I had to go back. I can't say why, just had to at least get to the base of the Needle, which reports say is a cross country slog. From the parking lot, the first objective is the ridge above. some very impressive saguaros that are at least 200 years old.
Some rocks appeared to be teetering on the brink of falling over. What keeps them up?
At the ridge I had awesome views in to the Wilderness. The trail went to the left over another ridge not seen in this image. I was to stay on this trail for 2.1 miles then take the Terrapin trail for about a mile before looking for a pile of rocks that signaled when to start bushwhacking.
After reaching the 2nd ridge, I got my first partial look at the Needle, in the background, slightly left of center.
At roughly mile 1.75, I reached this creek bed and saw a pile of rocks on the large boulder, upper left just above the creek. This was not at mile 2.1 but had to be it, right? Wrong and thus I set off on the wrong route, following the wrong piles of rock.
Geesh, the going was slow through brush and looking for the cairns. Hey, there's one right there. But, frequently I'd dead end and have to walk in circles to find the next pile of rocks (cairns).
I trudged through this valley. A stream crossing especially was difficult. Check out the biceps on that saguaro! Dude has been lifting weights I guess.
One more ridge and I bet that view across the valley to the Needle would be fantastic! Except, I did not make it. The "trail" such as it was and mostly non existent had petered out. No more cairns. Hmmmm, this notch or one off camera to the right but more daunting, another stream crossing that was especially thick......
.....looking back, the rock finger was a return way point if I could not find the rock piles, stay to the left and drop into the valley, then follow a creek bed to a heavy brush area and go up slope and follow it and then.... Screw it, it's guys like me that I read about expiring out here or having to be rescued. Time to turn around but damn it, now it's gnawing at me so I have to go back but this time, take the correct freakin cross country route. I need to bring Tonto along (Marty) to help with the route finding. Ended with around 8 miles.