Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Reflecting on Service

Twenty years ago, BJ started getting serious about her hiking interests, mentored by a wonderful former backcountry ranger in the Grand Canyon.

Fourteen years ago we moved to East Mesa so that we would be closer to the river and so that BJ could join the Search & Rescue group active in the Superstition Mountains.

Through the years, organizations and people have changed, but she continued to do what she could to be available when needed for searches and rescues. Years ago she had one knee surgery and now it's starting to act up again. Meds help, but she's also more careful about how she uses it.

A month or so ago I asked if we could do a day hike somewhere in her stomping grounds.

We took the short route to Hackberry Spring. Like so many places in the Superstitions, it's a well known route but not an official trail. We started off on an old jeep road to a corral and windmill remains that predate the Wilderness designation.

I'm guessing that the corral and structures were build in the 60's or 70's given the use of old railroad ties for posts and the condition of the sheet metal on the shade structure. It was old enough to show lots of weathering, but certainly not "historic."


First Water creek wasn't running, but there were still quite a few pools with water.

Once in a while we'd spot a cairn although for the most part they were unnecessary. The route follows the wash which was very well defined.

Sometimes the route was across bedrock, sometimes a bit of sand. Most of it was across fairly large cobble. The creek clearly gets some major flow occasionally!

Hackberry Spring is a small pool up against the cliff, with a small pipe dripping out the overflow. It would be easy to miss since it's hidden behind some trees but the moisture does extend towards the wash, given the position away. While we were there, a small group of young people arrived, approaching it from downstream as part of the longer loop route.

We were blessed with a wonderful day. A few light clouds, and relatively cool weather. Well worth being on the trail at 7 a.m.!

The leaning rock was easy to spot as we headed back up the drainage. It's not obvious when headed down the drainage - hidden by the larger cliff.

All in all, a wonderful hike. While she really enjoys it, I sometimes wonder how much longer BJ will remain an active SAR member. She has met some wonderful people who are now close friends through her involvement and service but change comes no matter if you want it or not.

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