Early Morning Hike

Superstition Mountain
Misty Superstition Mountain

As the temperatures rise, our hikes begin earlier. By 9AM, it gets too warm to be comfortable.

We headed out at 7:30 this morning, and hiked the flat preserve just outside of town. Beside the exercise, I wanted to collect more detritus for my artwork.

Hedgehog Cactus in bloom
Hedgehog Cactus in bloom

I scavenged an assortment of old can lids and rusted metal. We spotted a coyote who was too shy for a photo op, ground squirrels and plenty of quail.

The Saguaro all had blossoms on the top, as did some of the hedgehog cacti. That is one flower you really do not want to pick.

The early morning sun casts an ethereal light on the Superstitions, revealing the many layers of mountains, proving that the mountain is not one big lump pushing up from the earth, but a multi-faceted expanse.

Chain Fruit Cholla
Chain Fruit Cholla, aka Jumping Cholla

The mountain is deceptive. As you head east, it appears to be a small outcropping. In reality, the Superstition Wilderness is one of the most rugged in North America. The Superstition Mountain is the highest point in the Superstition Wilderness, and area consisting of 249 square miles. The Tonto National Forest, situated inside the wilderness, contains 260,200 acres.

Beginning of a Cholla forest
Beginning of a Cholla forest

The area we hiked this morning is just outside the wilderness, in county controlled open land. Just outside of the incorporated Apache Junction city limits, the land is surrounded by barbed wire, and off-limits to motorized vehicles. It is used by equestrians that reside nearby, and the occasional hiker that doesn’t want the hassle of driving to one of the trailheads into the mountains.

Four Peaks
Four Peaks

When hiking, you will often stumble on a hobo camp. Years old debris surface after every rain, and that is when I like to hike and collect artifacts for my clocks and found-object sculptures. If I am really fortunate, I will find animal bones. No such luck this morning…

The Chain Fruit Cholla, otherwise known as Jumping Cholla and Hanging Fruit Cholla had long chains of fruit.  The spineless fruit is full of vitamins and delicious – but extremely difficult to collect.  The cholla spines have barbs and are very painful, and almost impossible to remove.

The cholla segments are often very small and easily detach from the plant, and are transported by unsuspecting animals as they hitch rides. The joints detach so easily and hook into you, that the plant has been dubbed “Jumping Cholla”. These sections become seeds for more trees.

Personal Shit
After our hike, Liz and I stopped by Mike’s place for possibly the last time. He just bought a trailer in Tempe, and is moving next week. We picked up some furniture that he was not taking with him, that his kids did not want, and that he was planning to discard.

I brought home a very nice bar, which I am now trying to incorporate in the patio area. Also a very nice dining room server which we purposed into a TV stand in the living room. I moved a good portion of the CD collection into the cabinets, freeing our living room of the cluttered look.

Now I am just relaxing on the patio, enjoying a gold MGD and a cheap-ass cigar.


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