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Hackberry Loop Day Hike
Superstition Mountains
September 9, 2017
by Tamar Gottfried
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hikers
There’s water in the creek this morning.

On an unseasonably cool morning, 12 Trailblazers met before dawn and shuttled up the rutted First Water Road to arrive at an empty trailhead. We hit the trail by 6:10 AM, noting a moist trail under our feet and lots of tiny hopping toads on our path.

We quickly passed the Lost Dutchman trail junction and crossed First Water wash, diverting off the main trail to the left toward Hackberry Spring.

Shortly thereafter, we stopped abruptly after encountering a recently dead young deer in the middle of the path. Unpleasant smells abounded, but the animal showed no signs of being traumatized by scavengers. We gingerly walked around it and continued on our way.

narrows
Approaching the narrows.
water
It’s mostly dry on this side.
water
Slickrock view of the Superstition Ridgeline.
sun
Then the sun came out.
rocks
Watch your step!

There were pools of water on our path and lots of mud left over from this week’s rainfall. We followed one creek bed for a bit and then crossed the desert to get to the larger creek. A little boulder hopping and some water crossings were required, but we marveled at the lush landscape as we made our way to the spring.

Michael
Michael knows the way to Hackberry Spring.

We took a brief break at the spring and continued our way along the water and then emerged up out of the riparian zone into the red desert, with views of Four Peaks on one side, and views of the Superstition Ridgeline on the other. After a look at an old mine site and a little climb, we reached the turn off for the famous Garden Valley arch. Michael took a group of eight up to explore, while I set off through the muddy valley with the remaining four.

group
Here’s some level ground for a group picture.
trail
Hmmm, this seems to be the trail.
hike
Now we’re on the way to Garden Valley.

We later all converged at the trailhead, just as the sun was really starting to shine and the temps were beginning to rise. By 9:40, we said our good byes and headed back to town.

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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated September 9, 2017