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Sunday Hike – Lower Barks Canyon Loop

Marilyn, Nick, and I hiked the Barks Canyon Lower Loop.  Starting from the Peralta Trailhead, the route is to take Bluff Springs #235, then turn south at the first intersection with Barks Canyon. The Dutchman Trail #104 is used to return to the trailhead. Total distance is only about 4 miles.  It took us about five hours to hike it though since we were in water much of the time while in Barks Canyon.


Friday Hike – Cave Trail, Weaver’s Crosscut, and Bluff Springs

Ben, Marilyn, and Mike joined me for 9.6 mile hike in the Superstition Wilderness. Starting from Peralta Trailhead, we hiked Bluff Springs #235, Cave Trail #233, Peralta #102, part of Weaver’s Needle Access, Weaver’s Needle Crosscut, Terrapin Trail #234, and Bluff Springs #235.

Our ascent of part of the Weaver’s Needle access was inadvertent. I wasn’t keeping an eye on the GPS track and we ended up hiking a fair way up the trail before realizing our mistake.  Even after returning to Weaver’s Needle Crosscut, we floundered around for a while before finding the path.  Weaver’s Needle Crosscut was still pretty steep – in fact some of it seemed more difficult that the part of the Weaver’s Needle access trail that we had done earlier.

We had hoped to hike Lower Barks Canyon for the finish, but it was wet and we were all pretty tired at that point.

A view of Peralta Canyon from the Bluff Springs Trail:

Ben and Marilyn take a break on the Cave Trail.

Ben and Mike on the Cave Trail:

Mike ascending the low ridge adjacent to the Devil’s Slide, to the right.  When I’ve hiked this in the past, in the opposite direction, we went down the slide, but it was wet on Friday; that low ridge looked safer.

Another view from the Cave Trail. (The Cave Trail is pretty awesome.)

A view of Weaver’s Needle as we’re descending the Peralta Trail NNW of Fremont Saddle.

We’re either on the Weaver’s Needle Access Trail or the Crosscut Trail at this point.

This was one of the easier sections of the Weaver’s Needle Crosscut Trail. The Crosscut Trail had less bushwhacking that I expected, but was somewhat more strenuous than I expected. It was still fun though!

A view of Weaver’s Needle from the Weaver’s Needle Crosscut Trail.  We are nearing the Terrapin Trail at this point.

A pair of hikers that we met on the Crosscut Trail told us about this large balanced rock.  The portion on top is at least as large as a bus. However, due to it’s closeness to the rock on the left, you might not even notice it as you hike the Terrapin Trail. I think it’s likely that we would have missed it had we not known about it ahead of time. There was perhaps a 15-20 foot section of trail where you could stand and see a distinct gap between the balanced rock on the right and the neighboring rock on the left.

I think we were on Bluff Springs at this point.

Another view of Weaver’s Needle:

Later afternoon on the Bluff Springs Trail:

Sunday Hike – Ballantine in the Snow

On Sunday, Michael, Aldo, Marilyn, Ben, Marilyn, and I hiked the Pine Creek Loop and a portion of the Ballantine Trail. Early on, the trails were mostly clear of the snow that accumulated on Thursday and Friday of the previous week. Higher up, however, snow covered the trail in places.  We hiked 7.7 miles with a total ascent of 1800 feet.

Kevin, Michael, Aldo, Marilyn, Marilyn, and Ben:


After raining most of the day Thursday, we got snow on Thursday night into Friday morning. I took these photos from our yard.

Friday Fitness Hike

Bob, Mike, Nick, Marilyn, Nora, Sara, and Kelly joined me for a 10+ mile loop in the McDowells. We hiked: Marcus Landslide, Boulder, Pemberton, Coachwhip, Windmill, East End, and Tom’s Thumb trails.

Friday Fitness Hike

Ben, Marilyn, Mike, Bob, and Cathy joined me for a twelve and a half mile hike that took us all the way out to Marcus Landslide (starting from the Trailhead Staging Area).

