Miner's Needle Loop Hike
I scheduled our group hike for a Friday to avoid the overcrowding typically found on the weekend and glad I did. Plenty of spaces available today at the Peralta trail head. We are on the Peralta Trail for only a few steps before ascending the Dutchman Trail and soon.....
.....stand at the rim of Barkley Basin. The prominent feature in the distance issue Miner's Needle, our midpoint destination.
It's a beautiful hike although the damage left from a fire that swept through here last summer is still obvious. The summer monsoon caused lots of regrowth but we noted there are many saguaros, standing with fire damaged bases. Some of those have yet to topple.
We spend 2.8 miles on a mostly gradual climb which affords good views of the "eye" of the needle and its surrounding structure. OK, my image doesn't do a good job capturing the eye but it is that tiny blue dot, upper right.
Of course, there are other, fascinating shapes to see including....
....the above. Looks like a snake's head on top. We've been paralleling Miner's Canyon on our left before reaching the head of that and then....
....the base of Miner's Needle. Small blue dot on the left is once again the eye. And yes, the legend is the sun or moon, shine through the eye and illuminate a spot on a slope, showing where gold is buried. Good luck as it does so one day a year, briefly at some point during that day. Our group of nine now depart the Dutchman Trail, work our way to the saddle on the right and then....
....ascend a very steep, rock slope where we eventually reach....
....shade! The eye can not be reached by foot but the prominent notch above can and to my surprise, everyone makes it including.....
....a traveler from Australia, Jake. He was a fun and interesting addition to the group, traveling the US and getting in quality hikes.
I crept to the edge and looked down. I have an irrational fear of a wind gust or a push from a fellow hiker so I rarely stand at the edge, instead stretching my arms out and taking the image.
Marc G took the above image of me standing at the base of a formation that some in our group likened to a body part. We rested, refueled and began....
....the steep descent, eventually getting back on the Dutchman. We passed Whiskey Spring Trail on our right and descended into a broad wash. All evidence of the trail had been washed away by flooding so I kept heading up stream, looking for evidence of a trail, leaving the wash. Meantime, certain group members enjoyed calling me the name of a well known hiker who frequently becomes lost when he hikes. One has to have a thick skin to hike with these folks. Anyway, I got lucky, found the trail and eventually.....
....we left the Dutchman and got on the Bluff Springs where we found an animal skull attached to the sign post.
Hard to believe this saguaro is still standing, another victim of the fire.
We entered the above wash that still has some pockets of water, then hung a sharp left and climbed out of Bark's Canyon.
It's all down hill from here as we finished our 10+ mile hike with 2200' of elevation gain. Another fun day in the Supes.
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