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Bluff Spring Mountain Summit
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mini location map2021-01-28
10 by photographer avatarDaytripper
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Bluff Spring Mountain SummitPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 28 2021
Hiking10.23 Miles 2,906 AEG
Hiking10.23 Miles
2,906 ft AEG20 LBS Pack
For the cliff note version of this hike see the triplog by @LindaAnn for the novelette continue reading. Decided to make my annual January trek to Bluff Spring Mountain Summit, delighted and lucky to have a strong hiker like Linda accompany me . Peralta Road washboarding had increased since my last trip out to Peralta Trailhead but some grading took place while we were hiking so on the way out the washes were smoothed out. Parking lot was not very full about 0800. There was a cool breeze at the start which was intermittent all day, later some sun appeared and temperatures moderated. Bluff Springs Trail provided for a quick warm up, while viewing the remains of snow in Peralta Canyon more so on the west side, surprised not to see running water in the creek. Lots of solitude today, I think we saw a total of 7 other hikers today. Encountered flowing water in Bark’s canyon , splashed some on the Peralta rock for contrast when passing by. After passing the Terrapin junction we went up the hill where the Williams Camp was located , didn’t find any remnants today, from near there the ascent up the west face of Bluff Spring Mountain began. This was part of the burn area , so there was less vegetation than usual to deal with, the ground being softened by rain actually improved the footing, noted the last person up this way left a paltry amount of cairns :D Always nice views from the summit with the usual suspects visible, weavers needle, terrapin trail, black top Mesa, Battleship, Canyon Lake etc. while at the summit we dropped down a bit to the north to be out of the wind. We observed a helicopter going in and out of East Boulder Canyon while dusting off a small amount of soot collected. I entered our names into the register, the nice pictures of Johnr1 left by @tibber are still there ,placed all back in the ammo can which I returned to the summit cairn. After enjoying the views and snacks we proceeded down and across the mountain to the beginning of the Ely Anderson trail. On the way we spotted the bushy white tails of two cous deers that didn’t want to stop and pose for us today. Passed by the low wall at the top of Ely Anderson and began to descend nicely down the well cairned route. The hike was going along normally until it wasn’t. Intermittently I have problems stemming from a herniated lumbar disc , then today without any inciting event I began to notice about a third of the way down a not particularly painful but disabling spasm in my lower back. This began to cause difficulty with walking and balance which slowed my pace until I had to make a couple of stops. Not funny at the time but was actually having trouble maintaining balance sitting on a rock. Took a break at the Dutchman , Bluff Spring junction to figure out the next step. I was concerned I was making Linda a bit nervous, after a few minutes we decided to head back on Bluff Spring Trail, so I rallied enough to get back to a decent pace , possibly due to now being on a slight uphill grade , strap adjustments made on the pack or just fear of losing my pack carrying privileges :oops: as we had been engaged in several minutes of friendly repetitive banter about one subject , Linda “let me carry your pack” me “no” . Fortunately by time we reached Bark’s saddle I was feeling almost normal. Then I suggested we head over to Dutchman Trail via Lower Barks Canyon, the weather was nice , wanted to take advantage of the limited time you can do this and enjoy the sound of running water. Apparently I had forgotten how time consuming this route can be when trying to keep your feet dry ,climbing over slick boulders and avoiding vegetation. A pleasant scene it was with the large pools of water and surrounding cliffs. Near one pool we passed by a sandy area with some scattered bones still identifiable as formerly an intact deer the biggest quantity concentrated by a large Boulder with a dug out area underneath, someone 🤪 decided to start crawling under it , all I heard was “lots of bones in here” and that was my cue to exit, fortunately we didn’t meet the bone collector. Once your shoes get wet the slick boulders and smooth rock provided ice like traction allowing us ,without practice ,to perform a synchronized slip and fall from different boulders. As the canyon opens up and becomes less steep on approaching the basin don’t fool yourself that your almost done as the vicious vegetation takes over without body armor you might consider the canyon choked off. One particular pool about 40 feet long and 2 feet deep had too much vegetation to circumvent the edges, so we decided not to wade through and entered the jungle of catclaw. Two lessons ,a hiking pole makes a poor machete and when you thrash through 50 feet of vegetation in 10 minutes route scout counts it as a break :( . Hope resurfaced as Linda now leading took us through game trails toward Barkley Basin and by now the water had disappeared, was now thinking the sound of running water may be over rated. In an additional stroke of luck the mine above the left side of the canyon wasn’t visible until looking back up the canyon now so no one was tempted to go visit it , at least I dodged that one :D . A high five celebration on reaching Dutchman Trail, now feeling like we were on an interstate we practically ran the mile back to Peralta TH. Great day to be in the wilderness with a great partner but those off trail adventures can be tiresome.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Barks Canyon Medium flow Medium flow

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