On Friday we hiked the Black Mesa Loop out of First Water trailhead. This is stitched-together route consisting of segments of the Second Water trail and the Lost Dutchman trail, connected by the Black Mesa trail to form the loop. My GPS pegged it at 9.74 miles with about 1077 of total elevation gain.
The first segment of the hike is a modest ascent on Second water trail to Garden Valley and the junction with Black Mesa trail. Then another modest ascent to the top of Black Mesa.
The environment to this point in the hike is fairly open, with great views of the “backside” of the western Superstition to the south, and the Four Peaks wilderness to the north.
In the photo below the mountains on the horizon are the Flatiron and environs. The light colored “ramp” in mid-scene is the Massacre Ground overlook.
This scene looking northward is towards Four Peaks.
And another view towards the Flatiron.
The south end of Black Mesa trail drops rather abruptly into a basin at the confluence of West Boulder Canyon and O’Grady Canyon. This descent is a favorite spot of mine, yielding an awesome vantage to the interior of the wilderness, guarded by Weavers needle in the distance south.
The remainder of the hike is westward through O’Grady Canyon, up over Parker Pass, and back to First Water.
The scenery this canyon is reminiscent of John Wayne movies with stark sandstone cliffs, large boulders (watch for Apache ambushes), and big skies.
This hike, like many others, traverses the heart of “Lost Dutchman Mine” country. For you back-home folks who would like an introduction to the legends we walk among, tune in the History Channel on Frbruary 8th. See this link —> http://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwtv/article/History-Channel-to-Premiere-LEGEND-OF-THE-SUPERSTITION-MOUNTAINS-28-20150123