4 days in the Superstition Wilderness

6:40 p.m. on February 7, 2012 (EST)
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I've been wanting to do this trip for over a year. Must be done in the winter due to the hellish heat of summer here. Last year 1 week before the planned trip I tweeked a knee so just went 4wheel camping with the vacation time. Was a nice trip but not the same.

 I used to go into this area alot 20+ years ago so was familar with the trails but had forgotten how incredible the views were. Unfortunatley I still have a garbage camera that maybe 1 outta 10 pics comes out decent. I take loads of pics and salvage what I can, sometimes its amazing what the thing can do.

Anyhow, The trip starts at the Reavis Ranch TH over looking Apache Lake,


I'll be heading the other direction towards Castle Dome (on the right, the pic aint great but ya get the idea :)


the trail is whats left of the old road that went to Reavis Ranch. The Ranch was abondoned sometime in the 30's. for the first  5-6 miles trail is real good condition


just a few pics

a sneek peek of Castle Dome before hitting the Grass Hills

the Grass Hills is a stretch of wide open with some beautiful views (wish more pics came out better) that takes you to the base of Castle Dome


I came across another hiker who kindly takes a pic of me for me. Its all about me me me :)


Finally make it to Castle Dome, form there its around to Windy Pass


going around the dome


from Windy Pass which isnt very windy today (maybe better called slightly breezy pass today) you get an excellent view of Cimaron Mtn on left, Fish Creek below and a look into Rough Canyon. My camp on the 2nd night is at the bottm of Fish Creek below Cimaron Mtn. (aprx. 4 o'clock from center)

I drop down to the old corral camp where I stayed many a freezing wet nights greatly under prepared back in the day


from here its down into the Ranch with more incredible views

once at the bottom by the creek the trees get pretty thick


There aint much left of the Ranch anymore, just some old equipment and the Apple orchard that I hear still produces some tasty apples


I set camp in the orchard


Reavis Creek is one of the few year round water supplies in the Superstions

Day 2 travel take back to the junction for the Frog Tanks trail down past Cimaron Mtn. to Fish Creek

virtual no pics turn out along the way :(  except for the tip toe thru the prcikly pear pic


2nd nites camp is on Fish Creek below Cimaron

looking up at Cimaron from camp


Day 3 begins with the climb out


1.5 miles later not much has changed

come across some old ruins to investigate during lunch, once again camera lets me down but they were pretty over grown any how

they had one heck of a view off the front porch of Cimaron Mtn.
a nice stop for lunch and to fill the water tanks one last time at Plow Saddle Sprg.


this guy keeps following me, what the hecks his deal?

set camp for the third nite at another old familar spot

seems somebody decided to go home with alot less then they brought in


set my camp for the third and final nite

view from camp


there is another ruin in the thick brush right behind camp, but after seeing some fairly fresh lion tracks I decide not look around thru the trees a bushes and just hang around camp and not become kitty treats

Day 4 was the hike out. Over all an excellent trip I been planning forever. Turned out to be all I was hoping for and then some




6:54 p.m. on February 7, 2012 (EST)
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Awesome tr. Nice to see you are back out and about.

That ol Stansport tent looks salvageable. :)

Very nice pics. I remember you referencing how lush & green everything was out this way on one of my tr's.

Odd, I have a great appreciation for the scenery out your way. :) 

Gotta say though, it can be a real reality check when you are staring down the barrel of the possibility of not being able to get out there. 

Very happy to see ya meandering around.

Keep on keeping on. 

7:14 p.m. on February 7, 2012 (EST)
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Thanks for the trip report.  It's a prickly looking area.  Any problems with your sleeping pad?  Assuming it's inflatable.

8:17 p.m. on February 7, 2012 (EST)
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Rick-  I guess its that old "The grass is always greener" thing. Right now the deserts have the wintergreens going on. Once it starts warming up all those green grass hills will be brown brush fires waiting to happen. But sure is pretty for now.

