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Miners Needle Loop
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mini location map2012-12-22
60 by photographer avatartibber
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Miners Needle LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 22 2012
Hiking9.38 Miles 1,646 AEG
Hiking9.38 Miles   5 Hrs   30 Mns   2.35 mph
1,646 ft AEG   1 Hour   30 Mns Break
Partners none no partners
HAD to get out in the Supes. We're just about done with the inside of my mom's place, carpet is getting put down today (12/26)... so I can take off for a day without feeling I should be there. We still have the 2 car/workroom garage that's stuffed to the gills but at least we can get the place listed.

Anyway, I couldn't wait to get out in the Supes and had hoped to persuade others to tag along but there weren't any takers so it was my camera and me. I decided I wanted to have some decent elevation as I've been feeling pretty good with that lately. So I opted for the clockwise route.

The day started out perfectly as I climbed Cardiac Hill and then up and around on the Bluff Springs Trail. Unfortunately, my disc was acting up for a good portion of the hike but more as a nuisance than any pain. I was hoping it was just maybe the chill in the air that was bothering it.

I was doing really good with mostly being in movie mode but then I hit the Lower Barks area and all bets were off as I dashed into Tibbermode. There's just nothing quite like a lot of water in the desert! :D Once I got to the crossover at Lower Barks, I even had to get down on my belly to try and capture the reflection of the far away rock formations in the water. As I rounded the bend there was quite a bit more water. I tried to get pictures of the reflections but between the light and running water, they didn't turn out as well as I hoped.

I continued to take a movie as I moved along this area trying to keep my feet dry. It was lots of fun. And then it was time to take on the second hill to what I call Upper Barks Saddle. There was still some running water on this trail between the saddle and junction with one slightly tricky section to get thru and then it was on down to the Terrapin Junction. I knew there would also be water in the Terrapin Junction area but not as much as I thot. I did try to get some more reflection shots.

Next I headed around another corner and got to enjoy the beauty of the chollas glistening in the sun while still trying to keep my boots dry in certain sections. I thot of Kyle and John when they were out last week; it must have been a blast... though chilly. I saw two unique things along this part of the trail including a nest attached to an old agave bloom and bubbles in some water coming from somewhere just off the trail.

Now it was time to go thru that narrow section where I also anticipated much more water than I saw as was the case in those two drainage crossings just before you hit the Dutchman. I took a "tibbersnack" break at the campsite just below Ely Anderson Trail. I got back on the trail and in a hop-skip you're at the Dutchman junction altho I kept going straight but soon realized I should have turned to the south. I had my map but hadn't brot the trip desc; fortunately, I had remembered from my last hike in 2010 that the turn was a quick right onto Bluff Springs Trail (when I was going the other way).

Coming up this part of the Dutchman the grasses were glistening and I could hear and see the water in the drainage that runs near the Dutchman Trail heading to the Springs. In fact, in many areas today I could hear water running while I was hiking :) ! I also like the cholla forest you encounter as you top out on the first little hill and then you look back to see the immense Bluff Spring Mountain with Weavers Needle on its flank 8) .

The trail going up to Miners Needle Saddle is kind of rocky in sections and then smooth in others. The hill with that big old switchback makes the elevation seem minimal. And of course, once you're on top, WOW! you have some spectacular views of the Needle, Castle Rocks and Buzzards Roost with Picketpost in the far background. Up to this point I had seen 3 backpackers and a dog. As I walked toward the Needle I was amazed to think I was the only woman out on this trail in the western Superstition Wilderness; how cool is that!

Eventually, after I climbed that one rocky section as you go about a mile after the saddle, I saw 1 hiker coming up the hill that I waved at from my perch (I was having a "tibbersnack" ;) ) and then another hiker as I continued down the hill (he was also surprised there weren't more people out on this trail). The perch gives you an even more grand vista of your surroundings.

For the rest of the hike the sun would come in and out of the cloud filter which was nice for taking pics. I just love looking at Barkley Basin when it's all fresh and green and happy. I did encounter 4 more hikers and that would be it for the day. I tried to keep my pace up. I hadn't done a long hike like this for awhile and I was feeling it a bit. I finally made it to where Barks Canyon crosses and saw the big pool of water there. Once again, I tried to get some reflection shots but because of the running water; they didn't turn out too well. But who's gonna complain about running water in the desert [-X ?

I got back to the TH and said hello to Lou and Joe. I had hoped to complete the hike in 4 1/2 hours but with the water delays (picture/movie taking), an extra hour was added. It was a good day in the Supes :DANCE: . I rolled the windows down and let Tonto fly on the dirt road back to civilization.

Part 1 from the Peralta TH to Lower Barks Canyon:
Part 2 from Lower Barks Canyon to Terrapin Jct:
Part 3 from Terrapin Jct to Dutchman Jct:
Part 4 from Dutchman Jct to Miners Saddle:
Part 5 from Miners Saddle to Peraltat TH:
For me, sometimes it's just as much about the journey as the destination.
Oh, and once in awhile, don't forget to look back at the trail you've traveled.
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