|3,200 ft AEG|
|It's been over 5 years since I have done this loop. I have been wanting to get back out to the Red Tanks, but never had the motivation. I made a couple of attempts but plans changed. This time, Chris, Wally and I got it done.|
A dark start from Peralta TH, but the moon was up and near full. I ended up switching off the headlamp before I hit Barkley Basin. Right off I could see lots of brittlebush and fairy dusters mixed in with all the burnt out saguaro skeletons. The earth heals itself for sure, but it's never going to be the same in this area of the Dutchman.
We made good time up to Miners Saddle and then down to the Whiskey/Red Tanks Junction. We all passed a backpacker that looked to be about a 100 years from the past. Chris dubbed him The Ghost of Elijah Reavis. Fitting. ha ha
The highlight of the hike was going up La Barge Canyon. Not much fire damage at all in there. It's one of my favorite places in the Supes for sure. Once we cleared the canyon and started up to the Red Tanks Divide, the scenery (and fire damage) changed dramatically. It starts off with catclaw City, and then slowly moves up. I could see signs of the recent fires all over. Burnt out trees, cholla, saguaros. Lots of grass and lots of flowers.
From the divide on down, the fire really ravaged this part of the trail. I remember much more vegetation, especially cholla and other larger shrubs. This area will become a grassland it appears. Once we made the turn into Red Tanks Canyon, the scenery changed again. There was actually a very light flow in the creek. There were signs of large volumes of water from the start all the way down to the confluence with Fraser Canyon and the Coffee Flats Trail. So much sediment was washed down from the fire impacted areas. It really has changed this part of the trail.
The hike from Dripping Springs to Reeds Water was eventful, Wally pointed out several "caves of interest", some pictographs and petroglyphs and even wrangled up a rattler for us.
The rest of the hike was Wally leaving Chris and I in the dust, with us trudging through the last 5-6 miles along the Coffee Flats and Dutchman Trail.
I was feeling it at the end, but it was nice to get this one done again.
|"Hiking is just walking where it’s okay to pee." –Demetri Martin|