|Hiking||5.00 Miles|| 5 Hrs || ||1.00 mph|
|1,400 ft AEG|| || || |
Even though we did a loop from Peralta Trailhead to Fremont Saddle, we returned via the cave Trail so this writeup and most of the photos will be of the Cave Trail. Joe is very right when he says that the Cave trail is one of the most known trails that "isn't". Most of the route is really not a "trail". Lots of smooth rock and a number of fairly difficult vertical climbs and descents to negotiate. One major difference from the last time I came back to the trailhead this way is that someone has very graciously and quite thoroughly placed a number of carins that mark the way. I agree that many carins are not really necessary when they are on existing trails. However on a trail such as the Cave Trail the placement of carins is extremely helpful. There are a number of places where care must be taken as the dropoffs are very near and they go a long way down.
Of course we started from Peralta trailhead and went the 2.25 miles to Fremont Saddle. (Every time I do this it seems like it gets steeperâ€”or am I getting older?) Once we reached Fremont Saddle we admired Weaver's needle, as always, and proceeded in an easterly direction until we came to a junction where one trail went north to the lone pine and the other trail went south toward the Geronimo Cave. When I had done this route before it was confusing to me as there is a switchback that could easily be missed that enables you to get around the first ridge. This time I was watching carefully and found that carins clearly marked the switchback spot and on around the ridge to the base of the highest ridge where the cave exists.
From Fremont Saddle to the Geronimo Cave is actually fairly easy as the trail is visible and the switchback place is now marked with a carin. In a day or so I will post some photos and label them that show some of the route. Once you reach the main cave it is necessary to climb up to it. There are several places to do this but if you go completely past the cave you will find a much easier way to climb to it. The views from the cave are spectacular; Peralta trail laid out before you with its various switchbacks and the hoodoos forming a backdrop for some great photos.
Now the fun part-and difficult part-of this hike starts. You round the corner of the ridge and find yourself at a shute called the devils slide. I was able to get down this section without sitting down. It is steep but doable with good grip boots. The you come to the bathtub which is a great design for a backyard jacuzzi-except there is no water. Just the other side of the tub starts two slopes that go down very fast. OK OK so Andy walked down the rock faces. I sat down and inched my way down. It is not really scary but it goes down very fast. From there you dart back and forth around boulders and climb up and around a rock display known as the Cathedral Rock. You pass just under it and note that there is evidence that rock climbers have used this in the past. Once past cathedral Rock you wander down gullies and over ridges until you descend quite steeply to the Bluff Springs Trail that takes you back to the Peralta Trailhead A number of places you see the parking lot.
We stopped often and also had lunch and found that this route took us 5 hours and it is 5 miles. The last part of the cave trail is not easy-even when you know where you are going. You have to watch your steps. The rewarding part is I now have been inside Geronimo Cave and can look up at it from Peralta with a sense of accomplishment.
|Life is what is happening while you are making other plans.|