I needed a good Superstition fix. The Charlebois Loop II did just that. I knew 16 miles was a good distance and I didn't really know what to expect. I kind of like it that way. When I set out on a big hike, whether it be out here or in Yosemite, I try not to do too much research. In some ways it sucks that I'm not prepared to notice a detail of the area, but the enjoyment in seeing something for the first time with no real previous knowledge is cool. The coolness usually trumps the disappointment. I can always go back to check out what I missed.
This trip was the same. I knew I was going to pass some springs along the way, but I had no real idea how cool those springs would be, nor how attractive those spots would be for an overnight backpack trip. I can totally see completing this loop again spending the night at either La Barge or Whiskey Springs. Plenty of shade and plenty of water. The great thing about the springs this time of year was the yellow of the Cottonwoods. So beautiful to see in such a harsh desert landscape.
The parts I missed though was first the specimen saguaro
and then Peralta's Master Map
. In my haste to hit the grove of trees past Charlebois, I missed not only the map, but the entire spring. I doubled back along the creek bed a half mile or so back to the spring and started looking for "south facing cliffs at creek level" trying to find the map. I got to explore around the spring which was pretty cool, but I couldn't track down the map. I gave myself an extra hour at Charlebois, but at 1PM, I had to call it quits and start the hike back.
There was a little bushwhacking around the junction of Upper Black Top Mesa Pass and the Terrapin Trail, but it wasn't too bad. Following the canyon up led me back to the trail. Climbing up Terrapin Pass was the first point of the day where I started to sweat. It was a nice late day push and I could definitely feel the burn.
The rest of the trail was pretty uneventful. The sun dipping below the tops of the mountains brought the chill back into my body and I was eager to get back home to a couple of cool beverages and the hot tub. I didn't see anyone on the trail, saw a couple of birds, a cardinal, but not much else the entire day. It was a great trip and I can't wait to head back this spring.