Archive for December, 2011

Airport Mesa

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

“Need anything from me this weekend?”

“Nope. Can’t think of a thing…”

“GREAT! I’m going hiking.”

“No! Wait! You know, there is this one thing – or maybe six…”

So I didn’t hike Bluff Springs or anywhere else that weekend.

If you can tear yourself away this weekend, go to Estrella Mountain Regional Park. Not from my guidebook, but there will never be better weather for it.

Now, as promised, more behind-the-hike stuff from 5 Star Trails Flagstaff and Sedona

AIRPORT MESA

DATE: 15 April 2010

COMPANIONS: None

START:  1pm             END: 3:35pm

ACTUAL TIME: about 2.5 hours

ACTUAL MILES: about 4.

This was the first hike I did for the guidebook, with the old DVR and the old GPS and the old logic about how hike descriptions should go.

Most sources do this hike counter-clockwise, but I did it clockwise. So there!

Airport Mesa is properly known as Tabletop Mesa, but everyone calls it Airport Mesa for obvious reasons.

As of this writing, there is no functioning restaurant at the airport. I mention this because a few older guidebooks mention one.

The Table-Top sidetrack is totally worth it.

As mentioned in the text, you can see Red Rock High School from the trail. I spent the better part of August 2010 working there as part of my day job. You might think this make hiking around Sedona easier, but I was the only one of 4 crew guys with a car, and we were camped at the Super 8 in Cottonwood, so by the time I got those guys settled I had less than 2 hours of daylight left. It actually set me quite a bit back.

But we discovered the Red Planet Diner, and that made the guidebook.

This is the You Tube companion piece.

http://youtu.be/d7K1dLkiqQE

Superstitions After the Crash

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

On the day before Thanksgiving, a twin-engine plane crashed into the Flatiron formation of the Superstition Mountains killing all aboard. It made national news, but the best coverage I’ve found is from the local Apache Junction News. (http://www.ajnews.com/) Don’t dawdle, they do not have a permanent URL to this story, so its gone when they put out a new issue.

Apache Junction is the town immediately adjacent to the Superstition Wilderness and the Lost Dutchman State Park . It is a distant suburb of Phoenix.

Rescue workers and investigators have concluded operations on the site, and the area is open to the public. There are no designated trails up Flatiron, but there are several unofficial routes climbing it. Jacob’s Crosscut and Siphon Draw are the closest designated trails to the crash-site.

Flatiron photo by Joe Bartels

The Forest Service has requested (insists, really) that any remaining debris be left undisturbed. In particular, they do not want anyone else to bring found body parts to the ranger station (this has apparently already happened).

Despite those sad circumstances, there’s really no better time to hike around the western Supes. I’m going to steer you a bit away from the crash to the Bluff Springs Loop from Peralta TH.

I wrote about this hike in D&O Tonto. The FS is redoing their online trail guides, and the current description have only mileage, elevation, wilderness rules and a note that the route is heavily used. If you’re a member (and that’s free) HikeAz has a good description.

http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=12

This is a crowded part of the wilderness on weekends, and I will be part of that problem, since I lan to hike this myself on Saturday (12/3/11). Maybe I’ll see you there.

Behind-the-hike segments resume next week.