We set out to do this hike counterclockwise but as we arrived at the Peralta Trail head a huge group of Canadians started out hiking that direction. In the log they listed the group as 36 people headed to Coffee Flat. (No, not Coffee Pot
trail as stated in the hike description.)
What?!! This is a Wednesday and there's this many?! Yeah, I guess you're right, it is still snow-bird season after all.
Anyway, based on their speed as they climbed the first hill it wouldn't be long before we would catch them. Presented with the choice having to pass through that large a group or go clockwise and start by going up cardiac hill... the choice was easy, we chose the climb instead of the Canadians. (Nothing specific against them, just against such a large group) Our choice worked out great as the climb provided a quick warm up on the cool morning.
When we hit the Terrapin Trail junction we took a left so we could go and check out Joe B's favorite Weaver's Needle view. I neglected to get the GPS track so I'm not sure we were in the exact spot but I believe we were close. We took our shots... squinted a bit as we tried to figure out what the white spots were partway up Weaver's Needle. We kind of figured it was snow, but that didn't make much sense at it was in a area that would have the longest sun exposure so it should have been melted. Whatever it was it didn't concern us so we headed back to continue our loop.
We met another group of about a dozen folks (Arizonans) taking a lunch break at Crystal Spring. As we passed through I asked if they were doing a loop, to which they replied they were. Not having seen a group this size logged in at Peralta I was under the impression they were going the opposite way as we were but they said they we going the same way as us. It didn't occur to me until the end of the hike (and saw they signed the log barely 5 minutes after us) that they started after us but passed us when we were off on our jaunt out on the Terrapin trail. Mystery solved.
The rest of the hike was uneventful with the exception of Tracey complaining that her feet hurt, which is normal for a hike this distance or longer.
While Tracey liked the idea of hiking ON-trail, we did miss the solace of our off-trail hikes.
The Canadians? Thankfully their group did their out-and-back and were gone before we returned.