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Elisha Reavis
(April 9th, 2008 - Superstition Mountains, Central Arizona)

I woke about 3:00 A.M. to the sound of a few raindrops splattering the tent. Dawn revealed cloud-covered skies, not an unwelcome development since our morning will be spent in the lower elevation sections of the famed Superstition Mountains.

Early on, we crossed under Highway 60 through a concrete culvert, after which the Trail followed a nice ridgeline north through the desert toward the Superstitions. Far away, the high crest of the range looked like it was supporting big oak and pine trees; a surprise, I had always thought of the Superstitions as an arid desert range.

Under US-60
Under Highway 60

Later, the sun broke out and we found water for some distance along Whitford Creek. Past the Reavis Canyon Trail trailhead, we met another Grand Enchantment Trail thru hiker, Andy, from Gunnison, Colorado. Andy warned us “you are about to start a pretty steep climb.”

Andy was right. A mile or so later, the Trail left the canyon bottom and began an unrelenting 2,500 foot climb to the crest of the range high above. We had lunch about half way up the climb, after which Terry turned on some jet engines he had hidden somewhere and charged up the remainder of the ridge. I did not catch up to him for several hours. He waited for me at the Roger’s Trough Trailhead.

It was pretty late in the day, but we needed to push on to Reavis Ranch in order to make up some of the miles we had squandered the past two days. So we left Roger’s Trough and headed into the remarkable Superstition Wilderness area. It was quite a surprise to see so many Ponderosa Pines at this relatively low elevation. This is really beautiful country.

Roger's Canyon
Roger's Canyon

The name “Reavis” is plastered all over the map - Reavis Trail, Reavis Canyon, Reavis Ranch, Reavis Gap, and so on. Elisha Reavis was a colorful character who established Reavis Ranch in the early 1870’s, and lived there as a reclusive hermit till his death in 1896 at age 69. His body was discovered beside the very trail we were walking, by a friend checking in on him. Reavis reportedly fought Apache warriors near his home and raised vegetables, which he sold to nearby mining camps and Army outposts.

Very late in the day we camped just short of Reavis Ranch on a lovely, wide, grassy bench above a good flow of water in Reavis Creek. There were few of Reavis’s large apple trees nearby displaying springtime white blossoms. It was cold and getting dark when we finally cooked dinner and settled down for a chilly night’s sleep.

We covered twenty-five miles that day.

-Dave Baker

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