With this weekend's trip cancelled I had a hike I had planned previously to pull out of my back pocket.
I took Dutchman 104 from Peralta Trailhead and began the climb up Miner's Summit. It is a nice cool morning and I easily reach the summit and continue on the section over to Bluff Springs. This was the last section of the Dutchman's for me, so now I can say I've done it all. That section to Bluff Springs was ridiculously easy, I can't figure out why I have waited so long to do it.
From Bluff Springs, I climbed up the Ely-Anderson Trail, or that's what I'm guessing it is, starting from about 40 yards south of the intersection with Bluff Springs trail. This trail is actually much, much better than I was anticipating. Basically it's an old mule trail and the path is very obvious (after you get in the first hundred yards). I didn't run into the walls you had to climb on the way up other people were describing, though I did find the old Spanish wall Fritzki mentioned. It was a rather pleasant climb, all thing considered and the trail was very good. I pretty much followed the route on my map, staying on the mule path and not particularly following the many cairned routes, except for an extra few switchbacks near the top, where the mule trail is less distinct.
Up on top of Bluff Mountain is cool. There is a large flat portion with mostly tan grasses and a few hidden cacti in the brush
I ascended both the East (no log found) and West (signed the log) peaks. The West Peak log only has 10-15 small pages since Fritzki's entry in 2002. Go out and hike Bluff Mountain people!
From there, I took a hellish path down the west side of Bluff Springs. I was trying to follow the directions of my map and Fritzki's description, which indicate a winding path down the ridgeline. I didn't have much luck at navigating that as the ridgeline has some serious cliffs up there that I didn't want to touch. I ended up finding a ravine on the west side and doing a seriously vertical (for the first part) downclimb which was almost a straight shot all the way to the Terrapin trail. The ravine was pretty cool, but I wouldn't recommend anyone else follow in my footsteps. I'm not sure if I was ever on the "Bluff Mountain Trail", but when I came out I immediately found an old signpost right on the Terrapin that I'm guessing indicated the intersection of the Terrapin and Bluff Mountain trails. The signs were gone, but why else would you have a trail intersection post in the middle of nowhere?
Back on the Terrapin Trail (which I was very happy to find after that nasty ravine), I took it south to the Weaver's Needle Crosscut. I had some trouble finding this trail as Fritzki's cairns are long gone, but I had studied the "rectangular rocks" photo and was able to recognize the formation. After the initial ascent over the ridge, you reach a basin where there are exactly 2 billion, one hundred thousand and twenty-six cairns. Good God people, if you can't find the trail don't make any more new ones, it's probably already within 10 feet of one that already exists. I took one of the possibly eight thousand routes through the Weaver's Crosscut. The eastern half is not bad, it's that final descent to Peralta that gets you.
I found my way down soon enough (probably didn't pick the best one out of the 8000) and had to bushwhack through Peralta creek to get back onto the Peralta trail. I took the Peralta back home, taking a rest on Fremont saddle to grab a snack and admire the view.
Temperatures probably never went above 70. It was windy in the morning, but overall a great day to do this substantial loop.