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Prospector’s View Figure-6
Superstitions
December 26, 2020
by Ted Tenny
  Trail Map 
group
Trailblazers at the bench below Capstone Arch. [photo by Quy]
front:  Quy, Lin
back: Kelley, John, Michelle, Doreen, Carl, Danielle, Betty, Ted

Ten tenacious Trailblazers set out from Crosscut Trailhead on a cool December morning. I got to the trailhead early, and chose to wait in my car for the others to arrive.

Jacob’s Crosscut Trail is named for Jacob Waltz, 1832-1891. He was called the Lost Dutchman, but he was actually German. “Friends” used to follow him when he would go dig up some more gold. He would let them follow him into the Superstitions, get them good and lost, and then go over to the Goldfields where the mine really was.

hikers
The north end of Jacob’s Crosscut Trail goes through a burned area. [photo by Lin]
hikers
The north end of Jacob’s Crosscut Trail goes through a burned area. [photo by Quy]
hikers
Trailblazers on Jacob’s Crosscut Trail. [photo by Ted]
roots
Tree with twisty roots. [photo by Quy]
lichen
I took at likin’ to the lichens. [photo by Ted]

We stayed together, mostly, until we got to the Prospector’s View Trail and started uphill. Everyone was waiting for me at the bench at the top. Then Carl and Bettye went on with me, while everyone else went with John on the rough, off-trail climb to the Capstone Arch.

hikers
About to begin climbing on the Prospector’s View Trail. [photo by Danielle]
hikers
The Prospector's View Trail parallels a canyon on the way up. [photo by Lin]
view
Four Peaks of the Mazatzals, with the Green Boulder in the foreground. [photo by Ted]
rocks
The mountain with the crooked top. [photo by Danielle]
arch
Capstone Arch. [photo by Quy]
view
We’re definitely on the downgrade. [photo by Ted]

On the way back I got to pet a mule. His rider invited me to pet him. I’ve seen many mules on hikes, but this the first time I’ve been invited to pet one.

rocks
Somebody has stacked up rocks by a tree on the old road. [photo by Ted]
view
The north end of Jacob’s Crosscut Trail goes through a valley. [photo by Ted]
mule
The mule Ted got to pet. [photo by John]
cactus
What’s going on here? [photo by Quy]
cactus
Dancing saguaros. [photo by Ted]

Everyone got back to the trailhead, safe and sound. I chose to sweep on the home stretch.

→   More pictures, by Quy
→   More pictures, by John

Supplemental Report
by John Scruggs

We pick one of the “trails” starting behind the bench at Prospector’s View that seemed to be heading for the part of the mountain where Ted said the arch would be found. None of the choices were actually trails. They all were just faint tracks where the golden straw-like grasses were a bit tramped down.

hikers
John leads the off-trail climb to the Capstone Arch. [photo by Ted]

The trail was steep, and the loose rock surface was tricky, but we confidently climbed toward our objective at the top of this ridge in the skirts of the mountain.

hikers
Climbing to the Capstone Arch. [photo by Lin]
view
The mountains are calling. [photo by Michelle]
arch
On the way to the Capstone Arch. [Michelle]

As we drew nigh to the face of the mountain above the skirting ridges, it became obvious to me that we were heading to an area too far west of the arch. Instead of heading straight up the mountain, we should have gone further to the right on the next path over.

rocks
Around the rugged rocks the ragged rascals ran. [photo by Danielle]

Upon reflection, I wish I had taken the time to climb on up with the rest of the group ahead of me to get a closer look at this feature, which I would call a pocket tank. It looks like it should hold a significant amount of water and may be the source of the name of the area, “First Water”.

hikers
John stops and looks west for a better trail. [photo by John]

As the rest of the group climbed on up to the pocket tank, I called out to them and told them that while they continued on up, I would scout west, to the right in this photo, to see if I could find a better approach to the arch.

hikers
John draws nearer to the arch. [photo by John]

As I got nearer to the arch, I realized that the path ahead to the left side of the arch wall was quite treacherous but passible. I saw that the safest approach appeared to be toward the east side.

hikers
Lin calls to John (just visible in a white shirt) to turn back. [photo by John]
view
View from the turnaround point in the hike to Capstone Arch. [photo by John]
arch
Climbing down from the Capstone Arch. [photo by Kelley]

It was about then that Lin called out to me to tell me that the rest of the cap-stoners were turning back, and that I should come on down. I reluctantly turned back, considering the risk of my path ahead to the west side of the arch wall and the danger of hiking alone. It would be gratifying to return some day and take the east side trail to get behind the arch.

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updated December 29, 2020