update on conditions through Superior

Howdy from Superior Arizona, first town stop along the route. I started Sunday afternoon at the First Water Trailhead, where the USFS is currently waiving the parking fee. Plenty of folks out day hiking and enjoying the warm sunny weather. After reaching Parker Pass though, the crowds dropped away – per usual – and so it remained for the duration of my time in the Superstitions. (48 hrs w/o seeing a soul)

Water is presently not an issue along this stretch. Apparently there’s been rain within the last couple of weeks, and so ephemeral water (occasional pools and wash flow) is lingering in most of the larger drainages. That’s in addition to the sources listed on the water chart, which are all flowing at this time (Night Hawk Spring is defunct and should really be removed from the chart). Barring any more storms, my best guess is that the ephemeral water has 1-2 weeks, while most of the water chart listed sources should endure through early April – including East Boulder Canyon and upper Rogers Canyon.

Please note that Le Barge Spring features a large cement trough currently full of spring-fed water. I’d been to the spring three times prior, but never noticed the trough! To find it, leave the trail as it nears the large sycamores, head down across the drainage to the far bank, and listen for water. Now look for a cairn up-drainage, which marks a little social path up the bank to the trough – well-hidden from below.

Last summer’s monsoon has really allowed the brush to flourish. Catclaw and a variety of other plants are a bit of a nuisance along the Hoolie Bacon and JF Ranch Trails especially, where they’re growing into the trail corridor (a niche to be filled!), usually at waist height or lower, though sometimes at a height that requires a bit of manuevering. Maybe leave the sil-nylon backpacks at home. (My approach has been to leave the trails in the Sups alone, assuming that the range is popular enough to see official maintenance along most of its trails at various intervals, possibly a naive assumption.)

Navigation is not a big deal through here. Not much flagging, but plenty of cairns. It’s possible to lose the tread occasionally, or to take an errant track, but it’s unlikely anyone would need to use the signal flares. And anyway, it’s good practice for the rest of the route. 🙂 (Seriously – navigation ain’t a big deal here.)

Reavis Canyon Trail #509 is listed on a trail sign as Reavis Canyon Trail #580. This is at the junction of FR 650 and trail near Montana Mountain. As far as I can tell, the sign is wrong as to the trail number, as another sign at the other end states #509. In any case, what’s in a number? 🙂

Parker Pass is listed as mile point 2.3 of Segment 1. In reality, it’s probably more like 2.6. The rest of the segment’s mileages should be accurate. (0.3 may seem inconsequential, but this is Segment 1 = let’s leave a positive first impression!)

I recommend allowing 4 full days to complete Segments 1 and 2. By the numbers, it’s do-able in less time – and it certainly is – but the country is rugged and beautiful, and starting hikers will likely be adapting to the heat and sun.

It’s been warm lately, and is forecasted to remain above-normally warm through early next week. Now would be about the right time for the spring bloom to happen, as well as for snakes to emerge. I saw no snakes, and no scorpions, but just the traces of a bloom – mostly a nice green-up in the riparian zones, with very little to-do in terms of wildflowers or blooming desert vegetation. This winter was not that wet, really, and it appears the rainy season is about over now.

I spoke with Bonnie Garwood in Klondyke, my next resupply point. Package is there waiting, along with another one for someone else. She’s storing them in the larger freezer behind the store (freezer off), and recommends that packages be addressed “Klondyke Store / Freezer” rather than with her last name, as I propose in the Town Guide. This way the postal carrier knows the deal, and won’t attempt to deliver at the house – which is actually fine, except that they’re sometimes away for periods at a time.

Rolling into Superior last night, checking into the El Portal, I received a surprise greeting from none-other-than Two Legs (Judith Gustafson), prospective GET hiker. She was actually staying at the motel while setting caches in advance of her start. I was dumbfounded! Very cool getting to meet likeminded folk, sharing pizza and beer and a few laughs. She’s probably confirmed my insanity by now, but that’s okay. Happens to everyone who spends enough time out here. (Come see for yourself!)

Next check-in will likely be from Safford in about 12 days.

Good luck to anyone starting out…

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