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Friday Hike – Peter’s Canyon / Peter’s Cave

Ben, Marilyn, Nick, Joe, Nora, and I hiked Peter’s Canyon on Friday.

We had planned to hike at the Mogollon Rim, but the forecast high for the day there was only 36 degrees F with winds between 20-30mph, with gusts of up to 40mph.  So, instead, we did a canyon hike in the Superstition Wilderness where it was still forecast to be pretty windy, but the forecast high was 65.  However, for much of the hike, the canyon walls blocked nearly all of the wind, providing us with relatively calm conditions during our hike.  The only time when we noticed significant wind was when we climbed up to Peter’s Cave, which was the destination for our hike. I think we were all happy that we changed our plans for the day.

Joe and I had hiked Peter’s Canyon about a year ago.  On this year’s hike, we encountered deeper pools with a lot more flowing water.

This is a view from near the trailhead at Tortilla Flat:

Another view from early in the hike:

This is a Rock Live-Forever plant.  We saw several of them on our hike.

Brittlebush:

The trail led our down towards Tortilla Creek:

Early views of Tortilla Creek / Canyon:

Nick and the others examine tracks by the creek.  On the way back, Ben pointed out a large paw print with three widely spaced claw / toe impressions.  We have no idea what it was.

Joe climbs a large boulder in the creek:

Joe took photos of his own from atop the boulder.

Marilyn Huot provided this photo of Joe atop the boulder:

(Photo Credit: Marilyn Huot)

This is the entrance to Peter’s Canyon – it drains into Tortilla Creek.

There are a number of large boulders at the entrance to Peter’s Canyon.  This entire section can be bypassed if desired by following a trail on the side of the canyon to the right.  A pair of backpackers quickly passed us by going that way.  But we had more fun scrambling up and down boulders.

These saguaros are above the narrow tunnel / chimney that Marilyn, Ben, and I went up to get to this point.  On the way back, we all went through this hole in the rocks.  (It can’t be seen in this photo – I forgot to take a photo of it.)

This is one of many pools that we encountered along the way.  It really was that green.

In order to keep our feet (mostly) dry, we frequently had to do a bit of scrambling to go around and above the water.

We’re about to turn a corner (to the right) here, at which point the going got considerably easier.

But first, we had to do some more rock hopping and scrambling:

Joe, Nick, Nora, Marilyn, and Ben:

The hiking got considerably easier for perhaps the next quarter mile. Nick noticed the hole in the rock formation near the center of this photo.  I don’t recall seeing it on my past visits to this canyon.

Looking back down-canyon:

This is a Hackberry Beardtongue, a type of penstemon:

We’re getting closer to our destination. You can see one of the backpackers (with the orange pack) ahead of us.

This is Peter’s Cave.  We all climbed up to the cave and ate lunch.  The ascent to the cave was easier than I remember it being last year. I think the path was better defined this year.

Ben looks back at the cave prior descending back to the canyon floor:

We saw this spiky fruit on the way back. None of us knew what it was. (Denise, in a comment to this post, has identified it as wild cucumber.)

This is Owl Clover / Exserted Indian Paintbrush.  We found it growing near the spiky fruit shown in the photo above.

Mexican Poppy:

Desert Chicory:

Globemallow:

We avoided the water in some areas by hiking high on the banks.  It was less wet and less rocky than hiking near the water.

Nick, Nora, Marilyn, Ben, and Joe hiking along a rock ledge above the water.

I was fascinated by the little islands of white rock.

Fleabane:

Nora and Nick:

We’ve turned the corner now and have reentered a very entertaining part of the canyon.

Joe takes a break while the rest of us catch up.

We’ve exited Peter’s Canyon now.  This is a look back at the entrance.

Mariposa Lily:

This might be Perezia / Brownfoot:

Globemallow with yellow brittlebush beyond the prickly pear cacti:

Hedgehog blossoms:

Marilyn Huot sent me additional photos of the group:

(Photo Credit: Marilyn Huot)

This is me standing beside a small waterfall.

(Photo Credit: Marilyn Huot)

Joe, Nick, Ben, Kevin, and Nora:

(Photo Credit: Marilyn Huot)

Ben, Joe, Nora, Nick, and Kevin (from back to front):

(Photo Credit: Marilyn Huot)

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