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Bluff Spring Mountain Loop
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mini location map2017-11-05
28 by photographer avatarDarthStiller
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Bluff Spring Mountain LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 05 2017
DarthStiller
Hiking15.60 Miles 2,748 AEG
Hiking15.60 Miles   9 Hrs   12 Mns   1.84 mph
2,748 ft AEG      42 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners partners
adilling
wallyfrack
I did this hike last almost exactly 14 years ago. Things are mostly as I remember them, saw a few new sights with Wally along as our guide/historian.

We got an early start from the Peralta TH at 6:15am. Before we even got on the trail, one lady was asking Wally where the Peralta Trail is and another group of 3 people asked us if we were “taking the trail all the way to the end”. Looks like the newbs are getting earlier starts these days. At least I was able to get the closest parking spot to the trails.
I’m still going through a bit of a learning curve with my new camera, so there were really nice shots of the moon just over the mountains that I missed. I was able to get one decent up close shot of the moon. By the time we were at the high point of the Bluff Spring Trail before it meets the Terrapin, I had things figured out, just in time for the prime sunrise light hitting the mountains.

Along the Bluff Spring Trail, Andy noticed that the hiker that asked Wally for info had got off trail and was headed up Barks Canyon. He gave her directions to get back on the trail. She caught up with us right as we were headed along the Terrapin, then she headed east on Bluff Spring.

The Terrapin Trail was in great shape, not very overgrown at all. The views were amazing. I think this is the first time I hiked this trail east to west, and it seems to be the more enjoyable way to do it. At the high point of the trail we were all taking pictures of the expansive views. I was zooming in on Black Top Mesa and Wally and Andy joked if anyone was waving at us. I told them there were in fact two people up there, which seemed to surprise them. Kind of cool to be able to zoom in that much. The camera doubles as binoculars. Later on Wally pointed out the location of the Morrow Mine, but we decided to keep going since we knew it was going to be a long hike.

Just before the junction of the LDT and Bull Pass Trail, Wally found a potsherd right on the trail, which was very unusual. He also pointed out near this area where he thinks the Spanish racetrack was. I remember reading about that years ago when I hiked the unofficial “little” Bull Pass Trail, and it’s almost impossible to tell where it might have been.

The section of the LDT from the Cavalry Trail junction and Charlebois Spring is a really neat area, lots of vegetation and shade in a narrow canyon. We could see a lot of campsites that were used previously. We ate lunch at Charlebois Spring in the shade by the small pool. Lots of tents and food bags set up there, but we didn’t see anyone. Saw a tadpole and minnows in the spring, typical desert scenery and wildlife.

After lunch Wally showed us the Peralta master map petroglyphs, and also the hidden metate there.

Just before the junction with the Red Tanks Trail we saw two women hiking who got a bit lost. Apparently they were wanting to do the 9 mile Miner’s Needle loop and ended up heading north on the LDT instead of south at its junction with the Bluff Spring Trail. We gave them directions on how to get back. Wally took them over to LaBarge Spring since they were getting low on water. I checked back several times on our way back and I never saw them. Not sure if they decided to take the same route back or were just hiking slow.

The hike down Cardiac Hill seems easier uphill than downhill the older I get. Nowhere near as bad as Pima Canyon in Tucson, but after 15 miles, not great on the knees. Saw more and more hikers as we got closer to the lot. The lot was half empty when we got back. Judging by how many cars were parked along Peralta Road on our way out, it looked like the lot was definitely full at some point of the day.
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