Old Church at the Supersition Mountain Museum

Old Church at the Superstition Mountain Museum

So the past few days have sped past as usual. I managed to pack-up, dump and move the beast by myself without any major miss-haps (yes, I ROCK!), Paul is finally back home from his trip to Miami, and we’ve even passed Valentine’s Day. The latter actually ended up being a rather epic night with our buddies Sue&Dave who brought Beluga down to join us at Usery. They spent the previous week fiddling and perfecting a margarita recipe that would (and I quote) “make you giggle like little children”. Given how hilarious the evening turned out and (subsequently) how long it took me to recover yesterday I can assure you the recipe was a mixers masterpiece worth a Nobel Prize. Oh my…..

Vista of the Supersitiion Wilderness. That's Needle Mountain on the right.

Vista of the Superstition Wilderness. That’s Weaver’s Needle Mountain on the right.

Driving on the Apache Trail

Driving on the Apache Trail

Gorgeous Canyon Lake

Gorgeous Canyon Lake

But before I finish up our time here in Usery, I wanted to take you on a quick trip east to the Superstition Mountains. These mysterious rocks rise like red-brown sentinels  just east of Usery. They are intriguing by sight, but even more so by legend. The ~40mile driving trail (the Apache Trail) though the range is one of the most scenic in the area following an old indian trail (subsequently a stagecoach trail) that runs through the mountains. It is also the site of the Goldfield Mine as well as the famous Lost Dutchman Mine, named for a German immigrant Jacob Waltz (yeah, a little geography mix-up here methinks) who apparently discovered the incredibly rich mother lode around the 1880’s but kept the location a secret. Hmmm…..intriguing stuff.

But gold is not the only draw here. There’s spiritual history in these mountains that pulls you in like no other. The Apache Indians believed the wild wilderness contained a hole leading into the underworld, while more modern legends center around ‘Tuar-Tums’ (little men), evil spirits and time portals. This area is a hot-bed of lost and mysterious stories and everyone (I mean everyone) tells you that you should never, ever hike alone out here. I mean ever….

Which is goodness to gracious so very, very tempting is it not?

A one-lane bridge crossing on the Apache Trail

A one-lane bridge crossing on the Apache Trail

Hiking off in search of time portals and spirits

Hiking off in search of time portals and spirits

Doggie and I decided to drive a short portion of the Apache Trail a few days before Paul’s return. After a quick stop at the very cool Superstition Mountain Museum we meandered out to the lovely waters of Canyon Lake for a lounge and a swim. Heading back home I had a sudden and completely irresistable urge to get off the side of the road and go hiking.

Being a woman with a sense of direction only marginally better than that of an amoeba, and having thoroughly and most definitely been told this is a stupid idea I have no idea why I even entertained the thought. Was it the call of the wild? The draw of the evil spirits? The pitter-patter of little green men? Who knows, really. Suddenly I saw a random pull-off, a completely unmarked hiking trail heading off into the wilderness….and before I knew it I was hiking happily into the wilds. Waaay, waaay too tempting.

Which makes the conclusion of this blog post rather boring. Pooch and I ended up hiking in a fabulously remote canyon, communing with nature’s spirits and making it back to the RV without time porting or other incident. Despite the lack of drama the route is a thoroughly recommended visit if you’re in the area. We only ventured a mere 15 miles down the Apache Trail so when we come back I’ll endeavor to drive more of it…and perhaps even go hiking again.

P.S. If you want to stay closer to the Supersition Mountains I definitely recommend Lost Dutchman State Park. Took a drive through the park on the way to the Apache Trail and it’s on our list to stay in the future when we come back to the area.

Saguaro spirit cactus?

Saguaro spirit cactus?

Let's go THERE!

Oh yes….Let’s go THERE!

Into the wilderness in the Superstitions

Heading into the wild and crazy wilderness of the Superstitions

Sue's epic margarita's

Sue’s epic margarita night. The only pic I got before the evening went a-blur.

Doggie goes for a dip in Canyon Lake

Doggie goes for a cool and refreshing dip in Canyon Lake

Life wouldn't be complete without a sunset shot

Life wouldn’t be complete without a sunset cactus shot


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44 Responses to Spirits & Gold In The Superstition Mountains

  1. Gunta says:

    For reasons i don’t quite understand the “Pennsylvania Dutch” are also of German origin… (just my two cents worth)

  2. Gunta says:

    Googled it…. apparently Dutch ends up as a mangled version of “deutsch”. Loved the images (as always).

  3. Black-water too? You do rock!!! :)
    Box Canyon Mark

  4. Rowdy says:

    Well I am new to following your blog. That being said I just want to say if you ever decide to head to Alaska I would be more than happy to give you advice or give you a guided tour around. We have lived here 51 yrs currently and enjoy RVing and the great outdoors of Alaska. We will be fulling in three yrs but will returning for the Alaska summers always. We enjoy your blog thx.

    • libertatemamo says:

      How cool to have you along for the blog ride!! And we may well take you up on that offer sometime. We did quite a bit of backpacking in Alaska before we went RVing and we love it up there!! Have thought about taking the rig up, but just haven’t made the plan yet.

  5. Mark says:

    And the margarita recipe is???

    Don’t make us come over there.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Okay, okay, I surrender and submit to you the perfect recipe…but don’t say I didn’t warn you!
      Proportions are simply 3 Tequilla, 1 Gran Marnier, 1 Rose’s lime juice.
      The Grand Marnier gives it a nice, fruity taste and the Rose’s sweeten’s it just enough to make it taste delicious. This is a STRONG recipe, so I advise one drink only :)
      Oh darn….now I want one..

  6. Janet says:

    Beautiful pictures! The Lost Dutchman definitely looks like something to check out. Thank you for sharing!

