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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

BLACK MESA LOOP

BLACK MESA LOOP Superstition Wilderness It may be just a stone’s throw from town, but visiting the Superstition Wilderness is a surprisingly alien experience. Because hiking in this particular area is considered to be easy, at least in the beginning, the route tends to be a big draw for parents herding ‘lil tikes outfitted with Sponge Bob backpacks and spiffy shoes that light up in sync with their stride. But, the route’s increasing level of difficulty soon discourages less-than-serious hikers, demanding more effort but rewarding with views of a volcanic landscape scoured by millions of years of exposure to the earth’s turbulent elements into a wonderland of oddly-shaped pinnacles, canyons and boulder-littered arroyos. Add to that, the effects of changing light over the course of an afternoon, and it’s easy to feel as if you have been transported to another planet. Hang around ‘till dusk and watch the stars come out--way better than light-up shoes. LENGTH: 7.4 miles round trip ELEVATION: 2,270-2,740 feet RATING: moderate GETTING THERE: From Phoenix, take Highway 60 east to the Idaho Road (Highway 88) exit. Continue east on Highway 88 past the Lost Dutchman State Park. Just past the park, turn right onto First Water Road (FR 78) and drive 2.6 miles to the First Water trailhead. HIKE DIRECTIONS:  Go 2.9 miles on the Dutchmans Trail #104 to the signed junction for the Black Mesa Trail #241 and turn left (northwest). Follow the Black Mesa Trail for 3 miles and turn left (south) onto the Second Water Trail #236 at the signed junction. Continue for another 1.5 mile back to the trailhead.
FACILITIES:  restrooms at trailhead

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