By: Maris Valkass
Apache Junction has changed since I last climbed the peak ten years ago. There is now a freeway with four exits instead of highway intersection with a gas station and store. We had a little problem rendezvous with George Toby and Ron Young Thursday afternoon. Finally we made contact and were able to camp together. Bruce and Terry Turner and Anna and I caravaned together from Banning.
We camped out in the open desert near the trailhead for route B for the Superstition Mountain. Anna and Terry prepared a great meal with George and Ron supplying the desert. The day was warm, but that, night it got windy and cool. We had a good campfire, but we did not stay up too late because of the early start next morning.
We left our campsite at 6:30 and drove about a mile to the trailhead. We started hiking at about 7:00. We chose the approach from the east. The desert was beautiful and the weather was great. We lost about a half an hour by losing the trail in a wash and starting to follow the one leading to Geronimo Cave, which we had to backtrack.
When we arrived at the base of the mountain, two climbers were coming down. This gave us time to get our harnesses on and rope straightened out. The climb went smoothly. On the summit we met another party of three climbers from Riverside. After taking our summit photos, we descended to the level below and ate our lunch. When we got down to the notch to do our 150 foot rappel, we had a small traffic jam. Two guys were coming up, and the three from Riverside were heading down. We had a slight wait before we could descend. All went well until we tried to pull our rope down, it was stuck. I was going to climb back to unjam it, but fortunately the people we met on the way up were coming down and they dislodged it. We hiked out on the west side trail well after dark, and it had taken us about all the 12 hours indicated in the guide.
We ate our dinner in the Dirtywater Springs restaurant in Apache Junction as recommended by George Toby. It was very colorful and good. Next day the Turners and us took route 88 north, past the lakes and finally into Globe. It was a good sightseeing tour, and I recommend it. Since we did not have any other plans for peaks, we decided to head back to California George Toby and Ron Young went to climb Ajo.
This was a relaxing and pleasant Thanksgiving weekend with the usual rush eliminated.
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