    • libertatemamo says:

      It’s a VERY pretty setting. The campground is basic, but the views of Superstition Mountain are simply lovely.

  7. I have to agree, the Apache Trail was the most scenic drive we ever had in Arizona. And if we come back we will try to camp at Lost Dutchman campground.
    Margarita ? yum

    • libertatemamo says:

      I have to come back and do the full drive. From what I hear the most scenic portion is actually past Canyon Lake where the road turns to dirt. On the list to do when we go back to the area!

  8. placestheygo says:

    Sounds like a fabulous drive and hike. Glad you didn’t get lost.

    I love margarita’s! Good thing Sue perfected them. Sounds like they went down very easily:)

  9. Lynne says:

    Love the Apache Trail– although I knew absolutely nothing about the first time I drove it….in my motorhome!!!

    But the dirt part of the road is lots of fun (preferably in your Honda and not the moho!). Enjoy the return trip!

  10. Bruce says:

    I’m with Mark, here … Spill the beans on the “perfect” ‘rita mix. Such goodness isn’t meant to be kept a secret!

  11. Sue says:

    mea culpa Nina and Paul. Just one next time eh?

  12. Mary says:

    Great pics of our favorite stomping grounds. We volunteered at Lost Dutchman State Park one winter and hiked some fabulous trails. We’ve driven the whole Apache Trail back and forth quite a few times. Another great area that you’d like is the Roosevelt Lake area at the end of the Apache Trail. You can get there either via Hwy 60 to Globe or Hwy 87 toward Payson and then taking 188 – a good road for the RV.

    • libertatemamo says:

      I’ve heard about Roosevelt Lake and it’s one of the areas I want to go back and explore. I gather there’s even some camping/boondocking up there? Lost Dutchman is a gorgeous spot to volunteer I would imagine…definitely the kind of place I could settle down and enjoy for a while.

  13. Donna (stickhouse in CT) says:

    Sounds like that’s an energy vortex area. Sonoma is one and that’s why so many “new age” people have ended up there. Hope I get to see that someday.

    • libertatemamo says:

      There’s definitely interesting “stuff” going on in the Superstitions. They’ve got a whole different feel to them than the rest of Pheonix area. Truely enjoyed my afternoon in the wilderness.

  14. Anne H says:

    I once took a horsepacking trip through the Superstitions – sounds like near where you were. The native american sites were the best. You’re right about the area being absolutely chock-ful of interesting history from early native american through the pioneering days! Definitely worth the trip – I went in the spring and the desert (before we headed up into the mountains) was full of spring flowers and flowering cacti – spectacular!!

    • libertatemamo says:

      There was WAY more interest in the Superstitions than I originally imagined. Definitely want to go back and explore some more in the future. I am SURE the spring-time bloom is simply fabulous in the area.

  15. LuAnn says:

    Why am I not surprised that you went traipsing off into the wilderness all by your lonesome?! And yes, I was one of the many who suggested that you should’t hike out in the Superstitions by yourself. Should have known that would be all it would take to entice you. Really enjoyed our visit tonight. Hope to see you, Paul, and Polly again sometime down the road. Safe travels to two of our very favorite RVing buddies. :)

    • libertatemamo says:

      I know, I know…I was readily warned…which of course only peeked my interest even more. Happy we got to see you again, and hopefully we’ll meet-up further down in AZ.

  16. Sherry says:

    Boy you do rock! Packin’ up, dumpin’ it all, off down snarky trails! Thanks for yet another great spot to put on my list of places to visit. I love it evern more when you not only show me a GREAT place to go but throw in where I should stay as well. Really beautiful pictures. Thanks so much!!

  17. Thanks for the run down on good hiking in the Superstitions. We will be there in March and April and will follow in your footsteps then on to California. We have been full timing in a 40 foot coach for 2 years and loving it. I will be studying your great blog for more travel ideas since we have the same taste in boondocking as you. Your efforts are appreciated! Great job!

    • libertatemamo says:

      There are definitely alot of interesting hikes in the Superstitions. There are well-marked hikes around Lost Dutchman SP, but they get more difficult to find as you go further into the Supersition Wilderness. Hiking out there is definitely not for the faint of heart, but it’s a gorgeous area!

  18. Donna K says:

    Oh darn, I love time travel tales and was all primed to read of your adventure through a time portal! Was hoping you would fall into the future and could tell us what the “Next Big Thing” is going to be!! Glad you had a good hike and that Polly got to take a swim. Great cactus sunset picture too.

    • libertatemamo says:

      I was hoping for a little time porting too….I mean talk about a cool blog post! Oh well, I guess a good hike will just have to do :)

  19. jil mohr says:

    hmmmm the Apache Trail….one more thing I will have to check out…and yes the recipe please…

    • libertatemamo says:

      I would definitely recommend it! Given you don’t like curvey/steep roads I would probably advise you to stick to the 1st part of the drive (to Canyon Lake/Tortilla Flats) and turn around there. From what I hear the 2nd part is alot more adventurous.

  20. Rattlesnake Joe says:

    There are such things as Time Portals and you can go through but getting back is almost impossible unless you know what you are doing my Medicine man told me not to try it. He can do it because of his training. There are also holes that if you put a compass over the hole and the needle spins…stay away from that area. Most people have no idea of the power that is in this area. Single people hiking have disappeared and never came back. Or their bodies have been found only missing their heads. So don’t go alone.

  21. […] for sundown (and if you don’t know what I’m talking about you can get the low-down HERE). The bottom line is, if you’re in Tucson DO go t the Desert Museum…and DON’T […]

  22. […] I fell in love with the Superstition Mountains last time we stayed in Pheonix and this park puts your right in the middle of the action. It’s a lovely State Park with large […]

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