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Planned Hike – Superstition Wilderness, AZ

supersition wilderness

Well, I am going on another backpacking trip in a few days. The weather sucks here in Michigan right now so my timing couldn’t be better. I guess you can’t skip winter every year. Anyways, my escape is the Superstition Wilderness of Arizona, a 160,000 acre tract of land within the 3 million acre Tonto National Forest. I’ll be hiking 6 days and have a 88 mile route planned. I will also be going solo for this trip, which I haven’t done since the Porcupine Mountains.

After experiencing some pretty painful knee pain during my last hike in Linville Gorge, NC, I started looking into reducing my pack weight. I’m going to go into more details on this in another post, but so far I’ve shaved off around 8lbs! The biggest weight savings came from a new backpack and making a lightweight tripod to replace my bulky 2lb’er.

Along with reducing my pack weight, I modified my exercise routine. I did some research on knee pain related to backpacking, and realized that I may not be working out my hamstrings enough. I do squats for my quads regularly, but seldom do deadlifts. This may cause a muscular imbalance leaving the hamstring weaker than the quads, causing knee pain going downhill. I don’t really like doing deadlifts though, especially before a backpacking trip because I can’t run for several days afterwards. My lower back is just too sore. But then I read about SLDLs (stiff leg deadlifts) and realized that these target the hamstrings much more aggressively than regular deadlifts. I’m doing much less weight but my hamstrings are still pretty sore the next day, and my lower back doesn’t hurt as much. Probably due to lifting much less weight. The consistently foul weather has prevented me from running as much as I usually do, so I’ve been doing more stair climbs instead. I loaded up my backpack with 50 pounds and do around 30 minutes up and down my basement stairs. Trust me, it’s a great workout!

I also added a joint supplement to my diet. I have been taking Osteo Bi-Flex twice a day for the last month, and will be bringing it on my trip as well. It’s 2 main ingredients, glucosamine and chondroitin, are supposed to help build and lubricate cartilage. I can’t say whether or not they work just yet. All I know is, I never though I’d be taking a pill with a name like Osteo Bi-Flex until I got my AARP card. Sure does make you feel old.

This hike is going to be about twice the length of anything I’ve done so far, but I’m excited as hell. With a lighter pack, lighter footwear (wearing my Merril Moab Ventillators instead of my Zamberlain Vioz GT boots), and an improved exercise regiment, I’m hoping to cover more ground and with less effort. Either way, it’s sure to be an adventure. I’ll get a trip report up as soon as I can!

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2 Responses

  1. Avatar
    Lennie Lefler

    Hi—I was wondering how your hike in the ‘Supers’ went?? Sounds like you are/were going to see alot of the area. I’ve hiked the supers since the early 70s—always been my favorite area—after the Grand Canyon and the Sierras. I’m sure you are aware of all the mystery etc., regarding the Lost Dutchman Mine—in the supers. There are still a few “odd” guys out there that are looking for the mine. Did you explore/hike thru Needle Canyon?? My favorite area out there—and with it, Bluff Springs Mountain. (where some people think the Mine is/was) I also have a bad back and knee—I’ve been a runner/hiker for many many years—the glucosamine, chondroitin combo—I’ve tried several different times over the years—-NEVER did a thing—most sports Dr. have said they don’t really do much. It sounds like you are younger by far than me—I’m 67 retired, I was born in Detroit ( Ferndale) , but my parents moved the family to San Diego when I was 7…..Been in SD most of my life. Funny though, I am and have always been a Michigan Wolverine fan. I did live in Arizona for almost 9 years—so got to hike/explore the Grand Canyon and the Supers many times. Well, take care—let me know how your 6 day adventure went. Happy Hiking!! and GO BLUE!! Lennie—-


    February 7, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    • MetalBackpacker

      Hi Lennie! This hike (the march 2013 hike) didn’t go as planned. I got sick the day before I left home (3 day, 2,000 mile drive) and ended up doing a much shorter version of the hike over 4 days. A storm rolled in on my first night and blew my tent over a few times in the middle of the night, when it was in the upper 30s and raining. A lot went wrong on this hike. I have a more detailed trip report written up here: Supes March 2013 Hike.

      Since things went wrong on my first attempt, I decided to go back to the Superstition Wilderness again this winter for another shot. I modified the route I had planned last year and ended up doing over 7 days. I have a trip report for this hike here: Supes January 2014 Hike.

      I can see why you like the Supes! I have heard about the stories of lost gold, and the people who’ve died looking for it. My guess is that if there ever was any gold, it’s long gone by now. On my January 2014 hike there, I did pass through Needle Canyon, but didn’t get much chance to explore. I did, however, hike the Needle Cut Off Trail. Twice, actually. A guy I passed said he saw some big horn sheep over in Needle Canyon, on the Terrapin Trail, but I didn’t see any. I camped in the Bluff Spring area on my first night out there. It took me a minute to find the spring, glad I had it saved as a waypoint on my GPS.

      I hear ya with the glucosamine & chondroitin… I initially thought it may be helping but have since proved that wrong unfortunately. I hurt my knee on a short run a few weeks before my last hike and was worried about it acting up in the Supes. I ended up getting a shot of cortisone in the knee 2 days before the hike, just to be safe. I had no pain whatsoever, but the knees were a little sore coming down from Siphon Draw. Man, that was one steep decent!

      Another Michigander… small world! There’s a lot of them scattered about the country, I seem to run into them no matter where I go. Lots of Michiganders in Florida especially. I went to a Red Wings/Lightning hockey game in Tampa several years ago and there were more Wings fans than Lightning fans!


      March 1, 2014 at 8:50 pm

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