Our Phoenix Adventure Continues

It was day two of our blogger get together. I had another fun excursion planned for the day sharing some of my favorite Arizona scenery with friends. While getting ready that morning, I received a text message from Nancy reluctantly bowing out of the day’s activities.

A view of the Superstition Mountains at Lost Dutchman State Park with a coyote sundial and saguaro cactus
The Superstition Mountains at Lost Dutchman State Park

Although I understood why she wasn’t able to join Teri and me, I couldn’t help but tease Nancy with a reply, “NO! You are my plus one for the HOV lane. You have to join us”. (HOV=High Occupancy Vehicle – aka carpool lane, 2+ lane). In order for me to pick up Teri at her hotel, I’d be traveling from the far north end of the Phoenix valley down to the far southeast end of the valley, which’ll take me a little over an hours drive through the thick of Phoenix traffic. I’d have to time my travels with rush hour traffic in mind since losing my plus one. “Why Nancy, why?” πŸ˜₯πŸ˜†πŸ˜˜

FYI for trip planning to Phoenix, Arizona. March is the busiest month of the year. Our population explodes with tourism due to the fantastic weather and baseball spring training. RV parks are full and hotels charge double during this time of year. And traffic is insane, like most major cities. Although, the city is super easy to navigate considering it’s laid out in a grid style manner.

Valley Talk … The term “Phoenix valley” refers to the actual city of Phoenix as well as her dozen or so surrounding suburbs. You might hear folks comment, “That’s in the east valley (meaning Scottsdale or Mesa) or that’s in the west valley (meaning Glendale or Goodyear). Then there’s the north valley where I’m camped and I’ll need to travel to the south valley to pick up Teri at her hotel … I think you get the idea.

Rugged scenery near Phoenix

On the far east side of the Phoenix valley lies the Superstition Mountains (aka the Superstitions). This beautiful and rugged terrain is a favorite of mine, and anytime I’m able to camp at Lost Dutchman State Park or even visit just for the day, I’m a happy camper.

So, of course, I just had to share this stunning landscape with Teri. Knowing Teri was a flatlander from Ohio, I was very selective about which trail we’d hike and made sure she was well prepared for the terrain and strong sun. With that said, she still wasn’t convinced I wasn’t trying to kill her; was it the uphill climb, or our second ever get together, or was it the folklore surrounding the area …. hmm?

two hikers at the Superstition Mountains with a snow-capped Flatiron in the distance
Me on the left, Teri on the right with “the Flatiron” in the background.

How the Superstitions got their name

Stories and mystery abound. This mountain range was called several different names by explorers long before the local farmers in the late 1800s gave it its final namesake. The Salt River Valley farmers had heard stories about strange sounds, people disappearing, and mysterious deaths from the Pima Indians. An overall fear of the mountain influenced the farmers to believe the Pimas were superstitious about this particular mountain, and therefore, the name Superstition Mountain was born.

Lost DutchmanAnd then there’s the legend of the Lost Dutchman’s gold, which is another mystery to the Superstition Mountains. To this day, many people believe there is a hidden fortune to be found out there somewhere.

Due to the severely rugged nature of the terrain, extreme changes in temperature, harsh winds, and dangerous wildlife, the Superstition Mountains have had their fair share of casualties.

There are more disappearances here than any other mountain range in Arizona. On average, about four to five hikers die each year and rescues are a common occurrence.

But hikers and explorers trek on. Unfortunately, many are unprepared regardless of warnings by local Rangers. Whether these hikers are adventurous, reckless, gullible or superstitious, the reality remains that there are a great number of tragedies linked to this wilderness area. It should be revered and respected. When visiting the Superstition Mountains, please wear sturdy shoes. Leave your flip-flops at home and bring plenty of water.

Superstition Wilderness
Superstition Mountains, Arizona

The perfect hike for a flatlander

Knowing this was Teri’s first time hiking at the Superstitions, I wanted to introduce her slowly to the beautiful landscape, and not scare her off with too difficult of a hike. Once parked at the Saguaro day use area at Lost Dutchman State Park, we started our hike on the handicap accessible informative Discovery Trail which connects the picnic area to the campground. (DI in red on map). Super easy trail and great for a warm up.

We then connected to the Siphon Draw Trail (SD is shown to the right in brown on the map). The Siphon Draw Trail is a continuous uphill hike that will eventually lead to the top of Flatiron …. experienced hikers only. We hiked a short portion of Siphon Draw before connecting to Jacobs Crosscut (JC in green). Due to the continuous uphill hike, Siphon Draw was the most challenging stretch of the trail for Teri, and I’m sure she was wondering what this new friend of hers had gotten her into.

hiking the superstition wilderness
Teri tries hiding from me.

