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Dripping Springs Super Loop
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mini location map2017-12-14
14 by photographer avatarsurvivordude
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Dripping Springs Super LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 14 2017
Hiking22.75 Miles 4,076 AEG
Hiking22.75 Miles   9 Hrs   24 Mns   2.64 mph
4,076 ft AEG      47 Mns Break
1st trip
I could not decide where to go for birthday hike and stumbled upon this one the night before. I did the research and loaded the maps and I still was not prepared enough for this one. Only 15 minutes of headlamp needed on the Dutchman trail and then through Barkley Basin and to Coffee Flats. This is the easiest hike in all of the Superstitions. IMO The actual hiking is incredibly dull, but those views at sunrise are just some of the best I have ever seen. Also, the thousands of saguaro created quite a forest leading up to the king saguaro. Most arms I have ever seen. Made it to the old trough and windmill at Randolph Canyon in 2 hours and thought I was making great time. Randolph in the fall is beautiful! The colors on all of the trees increased as the canyon walls tightened. As I was making my way to Dripping springs, I saw several of the smallest seeps coming out of the rocks below. The actual spring was dripping.. barely. Only water I saw all day. The camp spot there seems like it would be a great one when the creek is flowing. There were some small caves above but I didnt feel like climbing around in there and I had a lot more hike ahead of me.. A lot more. The start of the Red Tanks section was very gradual and mis-leading! :x After gaining 500 feet in 2 1/2 miles, the trail goes steeper and gains another 500 feet in about 1 mile. Took a lunch break here at 5 hours in. I knew I still had the climb out of Whiskey to Miner's, but I assumed because I was at the highest point on the hike, the rest would be easy peasy. It was not easy peasy. Coming over the saddle into Red Tanks Divide, the views were spectacular and everything was so green and lush. Sometimes it doesnt even make sense that this is considered a desert.. then again, this is December. After not too long I got to really enjoy that lushness up close and personal, as the brush became so thick at times it was nearly impassable. Also, the 'brush' was actually bushes completely made of thorns. At times I felt like I was in the first 'Saw' movie with all the barbed wire. Wearing shorts was not a problem as mostly all of the terrible stuff was waist and above. It had no problem ripping through 2 layers of clothing and shredding half my body. I was shuddering at the thoughts of the show 'Naked and Afraid'. I haven't had my fingers scratched up like that since I bought my daughter a kitten 3 years ago. Trying to go around the trail and find a 'better' way was futile, so I sucked it up and just pushed though. Scared a white tail up the hill (from my shrills of pain probably). Much wildlife will be sustained in those mountains due to the amounts of my flesh torn off and left on those thorns. I finally made it through the worst of it as I got to Upper LaBarge Canyon? This canyon was very remarkable due to it was like 2 views in one the way you peered down through the canyon, and then off to far away landscapes between and beyond. The trail stays mostly on the northern side of the canyon, but once it drops down into the creek, there were some gigantic boulders to navigate and climb around that took some extra time for route finding. Saw the very large Herman's Cave, but didnt bother to even check it out because at that point I was exhausted. Took a well deserved break at the Red Tanks/ Whiskey Springs junction and recharged. The hike up to Miner's saddle was not that bad and I did have enough energy to pick up the pace quite a bit down the hill. Probably not a good idea, because just about the 20 mile mark, I could feel myself starting to really break down. Back at the Coffee Flat junction my legs went into auto pilot. I couldn't feel them moving but they kept going and so did I, and an hour later I was back at the Peralta TH.
This was a fantastic hike that is only meant for an elite few, because it is an extremely tough one! Always good to push your limits but you have to know what those limits are and respect your own intuitions. I really pushed myself out there and maybe too much because that night and since then, I have had a pretty bad fever. I'm sure I will be all well for next Thursday's hike! Be safe out there, everyone!
Cadastral Survey Marker
Named place
Named place
Dripping Spring Reeds Water

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Dripping Spring Dripping Dripping

dry Miners Canyon Dry Dry

dry Randolph Canyon Dry Dry

dry Reeds Water Dry Dry

dry Whiskey Spring Dry Dry
didnt see spring but also saw zero water in the whole area

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