Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Arizona National Trail—Passage 19 Scouting Trip (April 25, 2016)

Superstition Wilderness  (Rogers Trough Trailhead to Theodore Roosevelt Lake)


According to the book, page 159….  this passage still gives trail users a genuine sense of wilderness as it traverses the east side, farthest from Phoenix, and the trailheads require long drives on four-wheel-drive roads. 

I could not drive to Rogers Trough Trailhead at the southern end of the passage as it required a 4-wheel drive vehicle.  This passage is 28.7 miles long.

According to the book, page 341:  These mountains, known as the Superstition-Goldfield Volcanic Zone, represent the transition from the Basin and Range to the Central Highlands.  If we could have observed what occurred in this area between 24 and 15 million years ago (the Middle Tertiary period), we would have been utterly astounded at the magnitude of the volcanic eruptions and the epic scale of the cataclysms that ensued. 

Once the Superstitions went through their most eruptive cycles, a large caldera formed.  Because magma still bubbled beneath the surface, the caldera was pushed and arched up into what is called a resurgent dome.  The current Superstitions are a resurgent dome that has eroded and faulted over time to give us the current dramatic range.  two of the most visible landmarks—Weaver’s Needle and Picketpost Mountain—are resistant, erosional remnants of the cataclysm.

I am eager to hike this Passage and see all that.

As for the other trailhead access points, I checked out what I could, and may return to look at Two Bar Ridge Trailhead if I can drive to it.  Revision: I forgot about doing this but didn’t realize it until I got back up north toward Payson…. so I guess it will be a surprise.


The Frazier Trailhead is a good for those towing horse trailers, and close to the highway 188.  The AZT is 1.2 miles from the trailhead.  I did not hike this trail.  I found what I think is a horse skull someone set on a rock.  Ick.  There is also a power substation there, so I did not park or try to stay there overnight.


Driving on north on Hwy 188, I checked out the Roosevelt Cemetery Trailhead. This is right on the highway at an RV park, across from the Visitor Center.


I’ve seen this lovely plant before but don’t know the name.  A hummingbird was visiting but I could not capture his photo.


What can I say, I’m a genealogist, and I love cemeteries.  Roosevelt Dam Cemetery.  From Find-A-Grave.

The Historic Roosevelt Cemetery was created as a new cemetery that burials from the old Roosevelt and Cline Cemeteries interred where moved to as the Lake was forming during the construction of Roosevelt Dam and for new burials from those that lost their lives during the project.There are very few marked graves only a few monuments and wooden markers,as many where buried using wooden crosses in unmarked graves there are between 50 to 75 visible markers but the number of buried is probably much higher.The cemetery is maintained by the U S Forest Service near Roosevelt Lake.


Few of the graves had headstones.  I saw these:  Aiden and Moses Murphy, John Loger, and Wm Dillon.  May have been more stones hidden among the cactus.


But the Prickly Pear are alive and well.


A bench outside the Cemetery. 


The AZT was only .25 miles up the trail, from the parking lot. Going up the trail past the Cemetery a short way, you come to this gate and sign.


More of those little Hens and Chickens????  These blooms were old and drying up.


Not sure what this plant was either.

The Roosevelt Lake Visitor Center and Marina is across the road and has limited services. Visitor Center does have restrooms, running water, and a coke machine.  It actually seemed like a ghost town to me.  Staff was nice but could not tell me where the AZT trail came out at the end of this Passage (I know it was near Hwy 188 and 88, but driving past it, I could not find it.  And it is not a good place to stop.

I am very eager to hike this Passage as there is an historic ranch on it.


Passage 19 ends at the Bridge and Passage 20 begins at the point this photo was taken from… the Theodore Roosevelt Lake Trailhead, a parking area on the east side of the road, north of the bridge.  The trail is accessed on the other side of the road. 


I skipped a lot of Passage 19 as it was so difficult to get to the trailheads by van and I was eager to get to the Barnhardt Trailhead and meet up with the AZT Volunteer Vacation group and see them off on their week of trail work.

Last: Passage 18- Reavis Canyon

Next: Passage 20 – Four Peaks  

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Monday, April 25, 2016

Arizona National Trail—Passage 18 Scouting Trip (April 25, 2016)

Reavis Canyon


Passage 18 begins at Picketpost Trailhead in the shadow of Picketpost Mountain.


Passage 17 ends here and Passage 18 begins.  It’s 499 miles to the Utah border.


The trail starts off from the parking lot of the trailhead, near the Equestrian Parking area.


I am only carrying my day pack today, as yesterday’s five mile hike was hard on this old body.  This will give me a chance to loosen up my muscles.  Nothing is sore.  Nothing hurts.


Well, this is a first, I got lost… or rather the trail got lost.  Shortly after coming out of the parking area you come to this section of paved road.  The old wooden trail marker has an arrow pointing to the right, so I went right down this road… and soon came to a pile of rock which blocks the road… there is a faint trail going off to the side so I take it even through it does not look like the AZT.


I spot a post, but it turns out not to be an AZT marker.  I look back and see a trail coming over the dumped rock and gravel. 


