“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” -Helen Keller
As we headed out on the trail that day, I wondered if the name of the place should give us pause – the Superstition Wilderness. It was clearly too late to be thinking such a negative thing. We were all chomping at the bit, in one way or another, for the adventure ahead. But, I couldn’t see why a place, which was so popular, should be called something so ominous.
Never mind. Off we went. The specifics don’t sound too daunting. We had just hiked 4km the previous day. Mind you, over a fairly level trail. So that was my first problem, mixing up miles and kilometres! In addition to that, the elevation change is significant, in the desert. It is not at all the same as gaining about 350′ on a paved path, through a rain forest. Which is my local climb from the beach to home.
Basically, I didn’t pace myself. At every turn, I expected to see the end of the climb. (Surely we have hiked 1.5km by now?) Instead I saw the continuous line of people. That gave me courage. Clearly this was possible for many! Small children were skipping along, so it seemed. My own kids were far, far ahead. All I could think was, at least this is not the Camino de Santiago. Not that I seriously considered that trail, for even half a second. But this trek, doubly confirmed the wisdom of my previous decision.
Normally, I would never suggest a hike. NEVER. But, I really wanted to see the petroglyphs at the top. The pictures shown online were quite fantastic. But, I wanted to see them, IRL – in real life. Why couldn’t the ancient Hohokam carve these lower down? In a little bit more of a convenient place? No matter. There is so little information about these native cultures, the least I could do was go up to where they once stood, and appreciate the lasting signs of creativity.
The petroglyph carvings were beautiful. It was worth every step and I was extremely proud of myself for making it up there. As a bonus, there were lizards, butterflies and water had filled the basins, giving it an almost magical look. As I looked back at the view towards the rest of the Superstitions and greater Phoenix, with the haze in the air, I could almost imagine what it was like for the folks who did the carving, so long ago. They have left an amazing gift and legacy, for those who dare to venture up the path. (Hieroglyphic Trail.)
Have a peek at our trip in this video:
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