08 March 2009

They're NOT Hieroglyphics!

Yesterday morning, once again, I went out on another hike, this time with my friends' church in Mesa out to Gold Canyon, AZ and the "Hieroglyphics Trail" in the Superstition Mountains. It's a 1.5-mile one-way trail which ends at a rock formation known as "The Petroglyphs" in Hieroglyphic Springs Canyon. There are no hieroglyphics here, though - those are Egyptian. The early discoverers of the rock carvings misnamed the site. Anyway, early Saturday morning, around 7am we all met up at the church - there were roughly 40 people on the hike ranging from little kids to people in their late 60's or thereabouts. We piled into vans and carpooled out to the area, about 6 miles east of Apache Junction in the Superstitions, with the trailhead starting out in the Gold Canyon community. I was with Scott, Matt and Angela, Travis and Kim, and Scott's mother-in-law Diana.
It was a good 50 degrees or thereabouts when we began the hike with the sun just peeking over the horizon to light the trail. The path itself was pretty rough with lots of loose rock and gravel for the first mile in, turning into big boulders for the remaining half-mile. We all slipped a couple times each on the way up and down, but thankfully, no one fell into a cactus! The trail also provided ample opportunities for some great photos. The two below are a couple of my favorites from the many I took. The first is a view of the westernmost side of the Supers from the trail, about 1/4 mile in:
This second photo is a view of the eastern side of Hieroglyphic Springs Canyon:Finally, after bushwhacking our way through the final quarter mile of trail, which was a really nice little riparian area alongside the canyon wall, we reached the Petroglyphs, a rock formation like a mini-mountain inside the canyon. The face of the rock wall is covered in petroglyphs, and at the bottom in shadow in this photo, are little pools of water and a stream. We ended up climbing to the top of the hill.
Made it to the top, and let me tell you, there was not much room to sit on those rocks! It's sort of like a ridge with sheer drops on both sides!
The pool of water formed by the rainwater. The stream gets about three feet higher during monsoon season with all the rain we get, and it's dangerous to hike in the canyon at that time.
However, when it's not raining, the flowing water makes everything bloom this time of year - the reds and golds near the bottom of this photo of Gold Canyon from the top of the Petroglyph mountain are the spring flowers in bloom on the desert flora.
We all had a great time, despite some sunburn (I got 2nd degree sunburn on the trek on my knees) and a few slips and slides on the loose rock. I also like the fact that I'm starting to wake up less sore after a good hike like this since I've been sort of conditioning myself for the past two months!

I'm hoping the weather here stays nice for another month or so, as I would like to try the Treasure Loop 2.4-mile trail out in the Apache Junction area before it gets to be too hot!

And for those that are inquiring, there did happen to be one (and only one) geocache along this entire trail, and yes, I did get it during the hike yesterday!

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