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Camped at Lost Dutchman State Park

December 20th. 63 km (39 miles) 4:20 PM: I'm camped at the one hiker/biker campsite at Lost Dutchman State Park (fee is US$10/night). This is my little spot in the desert away from the RVing masses. As a backdrop I have a large rock formation that is part of the Superstition Mountains. I plan to walk up there tomorrow morning.

Cholla cactus at Lost Dutchman
9:30 PM: It's unexpectedly warm tonight. Quite a wind blowing, but obviously a warm one. Makes for a much more pleasant camping experience than the cold nights up in White Tank Mountain Park. The moon, though not yet quite half full, is very bright. I've gone for several walks along the paths and park roads tonight - easy to see my way.

December 21th. Noon: Spent the morning walking up into the Superstion Wilderness, up in behind the crags above my campsite. Very windy still. Having lunch now, then I'll pack up and head northeast along the "Apache Trail" (State Road 87) and see where I get to today.

Hiking in the Superstitions
No Kidding!

7:30 PM: Fish Creek Canyon. Total mileage today: 38 km (24 miles). I'm writing this by firelight. A small fire seemed like a good way to stay warm and deal with these long dark evenings. I got here just before dark (about 5:45), set up my tent on this bit of eroded road above the wash, and cooked dinner. Now I get to relax! One hell of a descent coming down here. Pavement ended just before the top of a killer hill (8 km of continuous uphill) out of Tortilla Flats. Around here, no pavement means sand. Very difficult to get traction. (Don't even think about trying this route unless you're touring on a mountain bike!) Last 2 km were single lane and incredibly steep going down. I'm sure I used up half my brake pads. Also loosing daylight rapidly at this point, so I was very relieved to see a potential campsite at the bottom. I just hope the rest of this unpaved section (22 miles in total) is a little less insane.
Okay, the big question: Would I have gone this way if I'd known what was in store? Probably not - but its very beautiful, magnificent rocks, canyons, plants, and I'm happy to be here. Tomorrow?

some local flora
Road surface becomes sand for 22 miles - very difficult to get traction
Canyon Lake
cycling through the Superstition Mtns
descent into Fish Creek Canyon
campsite at Fish Creek Canyon

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