By: John Vitz
It was billed as an Eastern Superstition Exploratory, but ended as a Western Superstition backpack. Most of Thursday morning (New Year's Day) was spent driving the Apache Trail looking for suitable approach. The roads into the eastern part of tee range are not improved and snow and ice on them made them impassable.
So a decision was made to go into the west end. The roadhead decided upon was the first water road and we set off about noon. We went north through Garden Valley and into Boulder Canyon and camped at Second Water. The afternoon was spent resting, climbing nearby points and looking at the beautiful Sonoran Desert vegetation.
The next day we moved about nine miles farther into the wilderness area. We encountered a man and his sons in La Barge Canyon. They appeared to be miners and claimed to have been there five years. We established camp at La Barge Spring. According to, one party member, it got to 8°F. that night, however there was no wind and it seemed much warmer.
The next day we got into the fire area. Some time in the last year the heart of the area had burned out. The destruction was total and springs, notably Piper's Spring - have dried up. The loss of a scenic area like this is appalling and it will be many years before the growth returns. Two hundred year old saguaros, huge oaks and cottonwoods, and acres of chollas were nothing but charred ruins.
We continued up LaBarge Canyon, past Whiskey Spring, Miner's Needle, Bluff spring and due east of Weaver's Needle. Here the party split, some staying on the trail and others going overland. On the overland route the incredibly skilled leader managed to get separated from all eight members of his party. They went down the canyon and intercepted the assistant leader while I.S.L. ran up and down two canyons and an intervening ridge looking for his flock.
Everyone finally got to Pipers spring about dark only to discover it dry, Good water was available a short way down the, canyon and camp was established. An early start Sunday got everyone to the cars by noon. The weather had been perfect and the desert (non burned) exquisite. By the official decree of the I S L the trip was proclaimed a success.
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