I go on following a faint cattle trail which goes under the underpass, but it still does not look like an AZT tread.  I come to a cowboy fence, but it is too tight for me to open, and it does not appear that people are walking through there.  I decide I have gotten off the AZT and begin to retrace my steps… feeling frustrated.


I spot the first lizard that held still long enough for me to get a photo.  Can you see him?  His tail is hanging down off that bark, about in the center.


I spot a claim and decide to share a photo.  Inside is paper laying out the boundaries of the claim.


Finally I get back to the paved road and the bad signpost, and look across the road and off to the left a little and spot a rock cairn at the edge of the pavement and a well trod trail leading off and downhill a bit.  I am back on the AZT. I took a minute to try and fix the sign so others did not also take a wrong turn here.   Getting lost added about 45 min. to my hike for today, but I don’t mind as a surprise lays ahead.  Click on photos for larger views.


According to the trail guide, page 152, … on the east side of the Superstition Wilderness.  This trail features beautiful Sonoran Desert landscapes with panoramic views of the Superstition Mountains to the northwest, Picketpost Mountain to the south, and the Apache Leap formation to the east.



What?  Chalcedony with fire in it!!  I found rocks!!  Good rocks.  And some great Chalcedony with beautiful white druzy with large crystals.  Will make some great jewelry of these pieces and am thinking they might be a good fundraising item for my trail gear --- jewelry from the Arizona Trail..


I stopped on the return hike in the same area to see what else I could find.  Found a whole outcropping on one of the trail steps… and more on rocks around the area.


Yet another surprise for me… a caterpillar like none I have ever seen.  Internet calls it the caterpillar of a Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly… which is a beautiful iridescent blue with orange spots.  Feels like a successful hike to me and I’m not done yet with surprises.


Another rock cairn.


So here is the largest surprise of the day, a large piece of Indian pottery.  I collected it as it was in the wash and would get pushed on farther downstream in the next rain.  I recorded the GPS coordinates and am mailing it and the information to the archaeologist responsible for this area.  It is against the law to collect such things, but since I found no other artifacts in the area and it was in a wash, means it has no PROVENANCE anyway… and I am not keeping it for myself or for personal gain but to add to the archaeological data base for the area.

From Wikipedia:  Provenance (from the French provenir, "to come from"), is the chronology of the ownership, custody or location of a historical object.[1] The term was originally mostly used in relation to works of art, but is now used in similar senses in a wide range of fields, including archaeology, paleontology, archives, manuscripts, printed books, and science and computing. The primary purpose of tracing the provenance of an object or entity is normally to provide contextual and circumstantial evidence for its original production or discovery, by establishing, as far as practicable, its later history, especially the sequences of its formal ownership, custody, and places of storage. The practice has a particular value in helping authenticate objects. Comparative techniques, expert opinions, and the results of scientific tests may also be used to these ends, but establishing provenance is essentially a matter of documentation.


I carry on northward on Passage 18 under the highway.  Going through these tunnels is always a little creepy.  At the other end is some trash and water bottles.


I think animals probably scattered the trash, but I collected it all and placed rocks on top, hoping whomever left this cache will come back and collect it all.  It was too far for me to carry it all back out.


I guess whomever that was, stopped at this overpass and parked along the highway and walked down the embankment to leave the items.  The gallon jugs had been tied together and most were empty.  One had a little water left in it.


I walk on.  Found a Barrel cactus with one fruit left on it… and pieces of other fruits which some critter had eaten.


Looking back toward Picketpost Mountain.  Can it get any prettier than this?


I wonder what that rock is???


And how odd, a piece of rope braided and left at one of the overpasses.


It spite of getting off on the wrong foot and getting lost, it was a wonderful hike, made more enjoyable by only carrying a day pack, and topping it off by running into Jack, who is doing the AZT by Unicycle of all things.  Geez, and I thought I had it tough.

I left at 9am and returned to van at 12 noon.  This hike was the most fun for me so far, because I found rocks and artifacts.  What a hoot.  Life truly does not get any better than this, until tomorrow.

I could not visit the other Access points of Reavis Trail Canyon Trailhead and Rogers Trough Trailhead as they required 4-wheel drive vehicles.

Last: Passage 17 – Alamo Canyon

Next: Passage 19 – Superstition Wilderness 

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Help me a little if you can by donating to my equipment fund for the Arizona Trail hike, in the Fall 2016.  I promise to pay it forward.  There is a PayPal donation button in the top right corner, but I realize people using phone may not see that so I am repeating the button below. You can see a list of gear I need at http://swankiewheels.blogspot.com/p/wish-list.html .

Contribute to Equipment for the Arizona Trail Hike.

Who is Swankie?

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Anywhere, USA, Full-Time USA traveler, United States
In 2006, I was shopping for a wheelchair. By 2007, I had new knees, better health and by 2008 a kayak. In Aug 2013, I kayaked my 49th state, Alaska, at the Holgate Glacier and in May 2014, I kayaked Hawaii, my 50th state, to celebrate my 70th Birthday and the finale to the wonderful adventure of Kayaking America? Next up... Solo Hiking the Arizona Trail, 820 miles? Maybe. Still healing from shoulder and trying to decide.