Family Superstitions

Discussion in 'Backpacking' started by boxelderbryan, Mar 10, 2017.

  1. boxelderbryan

    boxelderbryan New Member

    Salt Lake City, Ut
    I've been reading this forum for a long time - thought I would take a stab at posting...

    I had to go to Phoenix for work last month and made a quick run over to the Superstition mountains. I was absolutely blown away by the beauty of the desert (and 80 degree temps in February) and as soon as I got home hatched a plan for a family winter backpacking trip.

    While I was there I happened across a mild loop out of the easily accessible Second Water trail head just outside of Mesa near the Lost Dutchman State Park. It covers about 13 miles including a 4 mile walk around and through a clear flowing shallow stream that I thought the kids would have a blast playing in. Did I mention it was 80 degrees down there?


    We are trying hard with the little ones to make our backpacking outings easy and fun so we split the loop up into three days of about 4 miles each. This is a popular trail head, but mostly with day hikers, we ended up only seeing 2 or 3 other backpacking parties and felt totally secluded at night.

    Day 1:

    The Trail starts right on the border of the Superstition Wilderness, we took the Dutchman trail which rises gently (400 feet over three miles) before descending into a valley where multiple drainages converge and flow into boulder creek.
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    It was surprising how much water was flowing right now. Some of the hikers we met from the area mentioned that this is one of the wettest springs they can remember. The biggest challenge we had on day one was getting the kids past/through streams and mud holes

    We ended up finding a nice spot to camp with a good view of the weavers needle in the distance

    Dutchman #2.jpg Dutchman #3.jpg
    With the kids in mind I hauled in a package of hot dogs for dinner which unsurprisingly was a huge hit and I have to admit tasted pretty awesome.

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    Crappy cell phone pictures don't do it justice of course but the views were really spectacular. Many parts of the trip reminded me of being in southern Utah in the spring with green orange contrast, expansive views, and towering rugged cliffs.

    Dutchman #7.jpg Dutchman #5.jpg Dutchman #8.jpg Dutchman #9.jpg Dutchman #10.jpg

    Day 2:

    the second day was a hike down boulder canyon which consists of around 4 miles and 24+ stream crossings. I think the kids had a blast.
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    Boulder Canyon #1.jpg Boulder Canyon #2.jpg

    One of the cool features of the superstitions are the giant Saguaro cacti. The scale is really incredible.

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    We found an incredible campsite the second night near the boulder canyon stream.
    IMG_1852.JPG IMG_1850.JPG IMG_1849.JPG Boulder Canyon #3.jpg Boulder Canyon #4.jpg
    Day 3:

    Everybody got a good night's sleep:) We have found that small (annoyingly heavy) additions like stuffed animals and a deck of uno cards (half a pound btw) go a long way with the little ones.

    Sleep was important because I was worried about the climb out of boulder canyon (600 ft over 3/4 of a mile or so) but the crew handled it like champs.
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    In truly one of the most spectacular feats I have ever seen :) our smallest took the lead up the steepest section and lead us all the way to the top of the hill. This is her moment of triumph -

    The steep section gave way to another easy three mile stroll to the finish line.

    All in all a pretty great trip. I was blown away by the beauty of these rugged mountains. I loved being out backpacking in the winter and I think we will make this a yearly tradition.
    Yvonne, Ben, WasatchWill and 29 others like this.
  2. Perry

    Perry Formerly Cuberant .

    Morgan, UT
    Family memories like this are priceless! Thanks for sharing.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  3. blueeyes

    blueeyes ephemeral excursionist .

    Love. Little ones out backpacking. Love love love.

    Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk
    Perry likes this.
  4. Nick

    Nick Post 'em if you got 'em! .

    GREAT first post! Welcome!
  5. o2bav8

    o2bav8 Member .

    Mesa, AZ
    We've definitely had a lot of water this year... some of the seasonal waterfalls in that area have been impressive
  6. Outdoor_Fool

    Outdoor_Fool Member .

    Fairbanks, AK
    Great job, lots of smiles and a thumbs-up on the hotdogs. Can't beat that!
  7. Dave

    Dave Broadcaster, formerly "ashergrey" .

    That was a gorgeous sunset. Thanks for sharing.
  8. DrNed

    DrNed The mountains are calling and I must go .

    We started backpacking as a family 4 years ago. My favorite thing is when one of my kids says, "remember that time backpacking and ...."

    Unfortunately my kids were teenagers when we started.

    Good on you for starting them young!

    Great sunset shots too!
  9. Reef&Ruins

    Reef&Ruins Member

    Well done! That area is always up for a good winter/spring outing.
  10. Artemus

    Artemus I walk .

    better off outside
    Great! Welcome and thanks for contributing. :twothumbs:
  11. Kmatjhwy

    Kmatjhwy Wilderness Wanderer

    Jackson, Wy.
    Looks like you had a Great Trip with the family. Welcome to Backcountry Post! Now this Superstition Wilderness is one place that I have wanted to get into for quite sometime. And all that green grass in your photos. You must have had a good wet winter also.

    Thanks for Posting! Wishing You the Best!
  12. frahminator

    frahminator Member

    Phoenix, AZ
    Awesome post! I live only 30 minutes from there and need to make this trip happen with my boys!
  13. Tammy B

    Tammy B Member

    Saint Charles, MO
    Your kids are so lucky that you and your wife are teaching them the beauty of nature! Kudos to your great parenting!
  14. Dr Nebz

    Dr Nebz Dirtbag After Dark

    Wasatch Range
    Great family trip!

    Supposedly a lost gold mine out there, and a list of people who never made it out of that place. I can see why they are called the Superstition Mountains.
  15. Jimmy

    Jimmy Member

    St. Louis
    This trip looks great. I'm in Scottsdale for work in three weeks and am extending my trip, with my wife joining me. We have no permits/plans as of this point but want to get a 1-2 night backpack in. I'm thinking heading to the Superstitions is in my near future!
  16. Ben

    Ben Member .

    boise, id
    thanks for sharing