I was feeling a need for a Superstitions fix. I looked through Traildex and found several that fit my parameters. I choose Charleyboy Duece because it did not have a GPS route attached. As good a reason as any.
I got in before they closed the road for the Superstition Marathon. I hit the trail a little after 0800. Weather was slightly overcast and perfect. Made good time on the Dutchman and down Whiskey Spring. I had serious trepidation about Red Tanks based on my prior hikes here, so I put on the legs to my convertible pants and a long sleeve shirt. Red Tanks wasn't too bad. I was the first hiker after the recent rains so I had a few problems with navigation on a couple of the crossings which slowed me down. I'll have to edit those missteps out of my GPS route. I wanted to see how quickly I could "reasonably" hike this hike, so I did not explore the springs. To LaBarge by 1100, to about 100 yds short of Charlebois by 11:30 back to the Red Tanks Junction by 1200 for lunch, did take some time to pay my respects to the Big Saguaro, Bluff Springs by 1300 and back to Peralta TH by 1500. 7 hours total with 40 minutes stopped.
I passed a couple and a solo dayhiker within the first 30 minutes. I saw nobody else until just north of Bluff Spring when I ran into 8 high school Boy Scouts and 3 adults, then 4 hikers resting at the rocks on Bluff Springs and 3 backpackers coming up Bluff Springs. This is the MLK weekend so typically there are a lot of backpackers heading to LaBarge and Charlebois. When I signed out at the TH there were tons of hikers signed in for Peralta.
This is a beautiful Superstitions hike. You get Miner's Needle and Castle Rock (Spanish Graveyard) and you will get some dramatic rocks coming in on the Bluff Spring Trail, but this hike doesn't have the dramatics of some of the hikes around Weaver's Needle so it's not as photogenic. It does have some incredilble expansives if you're shooting panoramics. But you will get incredible riparian jungle and maybe some macros. I saw a male Cardinal on Red Tanks and a female Cardinal on Bluff Spring and a butterfly near LaBarge.