By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 2/23/2019
Occurred: 11/7/2015
Topics/Keywords: #Arizona #CentralArizona #LostDutchmanStatePark #SuperstitionMountains Page Views: 1208
All the photos from the hike I took at the Lost Dutchman State Park with Keith, his twin brother Chris and Chris' husband, Alex.

We didn't exactly finish the hike. It's a loop trail and we didn't loop. But we still got some excellent photographs and memories of a lovely afternoon's hike.

Keith's twin brother, Chris, is married to a guy named Alex. And Alex proposed the four of us—plus Chris and Alex's dog—go for a hike in the Supetstition Mountains. On our way there, it turned out that Alex had actually been looking at a specific spot in the Superstitions (which actually cover about 125 square miles), namely, the Lost Dutchman State Park.

Lost Dutchman has a number of hiking trails within its boundaries; we decided on #56, the Treasure Loop Trail. The brochure handed out by the ranger when we entered the park, said that #56 was a "moderate" hike with a total elevation change of about 500 feet and a distance of about 2.4 miles. And, it's a loop; so we wouldn't have to retrace our steps.

Treasure Loop Trail, Lost Dutchman State Park

The day was clear, other than a thin haze of pollen or dust.

Treasure Loop Trail, Lost Dutchman State Park

The start of the trail, at lower elevation, featured a lot of "jumping cactus" or teddy bear cholla, so called because it looks soft and fuzzy. But…it is not. The branches are so loose the slightest touch will loosen them and attach them to your clothing and skin in a decidedly painful way.

Treasure Loop Trail, Lost Dutchman State Park

The desert colors were as bright as if they'd been freshly painted.

Treasure Loop Trail, Lost Dutchman State Park

Keith and I seldom get pictures of both of us as a couple, especially on hikes. So it was nice to have people with us to rectify that problem.

Keith and Paul on Treasure Loop Trail, Lost Dutchman State Park

The massiff that most people think is the Supertition Mountains (it isn't; it's just the westernmost flank) is spectacular, and becomes only more so the closer you get.

Alex, Chris and Keith on Treasure Loop Trail, Lost Dutchman State Park

As we gained elevation, I found it was just barely possible to make out the skyscrapers of downtown Phoenix on the horizon.

The Phoenix skyline as seen from Treasure Loop Trail, Lost Dutchman State Park

In the other direction, the rugged landscape of the Superstitions continues beyond sight.

Treasure Loop Trail, Lost Dutchman State Park Treasure Loop Trail, Lost Dutchman State Park

The Superstition Mountains are the remains of the volcanoes that covered this land 10-20 million years ago. They are mostly all eroded away now, except for the granite plugs formed as the volcanoes died and the lava in their throats cooled.

The Lost Dutchman was a man named Jacob Waltz, who claimed to have found the legendary Peralta gold mine somewhere in these mountains. He wasn't the most honest of men, so his story is generally taken with a grain of salt…or a shot of whiskey.

Our trail rose rather steeply, prompting Alex to wonder if the 500-foot change in elevation was to happen all at once. The poor dog he and Chris brought with them, a little guy named Blackie, was getting tired…and so were the humans. We were supposed to hike up to something called the Great Green Boulder or something like that, then take a trail to the left, back down to the parking lot, the completion of the loop. But that meant climbing even higher than we already were.

Treasure Loop Trail, Lost Dutchman State Park Treasure Loop Trail, Lost Dutchman State Park Treasure Loop Trail, Lost Dutchman State Park

I'm happy to say, I could've done it. But Alex and Chris hadn't gone hiking in gods know when, and Keith and I had just returned from a camping trip that had gotten very cold and our muscles weren't yet completely thawed out. So we all agreed that we would just turn around, and do the "other half" of the Treasure Loop Trail on some other occasion.

Blackie wept with relief.

And, I must admit, flatter ground was a bit more appealing.

Treasure Loop Trail, Lost Dutchman State Park

Poor Blackie had to be carried by Alex back to the car. Or, poor Alex had to carry Blackie back to the car.

Alex carrying Blackie from Treasure Loop Trail, Lost Dutchman State Park

Because we had spent less time hiking than planned, though, I decided to show the boys Canyon Lake, just enough of a taste so they'll be easy to talk into coming here to swim next summer.

Canyon Lake