Posts tagged “hiking

Hiking the Peralta Trail – Middle

This second installment begins where the first one ended, right at the Fremont Saddle…the geographic/landscape feature that appeared to be a resting and turning-around point for many hikers.  That was my impression, anyway, as there were a few people who walked out to the lone Pinon Pine in the distance, and many fewer people who actually went down the trail that eventually led to the base of Weaver’s Needle in the background…and swarms and tons of them at the saddle and back down on the first half of the trail as I made my return trek.

Peralta Trail first glimpse of Weaver's Needle

This second image is the view to the left of Weaver’s needle, made from the same location as the one above….

Peralta Trail looking west of Weaver's Needle from Fremont Saddle

There is actually quite a gulf of rock-filled space between that lone pine and the southern edge of the base of Weaver’s Needle, even though some of the following images offer a view that appears somewhat contrary to what I just stated.

Peralta Trail Weaver's Needle and Pinion Pine from Fremont Saddle

If you can return to the first image above, find the two people, and then travel in your mind in a sort of quarter or third of a circle off to your right, you will come to the location where I made the below image…it’s looking somewhat off to the southeast…over a further expanse of rocky and bouldered desert that contains dozens of other trails.

Peralta Trail Superstition Mountains with yucca stalks

Crazy waves of mountain tops and yucca stalks….

Peralta Trail with waves of mountains and yucca stalks

Approaching Weaver’s Needle now, coming from the southeast where the above image was made…with a somewhat serpentine trail drawing us closer.  You can see two people on the trail….

Peralta Trail approaching Weaver's Needle on Fremont Saddle

And below, facing somewhat northeast over the rocks and mountains of the Superstitions.  I shared this image in a black and white rendering a few weeks ago….

Peralta Trail neighboring rocks of Weaver's Needle

It appears that we’re getting really close now….

Peralta Trail approaching the monolith of Weaver's Needle

Don’t forget to look down…and pay attention to what’s there….

Peralta Trail yucca viewed from above

Final yards up to the lone Pinon Pine…a feature that is discussed on-line as another favorite destination and turn-around spot.  I encountered a man and woman (and their dog) who appeared to have spent the night under the pine…and were packing to leave as the other hikers and I arrived…rested, lingered, and then departed to continue our respective journeys.

Peralta Trail Pinion Pine Pointe

This is the view from the ledge just down and to the left/west of the pine tree…there is quite a bit of space between the tree and the Needle…..

Peralta Trail Weaver's Needle from Pinion Pine overlook

More to follow….


Image

Weaver’s Needle and Surround in Black and White

Weaver's Needle and Surround in Black and White


Hiking the Peralta Trail – First

The Peralta Trail is just one of the almost 40 trails that one can find in the Superstition Mountains of Arizona.  The mountains are part of the Superstition Wilderness that lies within the confines of the Tonto National Forest. I might have mentioned it in the earlier post, but my visit to this bit of desert a week or so ago was my first….  I have only driven “close” to the area a few times in my two-decades-plus of living in Arizona…and by “close,” I mean maybe within 20 miles…or more.  The photo below was made about 17 minutes before “sunrise” proper, so it’s a little dark…even with some “fill light.”

Starting on the Peralta Trail just before sunrise

I didn’t really know what to expect when I arrived at the canyon.  I did know, however, that I would be following the trail, out and back, so I didn’t research the actual trail, other than to learn where to find the trailhead.  I did not check-out Google’s images of the trail or the mountains.  I wanted everything to be fresh…wanted the neuronal memories to be of things that I actually saw….

Peralta Trail water feature

I spoke with one of the National Forest attendants who was milling around the parking lot and he said that all of the streams had stopped running by then, said they were going earlier in the week with the rains, but that I shouldn’t have any difficulties crossing the stream-beds during the hike.  This one was still actually “running” when I encountered it on the way out, and back several hours later…but it was much nicer when this photo was taken, as I was the only witness of that particular moment of the day….

Peralta Trail green desert morning

Above and below, two images of the same mountain from different perspectives, different times and elevations…further along the trail with the second.  I suppose I could mention here that all of the photos are presented in time order…for this and the following two posts…all the way out and back.

