Friday, December 17, 2010

Superstition Mountains

“Hello,” I said, giving her my best smile.
“Take a hike,” she replied.  
What a great idea!    
From Superstition Mountains

From Superstition Mountains

These are the Superstition Mountains.  It was declared a Primitive Area in 1939 and upgraded to a Wilderness Area in the 1940.  There are rumors of a “Lost Dutchman Mine” and there are truths about hikers disappearing.  I wasn’t looking for either.
From Superstition Mountains

Can you spot the trail marker?
From Superstition Mountains

Brother Carl dropped me off at the trailhead on Monday with instructions to come back on Thursday, and off I went with the world’s heaviest backpack.  The weight was mostly water (isn’t always); I was carrying nearly 1.5 gallons in two plastic water bladders, intending to hike to a what the map labeled as a “spring.”  You can’t always believe what you read, so I wanted to have enough water to get me there and back.  Of course I drank water freely. 
From Superstition Mountains

From Superstition Mountains

The problem with the backpack hydration systems, I’ve discovered, is that you can’t tell how much you’ve drank till (a) it’s gone, or (b) you pull the water bladder out of your pack and look at it.  You also can’t tell that your other water bladder was leaking till you (a) pull it out of the pack and see it’s half empty or (b) notice your sleeping bag is now holding the missing water.  So there I was, alone in the desert, almost out of water.  Still, it beats my old job.
From Superstition Mountains

Desert Centipede.  This one was “average” at about 7 inches long.
From Superstition Mountains

What to do....  I was an easy hike from the trail head, with about a quart and a half of water.  Do I hike out, call off the adventure?  Or do I continue the adventure, ration my water and hike the 5 miles further into the desert hoping that the spring would have water?  If it didn’t, I’d have a little more than a pint of water for the 10+ miles back to the trailhead.  
From Superstition Mountains

From Superstition Mountains

Of course the adventure continued.  I think the difference between a survivor and a victim is often just admitting that something can happen and preparing options.  Mine?  I had food that didn’t need to be cooked (potatoes and tuna), so I could eat even if I ran out of water.  I had other food (oranges) that were full of liquid.  I thought about where I might drop off the heavier items from my pack (and what they would be) to save weight on the hike out (of course I’d retrieve them later).  I thought about hiking at night when the sun wouldn’t be an issue, since I had more than one flashlight with me.  But I hated the thought of a mountain lion trying to make cat poop of me in the middle of the night, so that was out.
From Superstition Mountains

Of course the spring had water.  Even my luck isn’t that bad.  
From Superstition Mountains

Sunrise and “Weaver’s Needle.”
From Superstition Mountains

After filling up I thought about hiking farther but my right knee was starting to bother me.  That’s why I’m carrying a stick in some of these pictures, to take a bit of strain off my right leg.  That, and to fend off mountain lions.  Like I said, options.
From Superstition Mountains

From Superstition Mountains

So I had water and time and food and everything else I needed.  Where is the fun in that?  Oh, my Therm-a-rest mattress had a leak, so every thirty minutes it would deflate and I’d wake up on one rock or another.  It wouldn’t be an adventure if there wasn’t some discomfort involved.
From Superstition Mountains

If you’re still reading this, thank you.  If you’re reading this, you’ve given me a real gift.  In the past year and a half, it’s been easy to feel like something is missing in my life, and often I fill that gap with the adventures that you’ve told me you enjoy reading about.  You’re comments and feedback are a reward to me, and they keep me going on the low-days.  I am not sending out Christmas cards this year, partly because a lot of my friend s are “online” only.  I like to think that all the ones that matter are here now, reading this.  And to you, I sincerely wish a Merry Christmas, and thank you for being there for me.
From Superstition Mountains


2 comments:

  1. Nice. Merry Christmas to you - see you soon. Have some beer in the fridge, will ya?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Merry Christmas Will!

    ReplyDelete