Due to cancelling a weekend backpack trip based on the forecast, I persuaded Anne to come with me on this hike as I know she likes hiking in/around water. I don't think, however, that she knew about the extended boulder hopping though.
We arrived around 9 at the TH and headed up Bluff Springs trail. I had not been on this trail this way but Anne had been on it a couple times. So up Cardiac Hill we went. It's relatively short and once you make that first top, the views are really something. There was heavy cloud cover and with this light, everything really looked green as will be reflected in my photos.
There was the dip where you head north that I couldn't remember from my counter-clockwise hike here last year and all I kept saying to Anne is I hoped the trail would wind up the hill east; and it did as we arrived at the bluff overlooking Lower Barks and looking north at Weavers Needle. We let about 8 horseback riders pass and then made our way down to Lower Barks. We saw a small cairn on top of a flat boulder so we got on the Lower Barks a little sooner than I thot the entry would be.
The water was flowing nicely and there were big pools in many places. I do like how you get some nice bed rock to walk on once in a while. I did take lots of movies since there was so much more water than last year when I did this as my first non-casual/off-trail hike. I also saw a few amsonia http://www.hikearizona.com/phoZOOM.php?ZIP=92522
sprouting up along with another flower that I couldn't identify. As I promised Anne, we would not see another hiker on this route; until we exited at the Dutchman.
While we were having lunch around 12:20, we heard a loud boom, and then about 5 minutes later, 2 more booms.
It kind of sounded like sonic booms. If that's what we heard, I haven't heard those for a long time. As seems to be the case, hiking down the canyon was a lot easier than hiking up it and as Kat said, I would be turning and taking pictures the other direction due to the light. The temperature was just perfect for our hike. As we got back to the TH, SAR was there (Pinal). I heard somewhere that someone broke their ankle.
Oh, I did post a couple videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOgk-VLCP2I&
Pt II http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPtJgnS6j6c&feature=channel