March 13, 2017, Superior, AZ- Spring Break started in earnest, this morning. A drive down to my dentist’s office took care of a moderately vexing issue, then I stopped at Scottsdale’s lovely Baha’i Center, to recite my morning prayers, in its serene courtyard.
Superior, and the Upper Queen Creek Watershed, have long been on my radar screen as a venue for exploration. Picketpost Mountain forms a spectacular backdrop for Boyce Thompson Arboretum, a compendium of desert flora, from around the globe. Like its counterpart, Desert Botanical Garden, in Phoenix’s Papago Park, “The Boyce” manages to educate a wide-ranging public, on the value of deserts and the importance of preserving the life that is found in them. Much more about all that, later.
My immediate draw, even before getting to the town of Superior, was a brief (2-mile, round trip) hike in the eastern approach to Picketpost’s base. This gave me a foothold on Arizona National Scenic Trail, the length of which may yet be in my future. It was also not enervating, as I am in the last week of a sunrise-to-sunset fast, of 19 days’ duration.
Here are some of the sights that greeted me, in the lushness of the Sonoran Desert landscape.
This work station is managed by the Federal BLM, two of whose workers were on hand, when I first pulled in, to make sure I wasn’t planning on camping at the site. Picketpost dominates Superior’s western approach, much as Pike’s Peak lords over Colorado Springs, and the San Francisco Peaks, over Flagstaff. It was named by soldiers stationed here, under Gen. George Stoneman, in 1870, as it was a good spot for a sentinel post. Here are some of what await the serious hiker. (I would consider it in October, not before.)
The wall is a remnant of General Stoneman’s western camp. The bulk of his operation was what is now the town of Superior, 3 miles further east.
As you will see, continuously, in this series, the rains have been good to Arizona, this winter.
Thanks to my zoom, here is a close-up of the top ridge, from a good distance.
In the opposite direction, Weaver’s Needle says “Hey, remember me?” I surely do, and what a marvelous trek that was!
I have encountered many heart rocks, all symbols that the Universe holds me in a good place. Diamond-shaped rocks are a sign of one step further. Superior would join Prescott, Bisbee, Flagstaff, Sedona, Tubac and Chloride as a special Arizona place in my heart.
Next up: Oak Flat