Monday evening, Marty is on the phone and I have set the hook in the fish's mouth. While reeling the fish in, he receives an email from Gord Fraser, yes once again, "that" Gord Fraser, former Canadian Olympian, Tour de France cyclist, retired from pro racing in 2006 but now living in Tucson and lovin it. Marty quickly spits out the hook and wishes me luck. Damn, so I drive alone to the Supersition Wilderness and shove off the Bluff Springs trail.
Less then a mile, I have left the parking lot and its 10 cars. The lot is always full or near full yet I rarely see anyone. I have no idea where they go but not on the trails I take. The views are, as always, spectacular.
Yet, while the views are great, one should never lose focus from the trail because it is almost always rough and rocky and don't want to risk a face plant as I continue towards the first ridge.
Approaching the 2nd ridge, I catch my first glimpse of today's destination, Weaver's Needle, a volcano plug left after the rock around it eroded. Doesn't look like much from this distance but it is spectacular,
Previously, I turned left at the wrong pile of rocks (cairn) so passed it but then later, came to another. I hate the uncertainty, especially since this pile was almost right at the designated turn off the trail. I kept going.
I'm in luck, soon I arrive at a junction with a post that shows my next turn, on to the Terripin trail. My notes say to stay on this for .7 mile to a ridge, cross it for 200 yards then watch for a pile of rocks, indicating where to leave the trail and start bush whacking cross country.
I found the point of departure from the trail and headed cross country. Looking back, I hoped I could make it to the base of Weaver's Needle and circle it to the west side (I was coming from the east) rather than have to retrace my route through this wilderness. Dang, the views are incredible and with temps in the low 70's, what's not to like.....well, it would have been good to have a companion but Marty promised if I ran into trouble, he was on standby for rescue.
The route with rock piles petered out. I was tempted to turn back but so close, I just kept plugging along, working my way up a steep ravine that topped out at a ridge just to the left of this image and then began a very steep walk to the base of the needle. I MADE IT and had a big grin on my face. a trip report I read said this is what would happen if you made it and so it was true.
The needle is on the right while the views, geesh, what can I say? The wind was howling up here and I scouted around a bit, discovering a cave that I think was used by miners as they explored for gold many years ago. On the back side of the needle (north side) the sun never shines but rather than try to hike around the base of this massive rock, counter clockwise, I went clockwise, slowly dropping down a steep slope.
Far below is the Peralta trail, just across a ravine and maybe you can se the trail in the center.
I bid farewell to the way I had come. Doesn't look like much but those rock spires tower over you as you walk through them. From here, they look like ant mounds or something.
Did I say the slope was steep, yep it was. Strange seeing a saguaro so high up. I hiked down a little while working my way towards the north, hoping to catch a route coming down the west slope.
Soon, I stumbled across the route, indicated by the pile of rocks at the top of the image. I was relieved and followed this down to a stream, climbed through it and emerged on the Peralta trail where I found.....
...these 3 heading north on the Peralta trail. Great views, huh?
So, earlier, I reached the right side of the needle at the notch, scrambled up the slope to the base, went around it to the left, scrambled down, crossed a gorge with thick brush and emerged, somewhat triumphant, on the Peralta trail. Ran into a couple at the ridge from where this image was taken that used to live in Cleveland. They had been at this spot back in the 80's and was their first time back.
Kind of steep down the last ravine through an amazing array of rock formations. 8 miles, 3000' of climbing and took me almost 6 hours to finish. On the drive out, 6 miles of which is dirt road, I noticed that the rain had induced some grass to begin growing among the cacti and other plants. Don't think that will last very long.