Gold Canyon, Az

Gold Canyon, Az
New Years Day 2015, Gold Canyon, AZ

Monday, December 22, 2014

Apache Trail and Peralta Trail

On Saturday we headed to the Gym for a morning workout which, it turns out, is a very popular time.  We had lunch and then decided to head out to see the Apache Trail.  Its an old stagecoach route through the mountains and while some of it is paved a good portion is a narrow, rutted, often one lane  dirt road with numerous hairpin turns taking you up and down canyon walls.  I would have gladly swapped out the truck for a short wheel based Jeep.  The views were some of the most spectacular we have seen to date but you will have to take my word for it, at least for the time being.  Just as I was about to take my first picture I realized I had left my cameras' memory card on the table in the trailer.  Nice move Einstein.

The trail is a huge loop starting in Apache Junction and ending up going right past our RV Park.  It took us about 4 hours and that was without many stops so I'm thinking next time we will make a full day of it and leave early in the morning, with a fully functioning camera.

Sunday we decided to try another trail and we chose the Peralta Trail.  We noticed a road sign for it just a couple of miles from our Park.  We turned off the highway and the road turned from asphalt to another rutted, washboard dirt trail.  The local road crews need to get some graders and smooth out these roads.  My truck is great for pulling the 5th wheel down the highway but the suspension is not built for handling rutted back roads.

We got to the parking lot and it was full.  Had to backtrack to an overflow lot and walk back to the trailhead.  There was a map with all the trails in the Superstition Wilderness Area with cross-sections of each trail showing the elevation change.  Peralta has an elevation change of about 1400' so we knew we were in for a workout.  We started along the canyon floor amongst a heavy growth of trees and shrubs.  As we moved up the rock walls towering above us we would soon be back in the  familiar surroundings of sand, rocks and cactus.  For a native Arazonian or perhaps someone used to the Canadian Rockies this trail probably seems pretty tame but for a Prairie boy it was quite exhilarating.

The trail was well marked and there were lots of fellow hikers so no danger of getting lost.  At times the trail was only inches from a sheer drop off and surprisingly the heights didn't bother me too much.   As we neared the top the complaints from my hiking partner started to increase in urgency and we decided to stop just short of the peak.  You can take the girl out of the prairies but you can't take the prairie out of the girl.  I was a little disappointed but Lori's caution proved to be a good thing as I was doing an impression of a peg leg pirate by the time we got to the bottom.

 On the right the trail meanders through the boulders and takes us up the canyon wall.  Eventually we almost get as high as those peaks in the distance.
Columns of volcanic rock "needles" show how these canyons were formed.

This shot shows the many different colours of the rock walls.   A nice contrast to the blue sky with wisps of white cloud.
 Looks like someone placed the rock on a pedestal.

 Up and Up we go.

 We started off way down there at the bottom of the V and beyond the canyon walls

 If you look closely you can see a hole in the rock at the top of the picture.  See the little speck of blue.  This is called Weavers Needle.
Got to wonder how long this rock has been perched up there.  Looks like just a little breeze would blow it off.

 Lori picks her way down the trail.  Going down is much more difficult than than going up.  Its so easy to step on some loose gravel and have your foot slide out from under you.
This huge boulder was just sitting there begging to be a backdrop for a picture.

As we started the decent the swelling in my knee made the climb down a bit of a challenge.  My range of motion was down to about 30% of normal so bending it to step down off boulders became impossible.  I managed with one good leg but I'm sure I looked a bit comical to other hikers.

 The old man is just a bit tired.

  We made it back to the truck and, as Lori had signed up for a Yoga class at 7:00, we headed back to the trailer for a well deserved rest.  This little fella was sitting on our newly acquired feeder waiting for us.

We have to go get some groceries on Monday as we have signed up for a Pot Luck Christmas dinner and Lori is making a Greek Salad for 18 people.  Good thing we got the double fridge.  We will probably spend the next few days around the RV Park.  It seems we have been on the go every day and we both need some R&R time.     Hard to believe its Christmas in 3 days.  No snow and temps in the low 60's.  Just doesn't seem right but we will cope.