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.
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 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 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:
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.
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.