Apache Junction, AZ
For our final hike in this area we chose another trail recommended to us by Hans and Lisa (Metamorphosis Road). The Black Mesa to Dutchman Loop begins at the First Water Trailhead and is a little over nine miles in length. The loop consisted of Second Water Trail (#236), Black Mesa trail (#241), and Dutchman’s trail (#104). With a moderate amount of elevation gain and loss the trail takes you through some picturesque desert landscape with great views of the Superstitious Mountains and Weaver’s Needle.
Spring flowers added great color all along the way.
The elevation change may not be overwhelming, but the difficulty of this hike is increased by the rocky condition of the trail.
While we didn’t see much wildlife on this hike, we did see a lizard here and there.
Thanks to Lisa’s description in her blog post on this hike, we were able to spot one Crested Saguaro near the trail.
The trail turned to the south and we could see the distinctive Weaver’s Needle as it came into view.
As we hiked the Dutchman Trail, about two miles from a return to the trailhead, we rounded a bend and heard a distinctive hiss and rattle just to our left. John jumped forward as Pam jumped back to avoid a Western Diamondback Rattlesnake just off the trail and coiled to strike.
Apparently he was just about to cross the trail when we appeared. All three of us backed off to catch our breath and assess the situation. The snake made the first move as he slowly came out of his coil and made his way across the trail between us.
After that heart-stopping incident, we continued along the trail, enjoying the colorful flowers and strange Saguaro forms.
About a mile from the end of the trail, we had to cross a flowing stream, an unusual event in the desert.
After finishing the hike we stopped in town at a coffee shop for some refreshment. Driving back to the motorhome we could see an impressive storm brewing over the mountains. We thought about the group of college-age backpackers we passed on the trail as they headed in to the mountains for an overnight stay. Hope they have their rain gear ready!
We’ve enjoyed our two week stay here in Apache Junction, but it is now time to head to the north. Next up for us is a stay in Prescott where the mile high elevation will bring us cooler temperatures.
More on that later . . .