Once we got to the base of the mountain the climb became almost straight up. We scrambled over huge boulders and narrow trails as we climbed up the canyon. Unfortunately just after about a 1/2 mile or so of climbing I became very winded and my legs were burning. I informed the group that I would not be able to continue. If I did I knew I would be holding everyone else back and make it more difficult for them to finish before sunset. I had ridden with a friend that was doing well on the hike so he gave me the keys to his truck and was getting a ride back after the hike with another person in the group. This was much appreciated. After the group continued their climb and was out of sight I began my decent after my failed attempt. The climb down was even more rigorous with the steepness of the trail.
The group at the parking lot
View from the bottom
Only half way up the first climb---I stopped
The group continued above me
Being somewhat disappointed in my failure I made it back to the parking lot and was preparing to drive back to the RV park. As I was putting my things in my friends truck I started to talk to a couple that were going to hike up to the Wave Cave which was a trail just adjacent to the Superstition Mountain trail. This trail was only about 3 miles round trip instead of the 9 miles that I was going to attempt. I found out that they were in AZ for a couple of months and had a motorhome in an RV park closer to Apache Junction. I explained my failure and they graciously invited me to join them on their hike to the Wave Cave. There is some pretty steep incline with this hike too but as I said it was much shorter so I gathered my pride and equipment and joined them. We took a nice easy pace and enjoyed getting to know one another. Bruce and Paula are from Kansas City, MO but don't full time RV. They like to come to this area after the holidays until the weather warms up again in MO in April. We continued our climb until we were about a 1/2 mile from the cave. Paula decided that she didn't want to continue with the steepness of this portion of the hike. She sat near a large rock which gave her some shade and Bruce and I went on to the cave.
Wave Cave in the upper middle of photo
Close up view of cave from below
The "Wave" Rock hence "Wave Cave"
View of mountain and cave from the bottom
Bruce and Paula
Interesting cactus remnants
We took our time with a few rest stops on the way up even though it was only a 1/2 mile to go it was very steep. Bruce and I enjoyed the coolness of the cave inside and the view of the valley below. After a few photos and a little nourishment we started back down to where Paula was waiting. She said that it took us about 30 minutes to climb up and only 15 minutes to come back down. Once we got onto some flatter terrain I got ahead of them and took their photo. All in all I salvaged a disappointing venture in hiking. The Wave Cave was very cool and I even had Bruce take a photo of me "Riding" the Wave.
It really turned out to be a great day of hiking and making new friends. Just goes to show, you can turn lemons into lemonade. Thank you Bruce and Paula.
P.S...... the group started the hike at 8:30 am and didn't get back to the RV park until after 5:30 pm. I was back by 2:30 pm. I think I made the right choice for me.