Peralta Trail saguaro cactus and mountains

It was all quite new to me, as I mentioned earlier…a richness of green in the middle of the desert…green at the present because of the Winter rains and cooler temperatures…a seasonal reprieve from what I understand to be hideous temperatures that ride there in the middle of the year months.  The rock battlements in the lower photo were an accompaniment for the greater portion of the first part of the trail…they subsided somewhat…changed, rather, as the trail went further up the canyon.

Peralta Trail red rock battlements

Looking back-trail again in the below photo…amazed again/still at the greenery…

Peralta Trail saguaro and shadow mountains

And then comes the company…at least it was a dog…with a human trailing behind…two of them, actually, but quite ones…a girl-pair with their purple hair…and lip piercings…and water bottles and backpacks…on the trail of a Sunday morning…

Peralta Trail company approaches

*****

Peralta Trail rocks and mountains

I guess the one above is a closer view of the one below…climbing higher again.

Peralta Trail gaining elevation

…and this one, too….

Peralta Trail still higher

….anyway, it was damn beautiful out there and my sense of amazement only grew as the trail climbed in elevation….

Peralta Trail purple mountains' majesty

Pretty and crazy rocks….


A little bit of Superstition….

It was almost 85 miles from my drive-way in the far northwest valley to the trailhead in the extreme southeast valley, just across the county line, just beyond Apache Junction, just past Gold Canyon…and well worth the drive.

Superstition morning - walking the Peralta Trail

Seven hours on and off the trail, almost 300 photos later…an overcast day with the sun barely peeking out from behind the clouds for an hour, and then retreating back behind them….

Weaver's Needle - viewed from the Lone Pine on Fremont Saddle

While I was hiking in near solitude on the way out…it was like fighting an infestation of lice or mites on the second half of the return trip…walking people, talking people, loud people, colorful people, children people, slow people, dogs with people…and people people….

Superstition Mountains - looking southeast from east side of Fremont Saddle

But before the people…the views…the cool morning air…the rocks and greening desert…and the slight murmuring and chuckling of a diminishing canyon stream….

Heading back to the beginning on the Peralta Trail

This was my first trip into the Superstitions…and I will be back.

Superstition Mountains - a different kind of desert

More to follow….


The blue-white of Winter….

Dipping into the archives again…January 8, 2012…an uncommon beauty….

Snow covered hillside in Millcreek Canyon


Climbing Picacho Peak….

I’ve driven past this landmark on the way to and from Tucson innumerable times over the last two and a half decades…finally climbed to the top….kinda cool.

Tried to get there at sunrise to see the grand walls adorned with the fresh morning’s light….

Picacho Peak from Toltec Road Overpass

Parked outside the gate to Picacho Peak State Park…in the below image.  For anyone who enjoys the Wikipedia take on things, here’s another link…which addresses the redundancy of the name.  “Picacho” means “peak” in Spanish….so this is Peak Peak State Park….

Picacho Peak sunrise from the state park's entrance gate

The trail is going to take us up to the uppermost point on the prominence to the left…the eastern summit.

Hunter trail-head, start of the journey

Hunter Trail goes in a zig-zag switchback manner up the front of the slope in the above image, reaches the saddle at the notch on the right, and then drops down over 200 feet and then skirts along the south side heading east, and finally climbs up and up and up…..

Approaching the saddle of Picacho Peak, looking southeast from the north side

The above photo shows the view looking north and south from the front of the slope in the image just above it….and the photo below shows the saddle…looking east.  And yes, that is the “peak”….the destination…at the far left side of the image.

Picacho east summit and saddle viewed from west end of the saddle

Hmmm….lovely defacing of the placard…the peak is believed to be about 22 million years old….

Placard at saddle of Picacho Peak

Looking north and west from the saddle in the below image….a crumpled-blanket-looking-desert….

Looking southwest from the saddle on Picacho Peak

And now heading down from the saddle (below) with the double steel cable hand-rails…going waaaaay down the steep slope.

