On Friday 21 of us took off for a hike we call Miner’s Needle Loop. My GPS tracker kept a pretty accurate recording of the hike when compared to our club notes from previous years, so a 9.5 mile hike with 1500 feet of elevation gain accurately describes the day’s adventure. You can see from the track below that we had most of our climbing in the first half of our loop, especially at the very beginning when we hiked up Cardiac Climb. This is a route we can take in either direction, but coming down that steep section at the end of a long hike is not my idea of fun.
The day was quite cloudy, but quite comfortable for hiking. Most of us wore long pants, as we expected it to be rather cool, but at times when the clouds thinned out it was pretty warm.
No blue skies today, but the subdued light and the recent rains we’ve experienced made for some decent pictures.
Before long we were looking down from Cardiac Climb onto Bark’s Basin. The end of our hike would have us walking right across this section.
A Saguaro Cactus is a tough Desert Dweller. I thought this fella was just another Dead Soldier until I blew it up a bit and saw the living arm still hanging on. We’ll see how long it survives though.
For whatever reason we’ve seen an abundance of Jojoba nuts still on their bushes this year. Usually the birds have stripped them all off by now. They are related to Almonds, and once you peel the husk off they’re quite edible. Could use a little salt though.
I did say we’ve seen a bit of rain, and some of it was collected in Bark’s Canyon. That allowed us to get at least a partial fill of Reflection pictures and keep several of our photographers busy for a bit. In the past, we’ve seen lots of water in this section, and last year I had to get my boots wet to get through here. (Ok, I was just being clumsy)
Weaver’s Needle keeps popping up no matter where we are in the Superstitions.
This little bush has managed to find some soil and moisture somehow. If it can survive this very dry fall and winter it likely will continue to grow for a long time.
One hiker in our group considers every hike that doesn’t provide a view of Weaver’s Needle a waste of good hiking time. I figured I’d catch a picture of Hans and his favourite piece of rock. This part of the hike was in the shallow center section of the track I posted above. It was a welcome respite from all the climbing, but we still had some elevation to gain.
Our lunch stop was above Miner’s Needle. This is the last high spot on our track, and most of the rest of the trail is downhill from here. Dana and I have made a promise to climb the needle on the right at some point. I don’t think it will be when we are on this particular track though, as it’s about 6 miles from where we started. I think we’ll come in from the short side of the loop to do this.
That’s Bark’s Basin in the background, and once we reach it we have a few miles of rolling desert before we get back to the trucks.
This particular group of rocks always keeps us busy trying to figure out what it looks like. Everything from Winnie the Pooh to a St Bernard to a sleeping Lion complete with whiskers and even a Water Creature from the movie The Abyss.
It is unofficially called The 3 Dogs. If you can find 3 pups in there, you’re either a better observer than I am, or you are having flashbacks from what you injested in the 70’s.
Not all Saguaro are as resilient as the one I posted above.
One final view back where we came from. It was a great day, but our legs were a bit worn out by the time we were finished. I heard from a few fellow hikers who were planted on the couch for the evening, or had put their PJ’s on by 5:30.
And that was the end of our day wandering in the desert.