After I did a little prodding to keep us moving, Teri eventually found her hiking groove especially on the Jacobs Crosscut trail, the perfect trail for a flatlander. The trail runs parallel to the mountain and is mostly level with only a little up and down in spots. By the time we reached the crossroad for the Treasure Loop trail (TL is shown on the left in brown on the map), Teri was even contemplating extending our hike instead of returning to the parking lot. Clearly, she was bitten by the hiking bug and realized her new friend wasn’t trying to kill her after all.

a hiker along the trail at the base of the Superstition Mountains
Teri enjoying her hike on Jacob’s Crosscut Trail at the Superstition Mountains

This is a loop hike I’ve done several times before and normally I can complete it in an hour, but since Teri and I were stopping to admire the scenery, taking photographs, and doing lots of chit-chatting, it took us an hour and a half to complete. This is the perfect hike for any desert newbie and/or for those easing themselves into trail hiking.

And remember, if you start feeling thirsty, you are already dehydrated. You can’t possibly drink too much water out on the trail. I kept harping on Teri to drink her water. I promise you won’t need a restroom. The desert sucks the water right out of you. Lack of hydration is the number one reason visitors to Phoenix get into trouble and need rescue aid.

Time for lunch

After our enjoyable hike, it was time to head up the road for lunch at the quaint little tourist town of Tortilla Flat. The drive itself is beautiful, but be forewarned, it is a twisty curvy road with drop-offs.

The restaurant has saddles for bar stools.

The food was just okay. The atmosphere was entertaining, but we really enjoyed the scenery outside of the restaurant much more. The Salt River was running fast and furious and Teri and I had fun just sitting along the water’s edge.

A hiker sitting on a rock along the Salt River near Tortilla Flat, AZ
Teri along a fast running Salt River

I had a couple more stops in mind, but one glance at the clock had me remembering rush hour traffic. It was either hit the road before 3:00 or wait until after 6:00. Since I was already running low on energy plus had obligations the next day, I reluctantly took Teri back to her place before 3:00 and started my one-hour-plus drive home.

More hiking in our future

I had a great time meeting Teri, and I’m already looking forward to more photography outings and hikes with her in Arizona. Hopefully next time, we can schedule more time together and our good friend, Nancy, will be able to join us. This tour guide has a lot more plans up her sleeve!

superstition wilderness area Phoenix, AZ

For a few more things to see and do in the area, please click here.
And for more information on the hiking trails at Lost Dutchman State Park, click here.

#best hikes in Phoenix, #where to hike in Arizona, #scenic Phoenix, #hiking, #must see sights in Arizona

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48 thoughts on “Our Phoenix Adventure Continues

  1. You do a great job of enticing people to visit that part of Arizona, good write up! I agree the Superstition is a great place not only to hike but also just gaze at the mountain. I wish one day we too can have a repeat of our birding time when we were in Galveston and Port Aransas πŸ™‚


    1. Yeah, I don’t know if we’ll return to the TX Gulf Coast anytime soon. So, I thank you for your recent bird posts. Since I know we’ll be spending more and more time hanging around Phoenix, I’m making the most of exploring the area.


  2. Another amazing outing. How beautiful those mountains are as well! And, I can’t believe all the snow on the mountain flanks in some of the photos. I bet that feels like ages ago now. πŸ™‚ Too bad Nancy couldn’t join you on this trip. Phoenix traffic during rush hour is pretty miserable as we gotten ourselves into it a bit as well. We could have used the HOV lane, but with our camper that would be a hassle moving all those lanes back and forth and then worrying we couldn’t exit where we would have to.


    1. You would love boondocking in the Tonto and the hiking trails are endless. Yeah, that Phoenix traffic can be a real fun spoiler and I can understand the concern of crossing lanes. That’s why I try to time my travel.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi, Ingrid – I absolutely love Blogger Meet Ups. When you combine this with interesting explorations from a knowledgeable local guide (you), fabulous hiking and a cool place to eat lunch…what could be better?! A few of us, Janis (RetirementallyChallenged), Kathy (SmartLiving365), Jude (Dr.SockWritesHere) and hopefully a couple of others, will be meeting up on Vancouver Island this July 20. If you find yourself in this neck of the woods at that time, you are very welcome to join us!


    1. Awe, thank you so much for the invite. We hope to visit Vancouver Island one of these summers, but this summer we’ll be in Wisconsin visiting family. Sounds like a fun gathering. Agree – blogger meet ups are awesome. I look forward to reading all about your gathering 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Phoenix traffic is never fun but after driving in Orlando I’ll try not to complain next winter. We’ll be at Lost Dutchman over New Years before heading to the north valley. Looking forward to hiking there.