Some of us saw javelina (and ravens) on our drive into the park. Later, during the hike, we saw jackrabbits, coyotes, deer, and more ravens.

Ravens at the trailhead:

Passing through Stoneman Wash…

The pond is looking both cleaner and fuller than normal!

Marilyn, Cathy, Ben, Mike, and Bob:

One of many rabbits that we saw…

Look for the coyote in the lower left portion of this photo…

Owl clover:

We saw some poppies in the park, but we saw more and more as we neared the Marcus Landslide Trail. This bunch of poppies was just off the Marcus Landslide Trail near it’s interesection with the Boulder Trail.

A view from the Marcus Landslide Trail:

This bunch of poppies was just off the Rock Knob Trail in the Preserve.


Monday Night Hike

6.5 miles on Monday Night…

Friday Fitness Hike

Lloyd and I hiked 11.4 miles in the Tom’s Thumb area on Friday, the 25th.

Early in the morning on part of the Lost Wall Loop…

Continuing up, we passed this notable rock formation…

Looking down on Pinnacle Peak and Troon:

Tom’s Thumb and the Rist – yes, I’ve spelled it correctly:

It took us somewhat longer than normal to get to this point. Lloyd told me at the outset that he’s 70 years old with a pacemaker, so we went a more relaxed pace.

Heading down the East End Trail…

We saw a lot of poppies on Friday.

A cyclist coming up the Coachwhip Trail. Another hiker named Danny joined us for this section of the hike.

When we got to the Marcus Landslide Trail, Lloyd wanted a longer hike, so we turned left and hiked the little loop on the Marcus Landslide Trail. Danny had time constraints and headed straight back. I thought that this was a nice view of  more poppies and also of the Thumbnail Pinnacle high above. I told Lloyd that we sometimes hike up there.

Submarine Rock and some of the Landslide too.

One of the mushroom boulders along the Marcus Landslide Trail. The Granite Ballroom can be seen behind it – Marilyn and I once did a climb in this area – back in the days when it was possible to drive your vehicle all the way back to this point or perhaps somewhat beyond.

Another prominent pinnacle near the Marcus Landslide Trail.

Battleship Mountain

On Monday, the 21st, Kay, Diane, Diane, Nanci, Anne, Karin, Ben, Marilyn, and I hiked out to Battleship Mountain and back. Kay, Diane, Karin, and I went to the summit. According to my GPS watch, we hiked 12.75 miles with a little over 2900 feet of total ascent.

Early in the day on the Second Water Trail:

Looking toward Battleship Mountain from Boulder Canyon.

Diane and Nanci:

Kay, Karin, Diane and I are now on our way to the summit.  There is a steep scramble required to get atop this ridge leading to the summit. The dark spot in the reddish-orange rock just left of center is another hiker making his way back (and down at that point) after visiting the summit.

A view of Canyon Lake from the top:

Near the summit – looking back along the ridge we hiked / scrambled to get to the top.

Another view of Weaver’s Needle as we started to make our way back…

Kay and Karin make their way up one of the more exposed sections of the hike. The woman at the very top wasn’t in our group.

Looking down into La Barge Canyon on the left…

We saw this tarantula need the end of the hike.

These are a few of Kay’s photos:

In this shot, we’re still on our way to the summit. I had just descended the exposed bridge and am trying to figure out where to go next. Diane and Karin are still making the descent.

We’re heading back in this shot; another good look at Weaver’s Needle…

In this shot, I’m spotting Diane as she descends what is probably the most difficult technical section of this adventure.

In this photo, Karin and I are making our way down some more steep stuff. I think this is near the point where I had pointed out the fellow descending in the fourth of my photos.

Kay got a good shot of the weather system that was moving in over the Superstitions as we finished our hike.

Karin took this photo of the four of us at the summit:

Friday Fitness Hike

Mike, Ben, Marilyn, Kay, Diane, and Marilyn joined me for a twelve mile hike in the park and nearby preserve.

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