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Miners Needle Loop
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mini location map2016-01-30
22 by photographer avatartibber
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Miners Needle LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 30 2016
tibber
Hiking10.51 Miles 1,837 AEG
Hiking10.51 Miles   6 Hrs   21 Mns   2.13 mph
1,837 ft AEG   1 Hour   25 Mns Break
 
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couldn't decide what to do this weekend but since the Renaissance Festival would be firing up soon, I thot I should do something out of Peralta TH. Larry decided to join me to continue his exploration of our western Supes. We parked at the overflow lot, gathered our gear and walked up to the TH. There were some volunteers getting information on what they would be doing today. They would be working past the saddle up on Peralta. Larry and I signed in and crossed the creek water heading up and over on the Dutchman Trail.

I went into tibber moviemode as I hadn't recorded this loop since 2010. That movie is one of my more popular ones for some reason and it's pretty old so time to update it. It's a nice hike on the outside of Barkley Basin :) as you make your way to the junction with Coffee Flat trail. The saguaros are nice and tall and the trail, though rocky from time to time, is pretty nice. We would stop to admire the rock outcroppings alongside Miners Needle as we got more directly below it. We encountered a couple backpackers heading back to the TH. At the junction a couple more backpackers were heading up the trail.

I forgot that the trail going up Miners Needle Canyon does so in a couple large switchbacks before you actually start heading up the canyon. I keep expecting to turn to the left and just go up but the trail fools ya and you head the opposite direction. Once we started heading up the canyon we encountered a hiker finishing off the loop from the other side. He said he didn't see any wildlife.

So up and up we go, rockier than I remember but the grade is nice. We passed by the one drainage area across from the Needle that had a little water in it but nothing flowing. Back in March 2010 there was quite a bit of water and it was flowing. We continued our way to the saddle, stopping below the rock formation to the other side of the Needle to take pictures of the Needle. We paused at the saddle to enjoy the views and get some pictures. And then it was down, down, down toward Bluff Springs Jct. I remember this hill seeming so long when I went the other way by myself in 2012. There was lots of water then and lots in 2010 as well but none on the trails today.

I showed Larry where the Ely Anderson trail was up the side of Bluff Spring Mountain and we had a snack just below there in the drainage area. I wanted to have a snack by water and this was the best I could find. From here we only had about 4 miles left. This is a prettier part of the hike I think as you head toward the Terrapin thru and by a drainage with views of Bluff Spring Mtn and Weavers Needle. There is also a cholla section off to your right altho it didn't glisten as much today. And then you round the corner toward the Terrapin Jct where there is water in a bedrock area. Larry decided we should walk down toward one of the bigger pools to see if we could get a reflection but it didn't quite materialize as we had hoped. Saw a very cool spent agave plant with the most colorful stem; I was enthralled with it and tried various angles to show it off.

Next up to what I call Upper Barks saddle where you can veer off the trail to the right and get some nice views of Weavers :D . Larry even saw the remnants of a water fall down below. It photographed pretty well. From here you slip slide your way toward Lower Barks still taking in the nice views. At Lower Barks area with the bigger pools we were once again hoping for some reflections in the water but "nada". The Peralta rock was showing quite well though. And then it's up Lower Barks hill to Lower Bark's saddle. That climb was in the shade; I remember the first time I did this in 2009 I thot it took forever but then again, we had just crawled our way UP Lower Barks; my first off trail hike in the Superstitions.

Soon we were enjoying those wonderful views of Barkley Basin still trying to pick out Fraser Peak where we had been the Sunday before. I think Larry finally found it as I thot maybe it was further off to the left. Hopefully I'll remember in the pic to point it out to see if anyone else agrees. From there it's a rocky down toward Cardiac Hill or as Larry said, "I thot that was Cardiac Hill" :lol: as it's a bit slippery and rocky getting to the main section of Cardiac Hill. At this point the hike was showing to be a mile longer than the 9.4 we anticipated even though we went off trail a couple times.

We had a snack and split a beer, stopped at AZ Wilderness Brewery but the wait was 30 minutes so we headed home. We decided next time to call ahead for a reservation when we got off the trail. It was a great day for a hike; the longest for me this year so far. We only took one sit-down break so we were feeling it. The videos (uh oh, movied a lot) are in production as I just finished off the videos from last week.

Dutchman Trail Pt 1 - https://youtu.be/7t ... awlU
Dutchman Trail Pt 2 - https://youtu.be/a2 ... TTRs
Miners Canyon, saddle and starting down the other side - https://youtu.be/bn ... rbKc
Dutchman Trail Pt 4 - heading toward Bluff Springs Mtn https://youtu.be/-D ... 4QBY
Dutchman onto Bluff Spring Trail - https://youtu.be/4i ... aei8
Bluff Spring Trail, near Terrapin - https://youtu.be/Co ... muPo
Upper Barks Saddle to Barks Canyon - https://youtu.be/a9 ... Va5w
Lower Barks to Trailhead - https://youtu.be/So ... OsCU
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Buzzards Roost

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Barks Canyon Light flow Light flow
a few big pools still.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Peralta Creek at #102 Crossing Light flow Light flow
a few pools yet and some trickling.
_____________________
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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