3-14 through 3-19 2009 Upper Horrell Trail Head to Picket Post
Nancy, Connie, & Judy
3-14-09 It’s spring & we were all ready to do a big hike. Since my goal for years was to do all the trails in the Superstition’s it was my chance to do the 4 miles from Fire Line Trail to Oak Flats. Connie had done the Spencer Trail with me yrs ago but couldn’t remember it, good thing as she would of not gone. This was all new to Nancy, what she didn’t know wasn’t going to hurt her.
So off we went with hubbies dropping us off at Upper Horrell, south of Roosevelt Lake. We made good time getting up there, as we started at 10a.m. Sunny to partly cloudy in the 60’s. The hike skirts around Reavis Mt School, a beauty spot of heaven! The trail starts off quite nice, follows Campaign Trail & creek, eventually gets rocker & more difficult. It was warm so glad to see clouds coming in. A comment was made at 1 point if we didn’t know better they looked like thunderclouds. Beautiful green, lot of water but next to no wildflowers but a flock of Robin’s flew over. We came to the y of the Fire line Trail & Campaign Creek. A large nice fire ring. A couple just stopped with their 2 dogs, we continued on the trail about ½ miles. We found a nice camp spot across the creek & by this time no blue sky & while we were sitting up Conies new REI tent there was a crack of thunder, which was a shock, no prediction of storms! We finished cleaning up, firewood etc when it started to rain. Good time to check out the interior of the tent. Nancy brought cheese, crackers & the cutest shot of liquor in a bag she bought at AJ”S, Wow what a treat! We had covered the wood so after about 45 min it had cleared up so had a nice campfire & evening.
3-15 Woke up in the 30’s some ice in our water bottles. Connie slept cold, but she brought no sleep wear top & ¾ air mattress, she had nothing under her feet, of course we gave her a hard time of bringing a pillow but no trail ale or warm evening wear. From this point to Oak Flats we only averaged 1 mile an hour. It was a rocky, steep trail, with some cat claw, but we had time so enjoyed the fresh air, Sycamore trees, creek & by now more wildflowers. Once we got to the fence line it was down hill from there. Once we got to Oak Flats someone left a fire going with a log in it, very disturbing. I went to look for Spence Trail, Connie made several trips to the creek to down the foolish mistake on some ones part. We found a lovely sandy spot for camp. We are trying out a new water tablet that Fred Gaudet told us about called Aqua Mira, Nancy sent for them as we could not find them in Phoenix, this certainly makes water duty a snap.
3-16 Once again we had ice in out water containers, so the fire felt good! Not a maintained or used trail we knew it was going to be a long day, & that it was. It is one of the most beautiful Superstition hikes, if you can handle the bushwhacking, cat claw, & scarce amount of cairns. I’m thankful for my GPS, but being off even 3 ft & weeds up to your waist or brush still makes it hard. We did our best for the next hikers to build the cairns a bit higher or break a branch once in awhile. There was lots of water in Spencer Creek, waterfalls & again beautiful large Sycamore Tree. By the time we made it to Rd 650 I calculated it took 1.5 hrs per mile. It was a 1-mile on 650 to Reavis Trail, which is part of the AZT. We were happy to see a well-maintained trail! It is now 4:30p.m & the 1st spot that we find water will be camp. We bee lined it quickly the next 3 miles making a joke doing 3 miles an hr which took us most to the day on the other trail, we occasionally glanced at more wildflowers going down in elevation, we even came across a tinajas Spanish meaning large earthen jar. My sites was looking out for water, I’m sure Sirena (a gal from Tucson hiking the AZT) ears were ringing as she hiked this passage the week before & had told me water was every where, we laughed as everywhere-where? At 5:30p.m. I walked right by a 3 ft Western Diamond Back Rattlesnake; the 2nd hiker Connie let the canyon know it was there. It had time to coil, rattle & strike her boot; she said it felt like a tap, all at the same time. By the time the 3rd hiker Nancy came by it was so camouflaged it took her minutes to spot it, although that rattle never stopped. I had to do a “Get A Way Snake Dance” with my hiking stick around a boulder to get her through. Thank goodness we found water at 6p.m. with frogs croaking, & mosquitos! We camped on a huge slanted boulder as there was no other place to camp, but that was ok as we were ready to settle down for the night. Once 8p.m I took a P.M. Tablet & went to sleep, yea a good night sleep for the 1st time in a couple of nights.
3-17-09 Happy St Patty’s Day! Wegreeted the morning with green ankle bracelets, Irish stickers; it was going to be a great day! By 11:30a.m.we came across another Rattlesnake about the same size of the day before but this time he was smart enough to rattle all the way to the bushes! We were happy to see Whitford Canyon with all the water, wildflowers, cardinals & large Cottonwood trees. It was very hot day in the high 80s, we camped near Barnett Camp an old rock house that included 2 huge boulders for the 2 sides, & rock every where else including window frames but no roof. Nancy brought green rice crispy treats for desert-yea, I brought Irish whisky, so we had an enjoyable evening!3-18 We knew it was going to be another hot day so we got started at 8a.m., lots of wildflowers & the scenery of Picket Post was unbelievable! We stopped off at a large Saguaro to put a pick ribbon on it for pictures. We reached picket post at a good time, almost to early, but we cleaned up as much as possible with a damp cloth, clean clothes & off for a cold beer at Dos Hernandez. The bartender was telling us about the day before how a guy came in a laid a headless rattlesnake on the bar & started to skin it. We continue on to the Mexican restaurant a block east of there to have lunch then on to Superior to see what shopping we could do. We made a nice camp near Picket Post as we were meeting up with the Old Back Country Hiking Club the next morning. 3-19 By 10a.m.7 of us, Hal, Marilyn, Al, Jack, Linda, Nancy & I were hiking the AZT south of Picket Post, the higher we got up the more flowers we saw, including a desert tortoise. We stopped at the dry creek bed where we went down the Riverbed a few feet to the area Orphan Boy Mine was. Jack & I hiked to a hole above the creek to fine a great mine with a ladder, and a wheel going down to a shaft, then horizontally was another shaft, it was pretty exciting as we both wanted flashlights to go farther! But we ended up turning around & going back the same way we came. I picked up a thistle to show the group a great desert celery plant to eat. We then made our way to Dos Hernandez for Mexican Food, made it home by 4 p.m. A great 5 days! Umbrella came in handy for rain & sunHiking sticksAqua Mira tablets REI Tent worked well with 2 doors Oh I don’t want to forget the rice crispy treats, was a treat!