Things that Don’t Belong on a Trail

I can’t. I just can’t. It used to be cigarette butts but now it’s even worse. It grosses me out to no end to see a nasty discarded travel dental floss thing just tossed onto the ground like it’s just going to magically disappear. Is it someone else’s job to pick it up? Should an animal come eat it?

Help me on this. If you are so concerned about your dental hygiene that you purchase and use these gadgets and obviously you hike or you wouldn’t be on a trail so that means you take care of you, then why can’t you toss the gross thing into the trash where it belongs?

There really isn’t going to be any answer you can give that’s going to make throwing trash on the side of a nature trail ok. It’s not. Stop it.

* photo was taken in the parking area at the start of a local trail.It is not staged

 

 

Peralta Trail

Its going to take us 7 miles of bumpy dirt road just to get to the start of the Peralta trail. You ready? Let’s go!

Ever wonder how things get their names ? Who was Peralta and why was a trail was named after him?

* I’m going to tell this basic story to you as my friend not as a teacher or some expert. These are all generally agreed upon facts if you go and look it up. The story is cool so I encourage you to read a full book about the subject from someone who maybe is an expert for all of the details!image

Ok so back in 1845 Don Miguel Peralta travels to the Superstition Mountain in search of hidden gold he has heard stories of. He finds it. Don’t ask me how. I have no clue how he found it.image

There’s enough gold that he wants to go and get workers. A lot of workers. So he covers up his mine and then uses landmarks to help him remember how to get back. He thinks one peak looks like a Sombrero so he calls his mine “Sombrero Mine”.

The Apache believe this same mountain that Peralta is digging in to be the home of their Thunder God. That fact alone should tell you this is not going to go well for Peralta.

Peralta comes back with hundreds of men. Now for me it was learning this fact when I imagerealized Peralta is not poor. I don’t know about you but I cannot go and round up hundreds of men and mules and supplies and all that is needed to take hundreds of men up into a mountain to dig for gold!

When Peraltas workers see the “Sombrero” they think it looks more like the “Finger of God”. Later it is named “Weavers Needle”.

So Peralta and his men mine for 3 years! Gold digging! Real life gold digging! 3 years!image

The Apache are beyond mad. They plan an attack.

Peralta gets news of this and decides it’s time to pack it up and leave. They load up as much as they can carry and head down from the mountain. Straight into the Apache.image

The Apache kill all of them and dump out the gold concentrate Peralta’s mules carried.image

A few years later the US Army comes upon the scene of the massacre and bury what remained. Peralta’s body was not found.

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Like I said this is a VERY interesting story that I just gave you the short version of in hopes you will go and get a book like “The Story of Superstition Mountain and the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine” by Robert Joseph Allen.image

Now you ready to hike the actual trail?image

Excessive Heat Warning

As I encourage the masses to come and see the beauty that is the desert there is a small voice inside telling me you better make sure to prepare them properly. So I’m going to tell you like a friend, like someone who actually cares about you getting to enjoy the desert safely.

This weekend we had record breaking heat. This is not new for us desert folk. The news reporters seem to take quite a bit of joy announcing repeatedly the triple digit numbers expected. But a fact I am reminded of as I listen to the news is again we lost a hiker due to dehydration. Rescue teams went in search putting even more lives at risk.

Ok so let’s be reasonable, if I plopped you in the middle of the arctic without a jacket you would freeze right? If I plop you in the middle of the desert without water you will die. It’s not a maybe.

No water = death.

Be prepared for where you are going and KNOW your body and your limits.

I wrote earlier about the fact I am born and raised desert and I don’t go hiking in the summer after about 5am. Yesterday it was 100 degrees at 10 am!!!! It only got hotter. (June 6th 2016) Out here high heat doesn’t hit until later in the afternoon.

And I’m going to be honest the desert isn’t even that pretty in the middle of a hot afternoon. The sky is pale blue and everything is radiating heat. Its nap time. Its shut the curtains and block out the sun time.

The mountain range we live next to is magnetic and draws people to it. The energy is strong and almost overwhelming to those who are sensitive to it. With the added attraction of the possibility of finding gold we have people coming from everywhere to hike. But unfortunately not everyone makes it back home.

I found this crazy interesting book called “Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon” by Michael P. Ghiglieri and Thomas M. Myers that I have been reading. Arizona has some spectacular natural beauty that draws millions of visitors every year especially to the Canyon but too many seem to come incredibly unprepared and surprised by the weather. I definitely recommend it especially if you want to hike the Grand Canyon or even visit it.

There’s really nothing “soft” out there hiking a desert trail. No couch for you to stop at. If parking and then walking for another 20 minutes before you really get started sounds like too much for you already then guess what? IT IS! Know why? Because your brain didn’t even factor in the 100 degrees part!image

Bring WATER. Not soda. WATER. As much as you can carry.

Don’t expect rescue teams to come for you either…at least not right away. They aren’t sitting out there in the desert in towers like life guards with binoculars watching to see you flop over from heat exhaustion. If you get yourself in a bad spot you could be miles away from any real help. And honestly the hotter it is the less people out there so who are you going to yell “help!” to when your phone doesn’t get a signal? How are you going to describe where you are?..image

A hat and bright clothing are also good ideas along with sunscreen.  If you ever need to be found, wearing brown, gray or camo is not going to help. Think outfit seen from space.

You might also rethink trying to get a tan while hiking. You are better off doing that by a pool… and air conditioning and a drink with ice cubes. Then at least when your body gets hot you can jump in the water. Also some of the lotions for tanning can attract bees. We did recently lose a hiker due to over 1000 bee stings. I don’t think lotion played a part but you don’t want to do anything to attract them.

Having less clothing on is not going to help in regulating your body temperature either and probably just speed up the process of getting you fried to a crisp.

And for goodness sakes wear real shoes! Not flip flops of any brand. Have I not shown you enough pictures of cacti already? Wobble an ankle wearing flip flops and that’s not a fun hike back.image

We have in AZ what’s called the stupid motorist law. If you drive around a barrier into a flooded road and have to be rescued guess what? You are in trouble. I don’t think there is a law for dumb hiking but maybe we should look into it? Bad shoes, no water, too late in the day, tried to find gold digging with a spoon? Dumb hiker law

 

IT’S HOT IN THE DESERT!

 

Not sure what I mean still? Ever open your oven when it’s been cooking for a while and you get that blast of heat at your face and eyes and you wonder for a second if you still have eyelashes? I have stepped outside before and felt that here.

The desert is an extreme climate. Please do your homework before attempting any of the larger hiking trails. If you are planning a trip to see the fabulous Saguaros then start walking or hiking where you live now and build up your stamina. None of the trails I have ever been on are perfectly flat or paved so don’t say you practiced walking at the mall.

Check weather reports before making plans. Always let others know where you are going hiking and for about how long you think you will be. That way when you don’t come back after too many hours we know we might have to go search. I say don’t go alone.image

The Superstition Mountain Range along with Arizona’s other amazing natural attractions have seen enough tragic loss of life. Come visit the desert safely.

Check out HikeArizona.com for great info regarding the trails.