I tell ya what, make me an offer on the slightly used Stansport 2 man. Comes with 1 old shoe maybe 2, 1 can Coleman gas and 3 cans of V8 unopened. not sure about the exporation date on the V8 tho.

Tipi-  It is definitly a prickly area, Im still pulling pricklies outta my legs today. Youve hit on one of my big concerns. I do have an inflatable Neo air. This is my first inflatable for packing. So far so good but Ive only used for 4 nites/2 trips so far.  Im trying to be extra cautious and carefull with it. Keep it in its sack surrounded in the pack to try and prevent anything from poking thru the pack at it. Try and pick and clear my tent site well plus use a footprint, but I think Im gonna make a thicker footprint

8:17 p.m. on February 7, 2012 (EST)
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Nice TR.   Between this and all the trips Gary has been showing I'm going to have to figure out how to get out west during the winter.

10:53 p.m. on February 7, 2012 (EST)
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Nice tent! :)

Great pix & TR too, that looks like an interesting area.

11:24 p.m. on February 7, 2012 (EST)
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Your a tougher man than me, I cringe at the word Reavis lol. Remember the wet unprepared nights at the corral myself. I can remember starting off as rain turning to hail and ending in snow! Also remember some awesome lightning shows too. Glad you made it out Rob

11:50 p.m. on February 7, 2012 (EST)
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Great report Rob, I'm not sure but I think I would rather hike in that then the upcoming wet!  But what a person to do!  Got to get out side and live a little! 


9:55 a.m. on February 8, 2012 (EST)
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Well done! Thanks a ton for sharing this and letting us come with you. Those are some great views!

I second Ocala, between you and Gary it makes me want to get back out there....but the 1800 miles between us are the problem..lol


10:46 a.m. on February 8, 2012 (EST)
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good stuff, Rob. I've not done any hiking in that terrain either, it would be interesting to do someday. I have to say, I am partial to our eastern lushness, though :)

11:03 a.m. on February 8, 2012 (EST)
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gonzan said:

I have to say, I am partial to our eastern lushness, though :)

I just had a thought... Maybe we could write the president and have the whole East Coast renamed "Luscious." 

Of course Pittsburgh would be the capitol. :)

...now where are my crayons?

11:20 a.m. on February 8, 2012 (EST)
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Very cool!  Looks like this is the time to hike there. 

A TR where no one ran into Tipi along the way?

11:32 a.m. on February 8, 2012 (EST)
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FromSagetoSnow said:

A TR where no one ran into Tipi along the way?


2:11 p.m. on February 8, 2012 (EST)
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This is most definitly the time of year for hitting the deserts. Highs were upper 50's lows about 30. 

Its a very diverse area, starting in the lower deserts around 3600 ft. and climbing up to 5000 ft you make the change into more pines and junipers. The higher elevations are right at the normal snow line so get to maintain that moisture longer and sometimes that is the cut off point where rain gets the Virga effect (evaporates before hitting the ground)

 Also depending on which side of a hill your on makes abig diffrence as to how much grows and what grows on it. Southern and Western slopes like the grass hills are baked in sun all day everyday so the dont get much of a chance to maintain any moisture to grow much. Northern and Eastern slopes get the relief from the fire ball so they can be thick as can be with growth. 

I keep looking for Tipi but have'nt run across him.......... yet :)

2:16 p.m. on February 8, 2012 (EST)
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azrhino said:

I keep looking for Tipi but have'nt run across him.......... yet :)

 I am actually considering starting a spinoff show like Finding Bigfoot called "Finding Tipi."

2:25 p.m. on February 8, 2012 (EST)
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Might be 1 and the same


2:32 p.m. on February 8, 2012 (EST)
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Ok, let me now rename the show too.... "Finding GLOVEFOOT!!!"

7:24 p.m. on February 9, 2012 (EST)
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Cool Trip!

I have never been in an area like that, it seems so open and sculpted compared to what I am used to.

I would also love to get some navigational practice in an area where you could look out over the landscape and see places on the map so easily.

Was your tent a Big Agnes?

