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Whiskey West-Red Tanks Loop
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mini location map2020-11-15
13 by photographer avatarScottHika
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Whiskey West-Red Tanks LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 15 2020
Hiking21.07 Miles 4,176 AEG
Hiking21.07 Miles
4,176 ft AEG   1 Hour    Break15 LBS Pack
Another adventure in the Superstitions with my buddy Tim. We decided to look for 3 things today called Whiskey Springs loop with side trips. You might see that our route up to Miners Saddle was off trail. The reason is that we took the old pack trail (from Quarter Circle U) looking for the lost Peak 3748 Azimuth mark named Circle AZ MK. That marker is somewhere on the west side of the draw but east of Miners Needle on the original route to the summit. The pack trail is practically gone now due to no traffic, recent fires, erosion and regrowth. Most people prefer the new Dutchman’s route up the East side of the canyon. We probably walked right by it, so no luck once again.

We then proceeded around Whiskey Springs trail up to the Peak 3748 summit. Circle (after Quarter Circle U) has unique views of Miner’s needle and Cathedral rock. Kollenborn calls it Castle Rock, Carlson calls it Cathedral rock, and Shelly calls it the Three Bears. I’m also adding a skyline photo of something I didn’t have last time I took pictures here. I was using my Kodak 110 Camera at the time. See photoset of peak finder.

Then back down Whiskey Springs canyon and through the upper box. Whiskey Springs was torched during Woodbury fire and still very slowly recovering. Next we wanted to check the water level at Brad’s Water. As usual the cave was full, perhaps down a bit. Since people keep bathing in there, it’s a good idea to filter any water you drink. It is a reliable source year round, which is critical in this area.

The final exploration was to locate and assess the mysterious LaBarge Spring No 2. This was my first trip back there. Sadly after poking around for a while (and being poked) we found no evidence of water, no improvements, or any other manmade structures. I did see fresh footprints from somebody, which was a real shock given the off trail and remoteness of the spring. Since there is adequate water at nearby Brads, there is little need to pursue LaBarge 2 during the dry season.

We ran a little late due to clowning around and a scree slide on my back into a family of Prickly Pears. Good to have a buddy around to pull the big thorns out of my back. The hundreds of smaller ones had to wait until I got home. Tough love reminder to pay attention. Caught a cool drink at old faithful LaBarge 1 and headed back.

We ended up coming back Bluff Spring 235 in the dark. Bluff is not especially technical at night but the canyon crossings in the dark were interesting. I should point out that the Superstations are not an appropriate place to start if you just got your very first trail light. I’ve decided that I now know why some people put obvious cairns when no cairns are necessary. It is because they are night hikers. Haha The obvious cairns are useful when you can only see five feet in front of you.

The downside of night hiking is you cannot see anything. The upside of night hiking is that you cannot see anything. With all of the scorched earth in Barks, it’s possible to hike at night and remember greener times. Another great thing is that the Stars are spectacular out there. Fire restrictions have been extended through year’s end I believe. We detected at least two different groups of packers/campers with fires. We passed fairly close by one of them near Crystal Spring. Tim dared me to bust into the camp and ask them to put out their fire. I passed.
Saguaro - Crested
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Isolated
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Wildflowers Observation Isolated

dry Brads Canyon Dry Dry
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout Confluence is dry. If you don't mind a trip up the canyon to Brad's cave, there is year round filterable water.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Brads Water Quart per minute Quart per minute
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout Not sure how to measure flow. The cave is full but don't know how fast it is fed. Spring boxes have been compromised for a long time. There is some puddling near the upper pipes.

dry Crystal Spring Dry Dry
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max LaBarge Spring Gallon per minute Gallon per minute
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout

dry Labarge Spring Number Two Dry Dry
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout Wanted report to check availability during dry season. The spring appears dry. If there are improvements or reliable water at LaBarge 2, we couldn't find any. There was some water in small pools down canyon in dry grass perhaps from recent rain?

dry Trap Canyon Dry Dry
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Whiskey Spring Dripping Dripping
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout Spring boxes are filled with dirt. The pipe is making slow drip molasses. Some pools further down the canyon look promising.

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