I know this is long but I want to remember this great hike.
I got to the TH early and was surprised Denny was already there so we got to visit for awhile until John showed up. We left the Focus at Peralta and took the other vehicles to Carney TH. I've read all sorts of review of this climb to West Boulder Saddle being one of the toughest, a leg burner etc so I was prepared for this being a long haul
UP. But I thot, having the false saddle, a break and then the top seemed not so bad. The Flatiron is similar as you have the semi-top at the spires and then the last of the real climbing.
So off we went with our jackets on to protect us from the morning chill. The very first part of the trail seemed pretty nice. We started getting into the brush and then UP we started, shedding our jackets fairly quickly. Shortly thereafter the sun was shining through. The hike was steep in a couple parts but nothing unreasonable and before you knew it, thx to the easy pace the boys set, we were at the false saddle in 70 minutes. I asked if I could re-fuel for the last of this climb so we took about a 15 minute break.
Before we continued on I asked John which was harder, the section we just came up or the next section. He thot the section we came up was the hardest so that put a smile on my face and an ever so tiny "lilt" in my step. Only 1/2 hour later, we were at the top of W Boulder Saddle. Really, that's it? No more? Yep, I'll take that UP over the Flatiron. Now down, that would be another story as it seems quite slippery for most of the way. This gives me a smidgen of hope that maybe I can do the Ridgeline
We didn't stay here long other than to finish off the conversation the boys were having with the other couple who was heading northwest. We, on the other hand, were headed what seemed like east on the Dacite Mesa Trail descending ever so slightly down toward the drainage that ran west. It was cairned very well. We could see quite a bit of water so that was an unexpected surprise. Once we got to the middle of the drainage and across it, you need to remember to continue up the drainage
, not the hill. John told us to memorize this area as we would come back this way (fortunately not) and up that hill .
In short order, you will cross the drainage heading SE and up toward the flat area mentioned in the trip description. I still wasn't sure we were on the right route until I saw what I called the chimnea rock with the mouth. Then I knew for certain
all was well with our hike thus far.
that John and I climb up into the chimnea's mouth for a picture and then Denny set his camera up for a group photo. From here you could really see a lot that just begged for exploring. We all agreed a backpack up here would be a great idea. That would give you ample time to goof around and check out some of those openings and neatly carved rocks. I had read about the pine trees but they really are something and such a contrast with the cactus and desert-like landscape. I couldn't get over what a great area this was the moment we hit the Dacite Trail
Next objective would be the Roost. The only mistake here is we headed down to the right (SW) too soon
. We should have continued to the big flat boulder on your left that is covered with a lot of lichen. It you look down from that, you will see a large cairn that will be the easier way to the Roost. Heh, but why do that when you can 'splore to find it which is what a lot of people do. We ended coming back up from one area, hiking a little more eastward and then down again where John spotted the entrance.
Denny bounced ahead so fast I didn't even see him leave the area. John and he went one way, I went another thinking I would try a short-cut through a couple fallen rocks... well it wasn't exactly a short-cut
but I made it over to where John was standing. I then peeked my head over the side of the rocks above the water seeps and yelled
for Denny, who was in the Roost by now, to come over so I could get a picture. He was almost getting used to hearing that demand by now
After John showed me the area with the hanging rock we went down to where Denny had set the camera up for a group photo between the two dripping falls (where I had stood above). He had done several test runs by now but it wasn't easy because we needed to get ourselves in the sun and try and stay upright in a small standable area. The area below the stuck rock where the water falls into a pool below with a pine tree on the other side and its reflection in the pool was so pretty and inviting but not accessible
The boys had mentioned lunch but I said I wanted to have lunch with a view up and out of the Roost. Before we left John found us another viewpoint from the Roost so we grabbed our packs and headed up just a little ways and toward the SW. You go under some rocks and wha la, you get amazing views
from this opening in the cliff's rocks. It was a little hard to get pics cuz the sun was shining right on you but it was cool looking over and beyond the edge. We could see the Carney TH. Getting out of the Roost was a little easier route finding and we saw the big rock face with the lichen and the big cairn marking the come down spot (so just remember on your way to the Roost to stay on the high side and go a bit further past the Chimnea).
We were then faced with a decision as to where to eat. Denny had headed back toward the Chimnea area where we came but John said, "I wonder what's over there" as he was looking somewhat SE. It was still early yet, around 11AM, so I said, we got all day and I'm thinking that might be a good place for "lunch with a view" so we rounded up Denny and contoured on the high side of the landscape in a direction toward the edge of the cliffs.... kind of like heading toward the end of a negative edge pool. The views were just fabulous as you looked down on the blank part of the Dacite Mesa that had no hoo doos... I guess they had all fallen down the cliff side or something.
