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Barking Miners Lollipop, AZ
mini location map2020-01-31
45 by photographer avataroutdoor_lover
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Barking Miners Lollipop, AZ 
Barking Miners Lollipop, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 31 2020
Hiking12.55 Miles 1,950 AEG
Hiking12.55 Miles
1,950 ft AEG
1st trip
Grab a chair and a cup of coffee, it's a novel. :sweat: Here's the short version. I came, I conquered, lost some blood and tried to fill up a Memory Card.

A Hybrid of 2 Loops. I've never done the Miners Needle Loop or Lower Barks Canyon, so I thought I'd combine them. The only section of the Dutchman Trail I've not done, is from the Whiskey Springs Junction down to Bluff Springs. So I was going to tick that off as well. I have done the Bluff Springs Trail so eliminating that was no loss. It was a great plan that had a couple of different options depending on my speed and timing. I was also due, and ready, for some Off-Trail stuff. If the knees want to whine, I'll give them something to truly whine about. : rambo : Considering what I ended up doing, half the trip was pretty much non-tech Canyoneering. :D

Got to the Peralta TH right at sunrise and there were already 10 cars in the lot. There was a breeze and I knew I'd be in the shade for a bit, so I kept my hooded jacket on for the start. I went CCW and I always enjoy Barkley Basin in the morning light. Speaking of light, I was doing this stretch for the first time without a 40 lb pack. It was rather refreshing to be carrying less than half of that. By the time I hit the Coffee Flat Junction, I was ready to shed the jacket. Even though the breeze had gotten stiffer, I was too warm in the sun. There was an older couple taking a snack break there. We exchanged hellos and I mentioned that I was going to remove a layer. The woman told me how stupid I was for even starting with a jacket on. I hadn't been there 90 seconds. :-s
That's ok. I got the last laugh later, at noon, when the winds were higher and I ran into them again. The woman had her jacket on and was still cold. She must be done with Menopause. I was in shorts and short sleeves and doing just fine. :sl:

When I descended on the Dutchman from the Whiskey Junction, I was seeing that little valley for the 1st time. I wish I could have seen it before the fire. I noted how discriminatory the fire was in places. A whole hill burned, but a green saguaro or a green patch of prickly pear on the same hill looked almost untouched, with a completely charred bush right next to them. I took some photos of the disparity just to remember the sights by. The grass is greening up nicely in there already though.

I took a snack break at the Dutchman/Bluff Junction. Went up the Creek a little ways so I didn't have people right on top of me while I was chillin'. The moss in there is pretty cool. After my break I got on Bluff Springs headed for Terrapin. I have to mention, that from Sunrise until just before the Terrapin Junction, it was beautiful blue skies and not a cloud in sight. Just wind. As I neared the Junction, I started to see a cloud rising up from behind Bluff Spring Mountain. It was kinda weird and it got even more weird. The wind started to quit and the cloud became 3 clouds, but it looked like someone was using a blanket to send smoke signals. There will be a Photo in my set for a visual. @vanman saw the same thing over in Chuparosa Canyon and mentioned it as well. From then on, the skies were pretty cool at times.

I arrived at the Junction. In Fritzski's Description of the Lower Barks Canyon Loop, his last couple of paragraphs mention a "mid Barks" section. I made good time to this point, so I decided to do it. I followed his Description and realized later that he made a slight mistake. When you drop into the drainage at the Intersection, that drainage technically isn't Barks. In order to get into the Barks drainage, you would have to go up the Terrapin a bit. The drainage he refers to is a side drainage that eventually dumps into Barks. But his Description of this side drainage was spot on and maybe even a bit conservative. :sweat: Less than 1000 feet in this drainage and his descriptive wording of "a bit more rugged" slaps you right in the face. And then you see the "beautiful, but dense thicket of trees." Well, they were beautiful from the top of the Waterfall at least. :sweat: At the top of the waterfall, I'm faced with a fairly sketchy 10+ foot slide to get down it and it's one of the few times where I would have liked to have had someone else along. I had some hesitation going. If I screwed up, it was going to hurt. But I went for it, but made sure I took the pack off. Felt pretty good to be successful. It was short-lived. What I couldn't see, was that once you got down from there, walked down the cascade a bit, there was another drop of at least 15 feet and it was straight down. I looked for options and there was one that MIGHT get me down. I couldn't see it very well because of the brush. But I had to try. I'm still in shorts and short sleeves and I plowed in anyways. :o The brush and trees were ridiculous to try to get through, but somehow I did it and was able to drop into the drainage. Between that point and where the drainage drops into Barks, I guess I donated about 1/2 Pint of blood. Those beautiful trees? They sucked and where their limbs didn't actually touch the ground, the Catclaw rose up to meet them. A Machete would have been good here. It was an all out fight to get down to Barks. Finally got there and the brush eased up, a little. By the time I got to where Bluff Springs and Lower Barks merge, I was sufficiently shredded and bloody.

The merger of Barks and Bluff Springs Trail is always so pretty. Somehow, I missed the Peralta Rock in there though. After what I had just done, it was time for a break and a late lunch. I was joined by a Canyon Wren who was fishing for his lunch as well. I had never seen that behavior and watched him for quite awhile while I took some photos. He was behaving more like a Heron, than a Wren, and was quite successful. In spite of my battles in Mid Barks, I still had plenty of daylight and energy, so Lower Barks was still a go. With the exception of the last 1/4 mile, Lower was a piece of cake compared to Mid. I tried to always follow the Water, so I was zigzagging a bit. There were times where I could have gone around a few drops, but I opted to downclimb, since I thought I might be a bit rusty. Plus it was less bushwacking. It was pretty fun. I loved all that water and the reflections were pretty cool as well. It took me a bit longer than I thought it would and the last quarter mile took even longer. The Creek butted up against a cliff and was full so I had to hike up in the dry zone. But the dry zone had 3 foot tall grass with boulders underneath, so it was slightly treacherous because you couldn't see where you were stepping. Tread carefully or break an Ankle. And there was a little more bloodshed as well. :sweat: It was interesting how the Geology changed suddenly towards the end. Instead of smooth boulders, it became that confetti colored brittle rock like you see in the Mazzies.

Fritzski says that it will open up and follow the sandy wash back to the Dutchman. I hit sand about 20 feet before the Dutchman. I think things have changed since 2002. :lol: By the time I got there, the Golden Hour was almost over and I was feeling pressed to get up the trail before it got dark. I must have hit a second wind, because I made the top before Sunset even started. I took a break up there and enjoyed the light which ended up turning into a pretty nice sunset. While I was shooting the sunset, a Great-horned Owl was calling from Peralta Canyon. What a gorgeous ending to a great day. I hit the car right at dark and there were still about 10 cars. It's amazing, I'm betting that lot was full all day, but I saw no more than a dozen people. I must be doing something right. :lol:

Photos... I'll at least say that I tried to cut them down to a reasonable number. There was so much going on with this Hike!
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
One Fairy Duster and a couple of bushes in Lower Barks.

dry Bark at Dutchman Crossing Dry Dry
Dry at the actual Crossing, but Light Flow and Pools to Trickle less than 100 feet up Canyon. Intermittently going underground in spots.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Barks Canyon Light flow Light flow
Mid Canyon is Light Flow to Trickle with Pools. Lower Canyon is Light Flow to Trickle with Pools, but water goes underground for stretches as well.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Crystal Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Miners Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty & well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming, "Wow What a Ride!"
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