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Bluff Spring Loop
Superstition Wilderness
April 28, 2018
by Tamar Gottfried
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Elevation
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group
Michelle, Terry, Cecilia, Dan, Dave, Tom, Ramona, Billie, Sandy, Michael, Ann, Darrell

A lucky 13 early-rising Trailblazers assembled before 5:30 AM at the meeting spot and were ready to hit the trail by 6 AM. We were by no means the first cars at the Peralta trailhead.

hikers
Let’s get organized. [photo by Tom]
Peralta
Morning shadows on Peralta Trailhead. [photo by Tom]

We started on the Bluff Spring Trail and hit Cardiac Hill with a bang, quickly rising to scenic heights with great views of the parking lot. The climb was made easier by the fact that it was only 67 degrees at 6 AM.

climb climb
The hike begins with a big climb. [photos by Tom]
climb
The weather helped us by being cool. [photo by Tom]

We continued on our way on the well-marked trail when the front of the group hit a wash (Barks Canyon was dry of course in the spring, 2018). Two very confident hikers crossed the wash and started up a hill and six of us followed. I didn’t remember the trail being that steep or poorly groomed, but the front hikers seemed so sure this was the way.

trail
Tamar leads us on the Bluff Spring Trail. [photo by Tom]
hikers
Cecilia and Michael are looking away from the arch. [photo by Tom]
needle
Weaver’s Needle from Barks Canyon. [photo by Tom]

After almost half a mile, with a steeper ledge on the horizon, I checked my previous track of this hike and realized we were seriously off trail. With the wonders of radio communication, we got our group of eight back together, called the other five hikers to let them know they were now in the lead, and made our way back to the actual trail. We gained an extra 0.8 miles and some pretty views on a trail that would have led us back to the Peralta Trailhead eventually.

We went back to Plan A—the Bluff Springs/Dutchman’s loop and after a nice slog up a hill, met the rest of the group for a quick snack break. We then continued onwards, breaking for another snack at the junction of the Dutchman’s Trail in a nice green riparian zone (again, no water this year).

break
Let’s take a break here. [photo by Tom]
Ann
Ann. [photo by Tom]
Sandy
Sandy. [photo by Tom]

Our next landmark view was Miners Needle (stopped for group shot) and the three bears as we walked along a ridge. The last few miles of the hike were tougher, as the temperatures soared into the 90s and the breezes abandoned us. The little hill near the end was not welcome, but views from above the parking lot were.

trail
The Dutchman’s Trail takes us down the northeast side of Miners Canyon. [photo by Tom]
bears
Stone bears of Cathedral Rocks. [photo by Tom]

We were all back at our cars before 11:30 and went our separate ways as the mercury climbed. We felt accomplished, having had a nice quick Superstitions hike at the cusp of summer heat.

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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated May 2, 2018