Double cable handrails heading down from the saddle on Picacho Peak

Looking directly south from the above slope…out over the irrigated desert’s fields….

Looking south at desert fields and desert hills

In the below image, we have made it safely down that severe slope and have headed east along the south side of the mount…climbed up a bit, and have arrived at something like an arena or amphitheater in the rock’s backside….

South side arena of Picacho Peak

Saguaro cacti, Palo Verde trees/shrubs, and Creosote/Grease-wood bushes….  The below photo is what is inside of the shadows in the right side of the above photo…

Inside the shadows of arena on south side of Picacho Peak

A singular cross on Golgotha….?

Western wall of arena on south side of Picacho Peak

Another incredibly steep climb upward with the double cable hand-rails….nearing the top….

Double cable handrails approaching summit plane of Picacho Peak

My only company on the summit….

Picacho Peak summit wildlife

In the below image, we’re looking north and west from the top….fascinating green veins where the water runs in its season…

Looking northwest from Picacho Peak summit

And looking north and east from the summit, in the below image, over the irrigated fields…over the freeway heading toward Tucson to the right…and over Rooster Cogburn’s Ostrich Ranch…in that white hangar-like structure…toward left of center…

Looking northeast from Picacho Peak summit

Looking west from the east and highest summit…over the western summit….

Looking due west from Picacho Peak summit

And now looking further west from that western summit….

Picacho Peak lower range viewed from western summit

In the below image, the eastern summit proper…the Picacho Peak….viewed from the slope of the western summit.

Picacho Peak summit proper

Looking up at the “trail” we just descended…heading down on the Sunset Vista Trail…which loops back around the Picacho Peak massif, heading west….

Looking back up at double cable handrails on Sunset Vista trail coming down from summit

The southern side of the mount just west of Picacho Peak massif, from the Sunset Vista Trail….

Desert mountain range west of Picacho Peak massif

And the western end of the massif…looking east….with Picacho Peak proper being around and behind….to the far right.

Picacho Peak massif viewed from the west on Sunset Vista trail

So, now we’ve seen Picacho Peak up close and personal…which will change how we “see” it from this day forward.

I hope you enjoyed the hike…thank you for coming along with me….


Change of scenery….from the archives

little-cottonwood-creek-11-13-2010

Exactly six years ago today…in another world.


Image

“conceptual separation….”

forest fence-line and flowers


into the treasure box

The camera-phone six hundred and some miles away clicked in my daughter’s hand…fingers poked a message into the screen, and the image was transported across digital waves of something/nothingness and caused a small vibration from my phone…and I found it, many hours later, a tiny treasure…full of meaning and memories…of little ones cuddling on my lap, whispered words of “Papa’s mountains,” and the feel of a trail underfoot…images cascading in flashes of recall…sounds of water crashing or quietly rolling down the canyon…a scent of warm summer pine and wildflower…or the comforting wood-smoke on an icy morning while snow crunched underfoot….

girls-on-the-bridge-in-lcc-rev

I have crossed that bridge dozens of times…under the thick canopy of spring and summer fullness in the trees above, while the heady aroma of the mountains blew light or strong down the canyon….or atop a foot or more of snow piled high and reassuring, while I stood or knelt and made images of Christmas-tree-like reflections in the ice and snow rimmed stream…and then gone home to little one’s arms around my neck…”Did you have a nice hike, Papa…?”

 

*Iphound treasure courtesy of K. Brill, 8/31/16, Little Cottonwood Canyon, Salt Lake City, Utah.


Sycamore Canyon Rim Trail

It’s been close to two months since I made the almost 190 mile trek north to flee the city and its trappings and find a bit of solitude and soul restoration in the wilderness of the Kaibab National Forest (Williams District) located just south and west of Flagstaff.

Lenticular clouds over San Francisco Peaks, Flagstaff Arizona

These lenticular clouds were an added treat as I found the silhouette of the San Francisco peaks in the distance…looking east.  Humphrey’s Peak is at the far left of the ridge, the highest point in Arizona.  You might remember my hike to the top in this post.

