Superstition Wilderness Letterboxes (2)  LbNA # 1099

OwnerThe Nail Family      
Placed DateMar 2 2003
CountyMaricopa
LocationApache Junction, AZ
Boxes2
Found ByJolly Mon
Last UpdateOct 20 2011

Clues

The Superstition Wilderness Letterboxes
(Apache Trail, Arizona)
First Water Trail, Apache Junction, AZ, Maricopa County
By Nailhead of the Nail Family
Placed 3/2/03

Update- as of 11/29/04 Box #1 was replaced in a new location. Clues below supercede former clues.


Difficulty:
Trail: moderate with some rock scrambling
Clues: easy with some plant identification and compass use

WARNING: This series of letterboxes is planted in a Desert
Wilderness Area. Never go into this or any other wilderness
area without a good map, compass, plenty of water, proper
clothing, and food. Also, make sure that you let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return . There are many dangers in the Desert Wilderness such as exposure to extreme heat, cold, and animals. Take the necessary
precautions to keep safe.

Directions:
From Tempe/Mesa head east on Hwy 60 to Apache Junction
Head northwest on Apache Trail-Hwy 88 appx 5.5 miles.
Lost Dutchman State Park will be on the right. Just past the
entrance to the State Park is the entrance to the First Water
Trailhead which is in the Superstition Wilderness and part of the
Tonto National Forest and not part of the State Park.
User Fee: There is a $4 daily use fee which is good for any area in the Tonto National Forest. Follow the road into the wilderness area for about 2 1/2 miles to the First Water Trailhead.

Clues:

Second Water Letterbox, Box #1
Follow the First Water Trail appx 1 mile to the junction of another trail. At the juction will be a trail sign on a wooden fence post in the center of a rock pile. The sign gives a choice of trails, one to 2nd Water, the other to Black Mesa.

From the top of the sign take a bearing of 240* magnetic and sight a two armed saquaro cactus. Climb the hill to the saquaro and look for a ledge of rock behind and above the cactus. The box will be there beneath rock and wood. BE CAREFUL, snakes abound.

Weavers Needle Vista Letterbox, Box #2
From the trail sign, follow the trail toward Black Mesa. This trail
gets a little more rigorous as you climb up the steeper slope to
the top of the mesa. Once you come to the top of the hill the
ground will flatten out and you will get a great view of Weavers
Needle.
Continue across the flat top of the mesa to where the trail starts
to drop down the other side of the hill.
Look to your left and see another hill. There are many Saguaro
on this hilside. One in particular is enormous. It has perhaps
15-20 arms. A cactus of this size will be close to 200 years old.
The old Lost Dutchman himself may have looked on this ancient
cactus when he hid his gold long ago. Walk to the old soldier.
Be carefull of the wooly looking teddy bear cholla cactus as you
pick your way across the flat and up to the saguaro. The cholla
are reported to be good jumpers and will stick you good if you
get too near.

Once at the giant saguaro, position yourself so that you can line
up the trunk of the grande cactus with Weavers Needle. Look to
over your left shoulder and you will see a much smaller saguaro
with a small rock pile piled against its uphill side. The letterbox
is hidden within this rock pile. Again be very careful removing the
box as this is rattlesnake, scorpion, and tarantula country.
Stamp in and enjoy.

Ancient legend has it that there is a geocache nearby but several
prospectors have tried to locate it recently to no avail. Perhaps
the ghost of the old Dutchman has taken it away, or more likely it
was the forest rangers who scour the geocache website in order
to remove the scourge of the public lands. Since the rangers like
to remove these types of items, be careful to rehide the letterbox
well and to not disturb the area while searching.

After you return the box, carefully make your way back to the trail.
You can continue on the trail in the direction you were headed
and eventually end back at the parking lot. Or you can turn back
and enjoy the scenery as you descend back down the west side
of the hilside.

I hope you enjoy the hike and incredible scenery of this
magnificent wilderness area.
Send any comments to
the7nails@yahoo.com

Warning: Snakes, scorpions, spiders, and other vicious nasties
have been known to take up residence in the natural habitat of
letterboxes. Wear protective gloves or better yet, poke around
with a stick prior to reaching into any hole or crevice. Poking
around will get the critters good and mad so you will be sure to
know that they are there.