Recently I took a moment to get off the lake and take a hike up the Superstition Mountains in Arizona. What wonderful beauty the desert can provide when you’re not in the middle of a large city. The trail system I was hiking is located in the Tonto National Forest and is part of the larger 790-mile Arizona Trail.
The Arizona Trail traverses the state of Arizona from Mexico to Utah. This part of the trail in the Superstition Mountains takes the hiker up to Reeves Ranch. An old and abandoned homestead that stands at the top of the mountain. Full of forest, this mountain range area is elevated so high that there is diverse wildlife.
A 14-mile round trip is full of rolling hills, steep inclines, and flat trails. But what hit me the hardest didn’t happen until the hike’s back half.
With the help of my OnX maps software, I mapped the trail so I wouldn’t get lost in the wilderness. The trail is fairly well marked, but some areas get a little questionable and confusing.
No internet or cell service is available on this stretch of mountain, but I was prepared for a quiet hike with few to no additional hikers.
Before setting off on this hike, I considered my overall condition. I’m not an avid hiker and the weather was expected to be in the 90s by midday.
I prepared for my hike by eating well the week before and taking in a good amount of water. I also came across the Shaggy Outdoors website and their review of the brand Mtn Ops. The Mtn Ops Supplement Review provided me with a direct link to the website. Once there I was able to purchase products that would assist with energy and provide nutrients along the trail.
I packed my day Camelback and planned for a quick 6-hour trip. I figured 3-4 hours in going up the mountain and 2-3 hours back out to the trailhead.
My physical condition was not an issue. I took time to rest as necessary on the trip to the homestead. The problem started once I reached the top. I noticed that I had less water than expected. I did not recall drinking as many fluids as I did on the way in.
I assessed my situation and determined that I has only about 16 ounces of water remaining for a 7-mile hike back out of the truck at the trailhead. I had plenty of water in the truck. I brought a hard shell cooler and ice to keep several bottles of water cold and ready for when I got back.
I ate a little food to gather some energy and put Mtn Ops nutrients into my water bottle and took off. The first 4 miles across the flat top portion went well, with no issues and I conserved my water. The problem was once I got to the edge and was ready to start down the mountain I was back in the sun and the heat of the day. At about 90 degrees I made it to the bottom of the main incline with 1 water bottle and a little remaining my Camelback.
The last 2-3 miles took me over 4 hours to finish. I did not have enough water and the heat of the day was taking a toll on my body. You know the hikes not going to finish well when you start staggering, taking tiny steps, and start looking for cover to get out of the sun.
This story has a happy ending. While the last couple of miles challenged my mental and physical strength. The Mtn Ops meal replacement and supplements I had waiting at the truck gave me all the nutrients necessary to drive back down the mountain and get myself home in one piece.
The moral of this story, hydrate, have another water source or bring enough water, and have the right supplements to keep you going.