Morning trail along Sycamore Canyon Rim Trail

The weather forecast for the day said it was going to be partly cloudy up here…and those clouds in the first image were the only ones I saw for the entire six hours on the trail…  No cloud cover, but excellent canopy cover in the forest….

High desert prairie, Williams Arizona

The day’s hike is actually the Sycamore Canyon Rim Trail…an 11-12 mile loop that starts in the Ponderosa pine forest, crosses some meadows, meanders up into an oak and cedar forest that covers KA Hill…goes back down into the Ponderosa, and then skirts the Canyon.

Entering Oak forest while climbing KA Hill

The view above is entering that oak forest…and the view below is from atop KA Hill, looking east again at the San Francisco Peaks.  That lighter area along the road is where I stopped to make the photo for my recent post “yellow…along the way…

Looking east toward San Francisco Peaks from atop KA Hill

Coming out of the oak forest and making a fast descent from KA Hill through a mature Ponderosa forest quickly leads to this open area that looks like a lava field that is slowly being covered with wild grasses and less mature pines.  I don’t know if this area has been burned in the last century, but the majority of the trees were much smaller than the surrounding forest.  Maybe it’s because they’re growing in a lava field….

Lava-covered prairie

The drainage from the above field leads down into the natural pond/cistern in the below photo….

High desert forest pond beneath lava prairie

…and continues down into this stream bed that leads back into another forested area….

Sycamore Canyon forest and stream

….and probably less than a mile later, leads to this surprise….

Lava walls and lily pads

….a lava-wall-bordered pond with lily-pads…actual lily-pads…in a pond…in the high desert of Arizona…..  Wow….!

Cliff-sides and lily-pad pond

Two of the three people I saw on the trail all day….and their two dogs….

People at Pomeroy Tank, Sycamore Canyon Rim Trail

Another of the “Pomeroy Tanks” that are important water sources for the wildlife in the area.

Greenery and stream-bed

Heading back into the forest proper…crossing a dry stream-bed with more lava rocks….beautiful green….

Under cover again on forest trail, Kaibab National Forest

The loop eventually comes to what are referred to as the Sycamore Falls…behind me and to the right in the below image…which was not flowing…and which is a favorite spot for rock-climbers to practice their skills.

Canyon long-view from Sycamore Canyon Falls

You can easily see the two guys in the below photo…but how about the guy in the one above….?

Rappelling down Sycamore Canyon Waterfall lava cliffs

I stopped to have a snack at the below location…on the eastern ridge of the canyon (looking west) with the falls to the right…where you can see a man in white above where the other two guys were climbing….

Time for lunch along Sycamore Canyon Rim Trail

I think the stream-bed would be an excellent place to explore…for hours and hours…maybe even days or months…..

Wrong turn cliff-side

I made a wrong turn…or took the path less-traveled that took me to the cliff-edge of the canyon…and had to turn-around, retrace my steps…find the real trail…back to the loop, but it was a beautiful diversion…with lots of compelling green.

Something's out of place, Century Plant along Sycamore Canyon Rim Trail

The trail eventually led up toward more of a plateau again…forest covered…with strong breezes and winds whipping and almost roaring through the tree-tops.  With the lack of cloud-cover that I thought I would have for the day, the winds were welcome in keeping things from getting too warm when walking outside of the cover of the forest.  Almost as surprising as finding the lily-pad pond shared above was the discovery of these Century Plants with their bright yellow bouquets…and attendant butterfly and humming bird.

Walking the Rim, along Sycamore Canyon Rim Trail

Another view of the actual canyon rim…provoking thoughts of what the place must have looked like when it was forming in the aftermath of the San Francisco Peaks‘ volcanic eruptions in those 200-and-some millions of years ago….

Long view of Sycamore Canyon, Kaibab National Forest

Thank you for visiting….I hope you enjoyed going with me along the Sycamore Canyon Rim Trail…amid the green, forested north of Arizona….

PS….and for what it’s worth, this is my 1,000th post on WordPress…..  Thank you for accompanying me on this journey, as well.  I’ve met a bunch of wonderful people here and a solid couple of handfuls of very special friends over the past seven years.  🙂