Friday, October 11, 2013

A Hike Through Peralta Canyon

My daughter suggested we go on a hike today.  We deliberated between seeing hieroglyphics, hiking to a cave, or seeing Weaver's Needle.  We settled on taking the Peralta Trail through the canyon up to Freemont Saddle to see Weaver's Needle.  If there's one thing I've learned about the book Superstition Wilderness Trails West - Hikes, Horse Rides, and History by Jack Carlson and Elizabeth Stewart, it is that when they say a hike is easy, it is really moderate, when they say a hike is moderate, it is really hard, and when they say a hike is hard, you had better break out the mountain climbing equipment.  Easy doesn't exist in these parts, unless you are in excellent physical shape and hike on a regular basis.

This hike was rated as moderate at 2.1 miles and 2 hours one way.  I should have noticed beforehand that one hour per mile seems generous.  That's because it's all uphill climbing over large rocks and boulders.  The view is spectacular and there are plenty of shady spots where you can rest.  With me being a middle aged fatty who only hikes regularly on the flat desert floor, it took me three hours to get to the switchbacks before the saddle.

One of my hiking boots was rubbing blisters on my heel, so it was one of these situations where I was hoping we would reach the top soon before my foot is killing me and I can't make it back down.  However, when we reached the switchbacks with a steep incline, I'd take ten steps and have to stop because I thought my heart was going to explode.  I was also getting an earache from the altitude.  When I spotted hikers way off in the distance, I knew I couldn't make it that far, so unfortunately we turned back before reaching the saddle and seeing Weaver's Needle.  But I did get some good pictures.







How does this even happen?  The geology nerd inside me really wants to know...  I mean, I know it is formed by wind and water, but why don't these rocks come crashing down like dominoes?  They look like dominoes.  Or one rock is giving another a piggy back ride that is giving another a piggy back ride...







I'll just have to make it a goal to get into better cardiovascular shape and try again some day.  There were several folks in their golden years who were cruising along with no problem.  Quite frankly, I couldn't comprehend how some of these hikers could move so fast.  They were like mountain goats.  All the way down the mountain, I was strategizing each step so that I didn't end up being one of these hikers who has to be airlifted out with an injured ankle or knee.  My knees were begging me to stop.  I even had to sit down and slide on my butt in a few places because the drop offs were too steep for me to jump down.

On the way down, the blisters on my feet shifted from my heel to the pads and toes.  Next time I'm planning on tying a different set of boots or even sneakers to my backpack so I can switch out the footwear.  I've learned that no shoes will fit my odd shaped feet without rubbing them somewhere, but at least I can relieve one area of irritation for a while by changing shoes.

We had stopped in a shady spot for lunch only to discover that we left our sandwiches on the counter or table at home.  My husband said he chased after us with our lunch bag as we were driving off, but we didn't see him.  So, we were anxious to get home to eat.  At least we had some snacks and plenty of water.  And I got some time away from the constant dog barking next door.  Maybe next time we'll try the trail to the hieroglyphics, and hopefully it will be a moderate hike since it is rated as being easy.

7 comments:

Ian H said...

Pretty country, but awful dry looking. Great photos.

Mary said...

The landscape there is so foreign to me, I honestly can't' imagine seeing that with my own eyes. Like you, I want to know how those formation became that way. Why, why why...? It's too bad you didn't reach the end goal, but I am willing to bet, I couldn't have made it half as far as you. I think it was a good idea to turn back. There is nothing more annoying than to see folks older than me, trekking along at warp speed. I am horribly out of shape. The photos are really fascinating.! Take care of those feet.

Cheryl Ann said...

Beautiful photos, Nuzz! The last time we all went to the Grand Canyon, I thought I was going to have a heart attack myself...huff, puff, huff, puff...
Cheryl Ann

Cindy D. said...

I have never done the Peralta trail hike, although it looks awesome. My problem is that I remember the things I used to be able to do in the desert "back then" and think that I still can. Then I try to and find that like you, my cardio system needs some serious work! I get exhausted, out of breath and my joints hurt so so quickly.

With all that being said, I can tell you that the hieroglyphic hike used to be my favorite. I loved it because it was plenty easy and if you could go when there wasn't a gazillion people, the spring and small cave (formed by boulders) is so serene and peaceful. I have been thinking of trying it again to see if I can still handle it. TC has not been up there yet.

Love the pics!

Sam said...

The trail to the hieroglyphics is very easy and well maintained. The Goldmine Trail - which runs from the hieroglyphics to Peralta is relatively flat and a nice easier trail compared to a lot out there. We usually park a car on each end. If you can believe it - we used to take the horses up to Weaver's Needle on that trail - in the last several years it has really declined. Last weekend we rode to Coffee Flats and came back thru the Quarter Circle U. It starts at the same trailhead as Peralta. Let me know if you are up to it and I will gladly go along. It is rocky in some places and the horses have to scramble but they get through it okay.

lilyrose said...

I see you figured out the hike rating code here. :) Not many easy ones to be found. If you plan on hiking much, you may want to do it soon before all the winter visitors arrive. Then the trails will be packed. ugh.

Cut-N-Jump said...

I did manage the Peralta Trail hike once and made it to see Weavers Needle. Totally worth it, but I swore then, I wouldn't do it again without a horse under me or maybe even a mountain goat.

And yes, even in my youth there were senoirs passing us on the trail and leaving us behind.... What the??? That was too many years ago to speak of. Now? HA! I doubt I would make it very far out of the parking area. :(