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Charlebois Long Loop
Superstition Wilderness
January 19, 2020
by Tamar Gottfried
  GPS Map 
Elevation
group
Trailblazers at Terrapin Junction. [photo by Tom]
front:  Kelly, Tamar, Li
back: Michael, Dave, Chris, Debbie, Terry, Kim, Kevin

Eleven hikers arrived at the Peralta Trailhead before sunrise, donned headlamps and jackets and ascended Cardiac Hill on the Bluff Springs Trail to meet the sun. We followed the trail as the weather warmed and our heart rates rose and hit the Dutchman’s Trail junction.

dawn
Profile of saguaros at dawn. [photo by Debbie]
dawn needle
We got an early start. [photos by Kelly]
water
Lots of water, after recent rains. [photo by Tamar]
Kelly
Kelly pauses by the rock wall. [photo by Tamar]
pool
Water collects in pools. [photo by Debbie]

Some of my favorite resting spots after the trail junction were occupied by campers cooking breakfast or sleeping, so we stopped for a break a little farther down at an unoccupied camping spot.

We increased our speed on the Dutchman’s Trail as it flattened out a bit, but encountered a little bit of catclaw and only a few backpackers returning on the trail.

We passed the “50 armed cactus” and snapped a few shots of it in the valley below. Eventually we reached the Red Tanks trail junction and a few people ventured down the the creek to the spot where a few of us camped in March 2019.

A few water crossings later, we passed the Peter’s Trail junction and arrived at Charlebois Spring. After a quick inspection, we wandered down to the creek and sat Creekside on rocks to enjoy a break, some lunch and to replenish our water supplies.

needle
Weaver’s Needle is named for a mountain man. [photo by Kim]
cactus
Does it really have 50 arms? [photo by Kim]
water
Plenty of water, after recent rains. [photo by Debbie]
hikers
The trail isn’t so bad here. [photo by Li]
color
Amazing colors in the rocks. [photo by Kim]
view
Century plant points the way. [photo by Kim]

From this point on, we continued on Dutchman’s Trail past a few more junctions and never saw a soul. It was mellow and beautiful on this stretch through Marsh Valley. Eventually¬† we arrived at the Terrapin junction and paused for our first group photo. A trail runner buzzed through us—the only person we had seen in miles. Three hikers elected to brave the more rustic Terrapin and take a few miles off the hike. The rest of us went another mile or so onward and left the Dutchman for the Peralta Trail.

Peralta was a slow slog upwards in 70 degree weather, but we were able to reach a shaded area after a bit. We marveled at the changing look of Weaver’s Needle as we circled it, saw the Lone Pine and made the final ascent up to Fremont Saddle by 4 PM.¬†

All that was left was a quick “sprint” down the Peralta trail. On this leg, we were definitely not alone on the trail. By 5:20, we were all at the cars and pleasantly surprised by Li, who had brought a cheese and salami plate with crackers to augment the beer and soda we had to celebrate a long good day in the Superstitions.

hikers
Back at Peralta Trailhead. [photo by Tom]

This may have been the longest non Grand Canyon day hike that the Trailblazers have done. A great way to see parts of the wilderness normally only visited by backpackers.

→   More pictures, by Kim
→   More pictures, by Tom
→   More pictures, by Li
→   More pictures, by Debbie
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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated January 23, 2020