mid 70's.
We hike, steeply at times, from the desert floor where we paused to regroup and I took this image, which includes the parking lot with our vehicles.
Gaining more elevation, views open to the southeast. I took around 50 images and had to abandon so many good ones to fit into this space.
How about that? Our destination, the left peak and the approach from the right looks kind of steepish, no? Actuallym the cave is just below the peak but still a quality climb.
Higher yet, still looking southeast, a distant mountain rises above the mist...look closely.
We pause to regroup and I show my amazing sense of balance, with the aid of a hiking pole, to show the way.....actually, that is not the way but somewhat close to the way as we head straight over my head. Note too the unfashionable hat, necessary with the cloudless day.
More great views, this time to the east. We passed a small pool of water and found a tortoise shell nearby. I announced that the tortoise removes the shell prior to crawling into the water for a bath. One person in the group believed me.
We had the privilege of having a park ranger, Mike, come along for the hike with Armando on the right listening to Mike comment about something. Mike was a great asset and it was fun to hear him talk about various features and plant life.
Oh geesh, almost to the ascent up the right side. Like always, the image does not do justice to how freakin steep is that grade.
We passed and rose above the "Fortress" on the left, named by rock climbers.
We arrived at the aforementioned slope and began a climb so steep that whatever is the grade at which ropes are needed, we were 1% just under that. Again, the images do nothing to show how challenging was the climb. In the distance, you can make out a couple of my fellow hikers beginning the climb.
We reach the cave, a neat spot with a fire ring and cover from the elements. We also saw and arch above so Armando and I.....
.....scrambled around until we were able to reach the arch. A huge rock slab prevented us from getting all the way into it.
While we were off trail but following a faint use path. we could hear voices below and spotted 5 horses on the Peralta Trail as we shoved off for the next destination on our trip......
.....Weaver's Needle as I stand next to the Lone Pine.
Stepping as far out as I could just prior to plunging into the abyss, I took this image. I then left the group as I wanted to get back as soon as I could and while briskly walking down.....
...I almost stepped on a baby rattler. Isn't he/she cute? No? I prodded it off the trail so no one would accidently step on it. The youngsters bite and then just inject all the available venom rather than conserve the poison. Nasty. Well, finished with 7 miles and another good hike tomorrow.