Life in the desert. Sometimes it can seem like a hot, dry slog – especially as summer begins, with its promise of months in the 90s and 100s.
But rest assured, there is always an oasis in the distance to remind you of the joys of living amongst the cacti and the lizards.
I had one of those moments over the weekend, when I decided to check out a new trail (well, new to me) in the Superstition Mountains east of Phoenix.
In recent years, my occasional hiking in the Phoenix area had focused on the urban trails – Camelback Mountain, Piestewa Peak, North Mountain. All are great, challenging hikes, with sweeping views. But I must say, the traffic on the trails can get heavy, even on weekdays.
On this particular weekend, I was looking for something a little more remote. I had heard good things about the views along the Peralta Trail, and I decided to check it out. With little more than directions in hand, I set off on Highway 60, driving on the freeway through Mesa and Apache Junction.
It’s a bit of a haul, but I hung in there, and soon came upon Peralta Road, just past Gold Canyon, Arizona. After passing through a small community, the street ends, and a sign cautions that the next seven miles would be over a winding, dirt road.
But oh, what a dirt road! On this early-June day, the desert could hardly have been more stunning. Really – the views through this stretch of the Tonto National Forest are worth the drive. With the craggy range of Superstitions as a backdrop, the desert seems to go on endlessly, dotted with leafy mesquite, blooming cholla, and massive saguaros.