That stinks. The main parking lot at Peralta trail head is already full at 8:00am. A park ranger has me park in an overflow lot and I begin the trudge to the trail head, hoping to catch the group who are doing the Weaver's Needle Crosscut hike. I'm.....
...in luck as I hear them ahead of me and quickly join. We begin climbing and as always, how bout those views. Yes, I am again in the southern end of the Superstition Wilderness. It mesmerizes me.
We climb and descend and climb some more and then descend into this canyon where the slick rock bottom provides a flow of water. Beautiful isn't it?
We climb out of the canyon and upon reaching a ridge, looking to the southeast...awesome. The group with whom I am hiking are fit and the pace is good, led by frequent hike organizer Phil. At 70, he is one of the most fit hikers with whom I hike. He is the equivalent of central Ohio's "Farmer Mike". Not only does he hike quickly, he throws out a lot of interesting information about the surroundings. Murders, treasure, explorers, etc...
There is our leader out front as usual with Doreen, from Globe, AZ behind.
OK, yes I much prefer the long range vistas but hard to ignore all the wild flowers in bloom after the abundant spring rains...well I guess the winter rains but with many days now in the 80's, it's hard to think of this as winter but officially it still is!
I thought the route would lead us through to the south of Weaver's Needle but alas it took us one ravine too far to the south so the views of the Needle were not so great. Above, the group navigated carefully through a rocky descent toward the Peralta Trail. I had gotten ahead of them a bit here and decided to keep going cause I had to talk to a woman about a horse...something like that.
Once I gained the Peralta Trail, I made a left and headed toward Freemont Saddle. As I rose, views got better and.....
...better. I reached the saddle and....
...now the views to the southeast were incredible. Many were on the trail from this point back to the trail head. Lot of good people including a guy who told me his uncle found a baby rattler and kept it for a pet until it bit him. Not long after that....
YOWZA! or something like that but a real, live, very pissed of rattlesnake. My 14th encounter but still no fang marks on my legs!!!!! A crowd gathered and no one wanted to walk by it but I knew, even as long as it was, the strike distance did not reach across the trail so I walked by, stopped, took images and video. A park ranger came by and asked us all to leave to the snake could calm down and slither off and so it did. When I reached the parking lot, another ranger told me there was another rattler sighting on a trail we started earlier in the day. Yep, they are officially out. Finished with 9 miles of hiking.