The extraordinary Superstition Mountains of Arizona

The Superstition Mountains are a popular destination right outside of the Phoenix metro area, off Highway 88 in Apache Junction. They may be among the most-appropriately named mountains, based on the amount of gossip, legends, mysterious happenings, and bald superstitions that revolve around them. They were close to the rental home that my brother’s family and I were staying at, and a good way to assuage my brother Tanner’s need to get up close and personal with the desert.

Thus it was our first activity the day after arriving and getting our bearings. We made the 20-minute drive to real desert country, with cacti, lizards, and anything else you’d want to see. Once we realized Laurie is afraid of snakes, we were on a perpetual hunt for rattlesnakes. (As a way to show our affection, of course) Tanner researched and discovered that Arizona has 18 types of rattlesnakes. Try as we might, we never found any snakes for Laurie.

We parked at Lost Dutchman State Park (probably named after a German, when the locals mistook “Deutsch” for “Dutch”). The fabled man wasn’t so much lost as the gold he was seeking. There are multiple legends relating to a stash of gold out here. We kept an eye out, just in case. Try as we might, we never found gold either.

Tanner, with binoculars strapped to his chest, was dying to get personal with the cacti, and investigated all of them. I think the cholla cactus may have been his favourite.
Laurie and Tanner check out a cholla.
My niece Bruce, I mean Megan, got closer to the cholla than her dad. (Bruce is an inside joke from an incident last summer.)

At the entrance, a ranger gave us a trail map and suggested one for us to try. We were game for the hike, and heaped sunscreen on our pale, pale skin and grabbed water, and off we went. We were distracted along the way by the many types of fabulous cacti, wildflowers, and occasional beasts.

The trail we followed up into the mountains.
Black-throated sparrow
Dad got pics of the kids
Then Brandon got a photo of me. {photo by my nephew Brandon]
Then my brother and I together {photo by Brandon}
My favourite is the ocotillo, the one in the foreground here with the long skinny branches
Tanner uses his binoculars to get a better look. He marveled at the saguaro cacti that seemed about to topple, like this one here. He commented that he did not see any cacti lying on the ground, which is counterintuitive, after seeing so many cacti with their bases almost completely dissolved.
The majority of the wildlife we saw included birds, rabbits, and lizards.
See its pretty blue neck?
Bruce is hunting.
I think I know who she learned it from.

The hike was hot but not terribly so, and we had plenty of water and took our time and occasionally found shade near the top. It was a good workout and all of us had been trapped inside our cars for days, so it felt great to climb.

We thought this saguaro cactus might be giving us directions.
Bruce checked out the view of Apache Junction below us.
Brandon also tried out the seat.
A view between rocks
Phoenix, Arizona is in that valley.

We did not attempt to climb the rocks when we got to the base of them. Instead, we turned around. From the top of the trail we had pretty cool views. Then we made our way back down. I had tried to get a shot of every kind of wildflower I saw.

A kind stranger stopped us at the bottom of one hill and said he thought the image of us coming down the trail was so picturesque; he took a photo. He offered to send it to us. He was right, I love this photo:

Me, Bruce, Brandon, Laurie, Tanner

The sun was dropping fast near the end of our hike, but it cast delicious shadows. And then we spotted the moon and got some really fun moon shots.

The moon rises above the ridge and says hello.
The saguaro cacti all wave hello back.
This might be a head-bump as the moon and the rocks greet each other. I just love this photo.
I loved spending this day with my family. ❤

We had a big evening coming up: we were all going to gather at my other brother, Travis’s, house for dinner that evening. So off we went, all happy and laughing, to inflict our sweaty dusty selves onto our brother’s family.

9 thoughts on “Superstitions

  1. How most excellent, all of it!! What a great shot of you all coming down! That stranger was so kind, I don’t see this happen in Slovenia ever. And I love so much the two shots of the daughter and father hunting. 😀 I hope the rest of the evening went just as well. Huge cacti and amazing landscape!!

    1. Isn’t the landscape just magical? I guess if I lived there, I would think it ordinary. But as a foreigner, I thought it was brilliant. So did Tanner and his family. We were ooooh-ing and aahhhhh-ing the whole time. I think the photo from the stranger on the trail was wonderful. He was a tourist too. We asked if they (he and his companion) were local, and he said he was from Canada. But we didn’t believe him, because he had a strong Australian accent! ha ha. Must be an ex-pat in Canada. I have shared photos with people rather often. I learned it from when a woman did that for me once, years ago when Tara was little, and she mailed me a photograph. Sometimes the scene that a stranger sees is just too good not to share! ❤

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