Sunday, December 9, 2018

Chandler Arizona Snowbird Test - Black Mesa & Ball Pass at SuperstitionMountains Dec 9, 2018

Those Superstition Mountains captivated me the other day and I felt the urge to pay that range another visit.  I put a plan in place and I jotted down detailed notes.  I took a photo of the map at the trail head, talked with two Park's People who were monitoring the trail head, signed in then went on my way to hike Black Mesa Loop, Ball Pass, Black Top Mesa, all accessed by the Dutchman Trail.  Well, I hiked and I hiked but I don't know exactly where I hiked at all times.  I will know where I was when I load my track onto google earth.
At 8:00am it felt hot although the temperature did not say hot.  That's the desert for you and that's why all the warnings.  I was prepared.  The sun only came up and it created wonderful lighting.


                                   I could not get out of my own way.
The sun was working its way up and so was I.  The climb was very gradual but the views were coming all at once.  The boulder sections looked inviting to play about but I had loads of ground to cover so opted not to dilly-dally around.

I took a try at being somewhat creative with capturing the sun behind the saguaro.  I like the effect.  The saguaros were in abundance on the far off slopes.


The views were vast and not really what I expect to see in the desert, mountains & desert, what a perfect pairing.  I was hiking on and the kilometres were passing.  I was not lost but I did not quite know where I was.  I knew I was seeing Weavers Needle to my right but that's about it.  I carried on.

I'm in the middle of the desert, I don't know where I am, but I am not lost.  After securing this photo, a man came along and confirmed I was not lost.  I was exactly where I thought I should be and was heading the right way.  He carried on and then I veered down another trail in the other direction.  I had a plan.

Weavers Needle is still to my right and the sun is getting high above.  I found a trail sign to head up to Ball Pass.  It was a steep climb and very rugged.  The views as I climbed higher became even more incredible than they already were. 

I reached a flat area that seemed like a pass, I am calling the shot and saying I am at Ball Pass.  My intentions were to go up onto Black Top Mesa from along here and I began to climb again. I was unsure about where I was going and opted not to carry on.  I am not sure at this point how far from it I was. I did an about face and descended back to the junction to carry on with making a loop still with lots of distance to cover.
I headed to my right and continued along the Black Mesa Trail.  This would lead me through a canyon.  It was so hot now.  There was not a cloud in the sky, the sun was directly over head, not a soul to be seen, nor a sound to be heard.  This was true desert hiking.

I made good headway along this section.  I was feeling I wanted to get this done.  I did have to convince myself to just keep going, enough photos already.  But at times I didn't listen and was defiant and stopped for photographs.  

I kept my head down and watched my footing and my shadow.  
As the end was near, I came upon more boulder sections.  I saw this one and immediately I saw a heart.  How fitting, I do love desert hiking and boy was I happy I was just about back at the car.  I covered just short of 20 kilometres with approximately 550 meters of cumulative gain.  That's a great day in the desert!


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