As we continued to walk we veered north and pretty soon, there it was; the surfing rock
I had seen pics of and was disappointed as I thot we weren't going to get to see it. Yippee! and as we continued to try and find a nice place to sit down for our lunch with a view, there IT was. Weaver's Needle and the Four Peaks. Oh my gosh!!
This was OUR lunch spot for sure. I couldn't believe our good fortune to follow John's
desire to see what was over there.
So we sat for nearly 1/2 hour or more, eating and soaking in those absolutely stunning views. In 4 1/2 hours, I got to enjoy some of the best the Supes has to offer.
After lunch, we headed to catch the Dacite Wave so I could get some photos of my SupeSurfers
before we meandered southeast over to the top side of the mesa area above Peralta Trail and almost directly across from Geronimo's Cave. John had previously checked out a climbing possibility. I looked over and saw a large opening in the rocks which we checked out but it was just a rather large and tall pile of boulders that formed the front side of the area John was considering for a climb.
We decided that since we could see Weavers Needle and since there seemed to be quite a few cairns, we would tackle the trail to Fremont Saddle from here rather than returning to the intersection way back at the drainage. I figured the worst that would happen is we would get lost (explore) for a couple hours and then head back the way John knew if we needed to. Fortunately that would not be the case as following the cairns was pretty much a cinch. It was hard to keep a lookout for cairns though as the views were simply superb. The other thing was to NOT go down until you were directly across from the Saddle and the area where you would see the Gunsight rock formation (I had shown the pic to Denny so he could keep a look out since he was leading on this part of the trip).
But Denny had the same problem as we girls had on our February Starlight Arch trip search when we were told to look for a Chinle Dome, there were many; and Denny was seeing a couple possibilities for a Gunsight. So remember, not to go down until you get directly across from the Saddle where you will arrive at the Gunsight rocks. You will know it's the right set when you can line up Weavers Needle. I remembered I had seen a pic of SuzAZ http://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=120820
stemming (?) between the two main boulders so I asked John if he could do that. And like a rabbit
, he hopped up there and stemmed for a few minutes as I wanted to get a movie as well as a couple different angles.
Then it was around a little ways and down to Fremont Saddle. From there we headed south on Peralta Trail where we encountered an older gentleman who pointed out to us the collared lizard on the side of the trail. At first I noticed the man's bloodied arm
and made mention. He indicated he was a klutz but that blood was pretty red and there seemed to be quite a bit of it. However, there was a collared lizard to photograph, my first. And next it was over to the Cave Trail where we didn't encounter another sole until coming down Cardiac Hill (at least I think we ran into someone there).
The boys got a little ahead of me and pretty soon I noticed we were going higher and since this is the third time on this trail, I don't recall any up at this point, I say to John, "You didn't miss the trail did you?" and he said, "No, I thot you wanted to do some exploring"
.... which is true but I'm not sure this is what I had in mind. At the least though, it was a different vantage point. I had indicated to John I was wondering it there was a reasonable route around the backside (Lower Barks side) of the Geronimo's Cave so that one could create a Cave Trail Loop. I think John would have just kept going but I had my mind set on a snack break in the shade of Geronimo's Cave.
After we finished our 20 minute break, our next task would be the Devil's Slide and Bald Man's Head. However, we decided to take John's alternative route which is just east of the Slide. I think I prefer the Devil's Slide and Bald Man's Head as John's route seemed about as difficult
. And as long as I'm going to do a difficult route, I wanna have fun whereby I can stop at the
's Bathtub and then hopefully enjoy staying upright on the Bald Man's Head.
After we rounded the Cathedral Rocks, they made me
lead. So the pressure was on and I tried to keep a good pace until we got not too far from Cardiac Hill where I was finally able to turn the point back over to Denny. Whew! Before you knew it, we were at the Peralta TH, loading up in the Focus and at the Carney TH where Denny spotted the Vaporman license plate. We left a note and then headed to Los Gringos for an early supper.
What a great day in the Supes! What a great day with John and Denny! They were very tolerant of my movieing and photoing.
Video 1 of 3: From Carney TH almost to the Roost http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVm4uA5tLbk
Video 2 of 3: To, in, around and out The Roosthttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtwRrkU7-Pc
Video 3 of 3: Surfing on the Dacite to Stemming above the Saddle and finishing off with the Cave Trail http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocok3Clb-44