BTW the photos were quite enjoyable although I understand your frustration with a camera you're not happy with.

12:22 a.m. on February 10, 2012 (EST)
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Thanx trout,

Yeah it is pretty easy to navigate in these areas. You can just sit down on a ridge with a topo and figure things out pretty quik and easy. I think I would have some serious problems back east or in the PNW with all those trees blocking my view.

Yes the tent is a Big Agnes Copper Spur UL1. I just got it, this was its first trip. So far Im real happy with it.

11:00 p.m. on February 12, 2012 (EST)
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I like the historical touch, the remnants of an age gone by; appreciate the size of those fruit trees!  Are the water sources fairly consistently reliable in those parts?  Do you mind sharing what you use for a filter/prefilter/chemical?  Thanks for an enchanting view of your homeland!

7:10 p.m. on February 15, 2012 (EST)
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 Im gonna have to plan a trip next year to try and get there when the apples are ripe. Might be kinda intresting with all the apples around as to what kind of critters are hanging around the area too.

Water sources are the main concern around here. If its been raining recently or snowing in upper elevations water can be found fairly easy in the deserts. If its been dry, like this year, then ya got to do some research and plan well for your sources. 

There are a few reliable year round sources out in that particular area. Thats one reason I chose to go there. I use a MSR MiniWorks EX  filter with a paper coffee filter raped around the inlet for a prefilter. Plus always carry chemical for emergency or that real scary looking water.

Years ago we used to drink from the springs and creeks out there without filtering. Never got sick but Im just not that brave anymore

10:42 p.m. on March 4, 2012 (EST)
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Nice to see Reavis again, Thanks. Will be heading there in a couple weeks to do our spring backpacking in the wilderness of the SW.

In 2008 we saw a lion on the Reavis trail. It disappeared as soon as it saw us which was ok. It was a young one.


12:38 a.m. on March 5, 2012 (EST)
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No shortage of lions in the area thats for sure. Some Cowboys I talked to on a later trip said they had lost 20 new calves the year before from lions. They were trying to round all their cattle up for the birthing this year.

I hope you have a good safe trip.


6:52 p.m. on March 5, 2012 (EST)
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We had a close encounter with a very large lion the same year in the Mazatzal, he or she was about 20 ft away from us and giving some thought to maybe eating us. I finally hit the cat in the head with a rock (my lucky fast ball) and it ran off and then we got the hell out of there.

We like to hike the Superstition's first, the Mazatzal's,maybe some of the Highline by Pine and off to the Gila in NM. We try to do about 6 weeks and then back to MN.

You know we have been through Plow Saddle a few times and I never checked out the water. I see where the trail goes off. How reliable is the water and how far? Did you camp there?

This site is great. It is very helpful to able to talk to hikers that have been where you what to go. Thanks


12:15 a.m. on March 6, 2012 (EST)
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Plow Saddle Sprg is pretty reliable. If you catch the Plow Saddle trail #287 from the 109 its a steap .5 miles straight down to the Spring. Or you can catch the Frog Tank trail #112 from the 109 and thats about 1.5 miles to the Sprg. There is a small area for a couple of tents at the Spring, but I prefer the site where I camped on the 3rd night which is about a half mile from the spring.

I dont know your plans but, there are a couple real nice campsites where the Reavis Gap trail crosses Pine Creek. These were both beautiful spots with tall shade trees and big rock fire rings already made, one had this perfect rock bench big enough for a couple people. I knew when I walked away I should have took pics :(

I did get this pic of the fire pit at one, doesnt really seem as big in pic as in real life. Its pretty darn big!


9:44 p.m. on March 6, 2012 (EST)
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We have camped at the smaller site, the one with the bench rock. Beautiful spot. The fire ring in your picture is across the creek in the larger camp site. Cool.

We will check out 287.

The last time we did Frog tanks the cats claw was bad. Lots of scratches. But the view was something. We would circle down Frog Tanks and spend the night at Angel Basin and then hike out Rogers TR and back up to Reavis.

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