By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 1/20/2020
Posted: 11/1/2009
Topics/Keywords: #Photography #SuperstitionMountains #Arizona #Hiking #Travel Page Views: 3569
The family goes for a sunset hike in the Superstition Mountains.

I've been promising Zachary a hike for weeks now, but what with the moving and the unpacking and the trip East for Michael's 40th high school reunion, it wasn't until today that we managed it; and even then, we got a late start. But that turned out to be a good thing; our hike wound up including a spectacular sunset along with the rise of a full moon.

Our party consisted of Zachary, Michael and I, Zach's mom Jenny, and Uncle John (my son). I wanted to spend more time hiking than driving, so we just set out on Arizona State Road 88 from Apache Junction up into the Superstition Mountains, past Tortilla Flat six miles to the wayside park there. That provided everyone with a chance to go potty before setting out on the trail, which starts off as a paved nature trail. But at the end are real trails that meander near cliffs and into the canyon.

I love that Zach is as much at home in canyons as he is on neighborhood streets. Many of his friends have never been in these mountains, though they live less than 20 miles from here.

Zach: At home in the canyons.

Zach comes by his love of the outdoors honestly. Of course I have been camping since I was a kid in Boy Scouts; and I took my kids regularly when they were growing up—in fact, we spent a whole summer camping at Georgia's Stone Mountain. Both Jenny and John still enjoy getting out now and again.

And of course, Michael and I. (Michael hates this picture but I'll include a better picture of him later.)

The Author and Michael.

As mentioned, we arrived late in the afternoon and soon, the full moon rose in the east as the sun was setting in the west.

Full moonrise in the Superstitions.

The kids (Zach and his thirtysomething mother and uncle) decided to climb a neighboring pinnacle, which meant descending to the canyon floor, which meant walking down a steep but not treacherous trail.

Michael on the trail.

Michael and I hung out while the others climbed the pinnacle, explaining that a picture of them from here would be more impressive than a picture of them from there. And so it was:

Zach, Jenny and John on a pinnacle.

By now the sun was kissing the horizon, the sky was darkening and the moon was higher in the east.

Moon over the Superstitions.

So we started back to the car, me lollygagging behind to catch as many sunset photos as I could manage.

By the time we got in the car, it was basically dark. We drove straight home, almost, except I couldn't resist getting a last shot of the fading light over Canyon Lake.

Fading light over Canyon Lake.

That was taken from above the lake's eastern shore. By the time we got to the western shore and the scenic overlook, the sky was completely dark and the moon full on, with the lights of the marina twinkling merrily below.

Canyon Lake and marina at night.

Never assume that, because you got a late start, you should cancel your hike! Wonders await at sunset.