Today, Liz and I hiked the Hackberry Spring trail. We had intended to hike only to Hackberry Spring and back, a short hike. We missed the turn off for the trail, and instead headed all the way to Garden Valley. Our five-mile hike turned into more than eight miles.
The hike to Hackberry Spring begins just north of the horse trailer parking on First Water. he path becomes rocky very quick, heading into a pass between two mountains. The trail follows a wash; and there was a lot of water in the spring as we wound our way along the trail.
The trail criss-crosses the wash, and with the lush vegetation was a bit convoluted at times. This trail is rockier than most, although still considered easy.
Hackberry Spring is nestled between two mountains, and the shelter allows for a forest of oak and mesquite, as well as water almost year round. This is one of the most beautiful areas in the Superstitions, and a respite from the ochres and tans and browns that dominate.
As we passed through the hollow we missed our turn off back to First Water. That trail, had we taken it, would have led to an old water tank, the remains of a windmill, and an old corral. We missed that turn-off, and instead followed the trail to a very steep incline to a pass that led to Garden Valley.
The trail wound its way around the bottom of what appeared to be a dead end, but a steep climb took us to the pass through to Garden Valley.
Garden Valley is a flat expanse that hosts ancient Indian ruins, and another large forest of mesquite and cholla. he ruins are nothing more than a large pile of rock now. There used to be the remnants of irrigation ditches, and you can still find shard of pottery.
The rock pile is the remnants of a large household, and as recently at the 1970’s you could find parts of walls. In the 1890’s. the patio was still extant. Nature and vandalism have erased much of this ruin.
If you explore, you will find bedrock mortars – holes bored into the rock used to mill grain and seeds from cacti. One of the four that are in the ruins is easy to find, 50 feet off the main trail, in the middle of the ruins at Garden Valley.
Our 5-mile hike turned into more than 8 miles, but it was well worth it. My cold beer when I arrived home seemed colder; my cigar so much more robust as we relaxed afterward.