    1. I look forward to hiking with you next winter. I think I’m about done hiking for the season. Those diamondback encounters always get to me 😏🐍🌡


  5. My granddaughter and I took one of the trails in the McDowell Mountain Park yesterday. Fortunately there were quite a few walkers and bikers coming down the trail as we were going up it. They told us they had pretty much encouraged the snakes to head for the hills, as it were… What I really don’t like is when a rattlesnake decides to sunbath on our patio…


  6. Another wonderful post about winter in AZ. While we are enjoying FL this winter we also miss spending it in AZ. We found so many wonderful and friendly people there and look forward to coming back this year. Thanks for the reminders of how beautiful it is.


  7. A great post, and loved that you explained some of the local lingo first. You sound like a very considerate hiking guide and companion. Yes – a great hiking guide to have. Gorgeous scenery, I always love what you show us.


    1. Thank you Chris. I’ve hiked with folks who didn’t take my hiking level into consideration, and vowed to never do that to someone else. Besides, we were there to enjoy the scenery, our visit with one another, and capture a few (a lot) images along the way and had a great time doing so. 😊🌡

      Liked by 1 person

  8. We really enjoyed the trails at Lost Dutchman, but I can absolutely see why folks who are unprepared get in over their heads. There are some tough ones and with that desert sun…. watch out! Still, with appropriate supplies and preparation, the views are just fantastic! Glad you guys had fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love the trails at the Superstitions and many are super challenging (beyond my ability). My hiking in Phoenix is just about coming to an end with my first diamondback encounter of the year 😯🐍🌡 It’s been a great winter!


    1. Definitely fun and the weather was near perfect. It’s starting to get hot and the snakes are out making me a little skittish about hiking. However, I’ll still hike those popular trails … at least for a little while.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I always appreciate your posts , with tips on where to go, and the history of the area!
    Maybe we can get together next year for a Superstition hike…


    1. I would love to hike together next year. Keep me posted on your arrival back to the valley and we’ll make it happen 😊


    1. Haha! I have been having fun with various bloggers passing through Phoenix. Sometimes I don’t realize how much I’ve learned about the valley over that past several years. I love sharing the scenery!


    1. Thank you! It’s probably one of my favorites in the state, and if it weren’t for our children living on the far north end of the valley, I’d be at Lost Dutchman SP much more frequently. I don’t think I’d get bored.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. The most beautiful time of year in Phoenix! Wildflowers starting to bloom, weather just right…a photographers paradise! Of course, snowbirds, traffic and large city issues…. hard to balance.

    Great blog entry, looks like a good time. Apparently you didn’t find the gold in the Superstitions. The folklore of that area alone is fascinating.

    Miss and love you both!!


    1. I love the scenery on the east side of the valley. Yeah, we have to take the good with the bad, but with spring training coming to an end and the dog days of summer approaching the city is starting to empty out.
      We look forward to visiting you guys at your new home soon!


  11. Thanks for taking us to the Superstition Mountains, Ingrid. I enjoyed all the scenery so much in your beautiful photographs, fun to see the Iron, and great to hear the background to this majestic mountain range. Lots of mystery and danger in those hills. Your hike with Teri looked fun and wonderfully successful. Also appreciated the AZ-in-March warning, and the significant info about traffic in the Phoenix area this time of year. Great post.


    1. Thank you Jet. March is a beautiful time to visit Phoenix – hence the traffic and extra lodging costs. February is also usually nice but this past winter was cold and wet which has resulted in a beautiful showing of wildflowers. Thus, no complaints from me 😊


  12. Well, well, well you were not concerned for my health at all… I see! πŸ˜³πŸ€£πŸ˜‚

    Glad you both had fun and I know I missed a fun day. Pretty shots!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was another fun day, but you were definitely missed. Hopefully, we’ll have a repeat next winter with the three of us doing fun stuff together 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Our aunt and uncle had a home in Sedona, which is absolutely a wonderful area. The old town of Jerome is interesting, and if memory serves, I think you and Al have made that trip. I also loved New Mexico and it’s beauty! Hopefully, we will get outta here next Fall and do some exploring in our Hiker..It’s been one Helluva Winter!!


    1. We’ve been to Jerome and Sedona more times than I can count. Always enjoyable. Totally agree, NM is a beautiful state filled with lots of hidden gems. Hope the secret doesn’t get out.
      Yeah, you have not had a fun winter and I do hope you can escape another IL winter. I do not miss those winters!


  14. Ahem! I’m not THAT much of a flatlander as I have hiked in Arcadia and in Scotland, it’s just that my hiking times are spread out – a big bit! Thanks for these great memories although you did leave out the hugging the cactus and stabbing yourself part! And I was slow sometimes from pausing to take photos/admire the scenery and trying to recover from you trying to kill me – hahaha β™₯

    Liked by 1 person

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