Ron Hoffman had read about a place out in the mountains called Hell's Hole. The only thing it had said about this place was that it was not a nice place to be in the summer, so we decided to find out why.
To get an early start and not be slowed down by the congestion on the free way, James Conley had suggested that we meet at 4 in the morning at his office. When I showed up, Ron, his son, and his dog was already there, but no James. I called him at home, but he did not answer, so I assumed he was on his way. Just in case, I left a message saying we were all waiting in his office. About 5 minutes later, the guard came running out his little shack shouting to us "There's a James Conley on the phone! Do you guys know him?" James did not get there until 5.
When we got to Superior, there was an accident, so we had to wait there also until they had cleared the road. By then we had already lost a few hours, and it was now getting quite hot. We finally arrived at the parking lot where the trail leading to Hell's hole started. We unpacked the van and packed our back packs and got ready. By then it had gotten so hot that we got to sweat from just putting on our back packs.
The first part of the trail was quite flat and continued through a forest down to a little creek called Workman Creek. To get down into the creek we had to descend down the side of a cliff, and we could now really feel the heat. The trail was a total of 5 miles. There were 2 miles from the parking lot to Workman Creek and 3 miles from there to Hell's Hole. We finally made it down the into the creek where we took of our boots and had a little break cooling our selves in the nice cool water.
We finally had enough of relaxing in Workman Creek, and continued our trip to Hell's Hole. We had now only 3 miles to go, but to get there, we now had to walk over a little mountain, and then down a steep mountain side down to Hell's Hole. The trail up the mountain was quite steep, so the speed went down quite a bit. We were all sweating like pigs, and had to drink a lot of water to be able to continue. Every time we came to a place where it trail wasn't so steep, we thought we had finally gotten to the top, but then we could see the trail starting climbing again further ahead. When we finally made it to the top we were all exhausted and had to stop for another little break. The top of the mountain was like a little savannah with a few bushes, cactus, and other interesting plants, but no trees to seek cover under from the burning sun. After having crossed the top of the little mountain, we headed down the mountain side to Hell's Hole. The mountain side was very steep and full of small bushes with lots of thorns on, and sometimes they had grown over the trail, so we just had to walk right trhough the bushes. The sun was burning us, and we felt like a danish pastry in an oven. We took every chance we could find to hide from the sun in the shade under trees, but unfortunately there weren't that many trees on that side of the mountain. It felt like the hike down to Hell's Hole took an eternity, and we now fully understood why the place had gotten that name. It was quite appropriate.
After finally having reached Hell's Hole we were all very exhausted and could just only get out of our clothes and put our feet in the nice and cool Workman Creek. It felt like the hike down had sucked the all the energy out of me, and all I could manage to do the rest of that day was to lie on a rock in the middle of the creek and absorb the hot sun shine. Ron and his son Brad got out their fishing tackle, and had in no time pulled out 12 little fish.
Late in the afternoon, we put up our tents and started collecting wood for our fire. James was the cook, and he was giving out instructions when the fire was going out because of too little wood, or when he needed water, etc. The dinner consisted of 12 newly caught fish and beans in tomato sauce and rice. I had brought 1 1/2 liter of white wine which we had put in the creek to cool down. The luke warm white wine went well with the fish and beans, and after the dinner we all enjoyed a cigar with the desert, which that night was chocolate.
We survived the night in our tents without being attacked by bears, pumas or other wild animals, and we got up early the so we could get back out of Hell's Hole before it got too hot. James cooked oat meal and made international coffee from France for us, and we all enjoyed our breakfast. We didn't get ready to leave Hell's Hole until around 9, and by then it had already gotten quite hot. We started up the steep mountain side and hurried from shadow to shadow. It was as if the heat had been turned up that day. We walked and we walked, but we didn't seem to get anywhere. Had the mountain grown during the night? The trail seemed not to have an end. A river of sweat was running from all of us, and our water supply was quickly reducing.
We finally made it to the top of the mountain, and I thought to myself "NEVER AGAIN". I have tried a lot of different things, but this was too much work to be any fun. We all needed a long brake before we could continue down the mountain again, so we sat their in the shade trying to find some energy for quite some time. The walk back down also felt a lot longer than the day before, and when we finally got back down into Workman Creek, we had to take yet another brake. What had happened to us. We felt like old men who could hardly move, and we hadn't even walked 5 miles that day yet?
There we now only 2 "easy" miles left, but it took us quite some time to get back to the van, draging our feet all the way. We were quite happy to finally see the van, knowing that we wouldn't have to walk any further that day. Great was our disappointment and surprise when we found out that we had a flat tire. Good thing for us we only had one flat tire, and not two, but none of us felt like we had the energy to change the tire.
After having changed the tire, we headed back down the dirt road, back towards Phoenix with Ron behind the steering wheel. We were talking about our adventure, when we suddenly didn't get a reply from James. We all looked at him, and he was sitting there with his mouth half open sleeping. He just passed out all of a sudden. The 3 of us still awake, continued our conversation, and about 20 minutes later, James suddenly replied to the question we had asked him then. We all cracked up, and he wouldn't believe us when we told him that he had been sleeping for 20 minutes.
And that was the end of our first trip to Hell's Hole.