January 20, 2012
Apache Trail follows the Salt River below Roosevelt Dam.
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Driving the Apache Trail and hiking Lost Dutchman State Park
The car sat empty in the parking lot of the Lost Dutchman State Park in the famed Superstitions. “Where are they?” I asked my daughter Brooke, with a twinge of panic at the thought of my parents wandering bewildered among the volcanic spires and violent legends of the Superstitions. “Maybe they got lost,” she shrugged. I sighed. Served us right, this played into the whole day’s theme. My parents, daughters and I had heard of the legend of the Lost Dutchman and his gold mine. We decided to go on a day trip from Payson down the Apache Trail, through Tortilla Flats, to end the day with a hike through the jagged, saguaro-dominated landscape. We wanted to learn about the Lost Dutchman since he is an Arizona legend. The area we traveled covered the old stomping grounds of Jacob Waltz, a German adventurer who sparked a century-long search for gold in the Superstitions.