Hiking the Peralta Trail

Sue went to Bashas this morning to pick up bread. When she got back she made bacon and eggs! I’m not sure why, but it was a nice surprise. Maybe she thought it would fortify us for our big adventure today…

Peralta PanoramaAt 11:00 Dave and Marylou picked us up and we drove out to the parking lot near the starting point of the Peralta Trail Hike. The road there starts just a couple of kilometers from our place, but once we turned of Hwy 60 it soon turned to a winding gravel track through the desert. After about 7 miles we found the parking lot — we were not the first and not the only ones who thought the clouds and the slightly cooler temperatures would make for ideal hiking conditions.

Superstition Wilderness Map
Superstition Wilderness Map

There is a big board with a map at the entrance to the hike. There are also washrooms at the parking lot. And there is a ‘sign-in/sign-out’ sheet where Marylou registered us. And so began our hike.

We must have missed a turn early on — not surprising, since it seemed to me there was an awful lot of visiting going on at the front of the ‘group’. Soon we were following a dried out river bed, doing our best not to slip off the big rocks and trying to avoid getting our legs (like true novices, we were all wearing shorts for this!) from getting completely scratched up by the thorns and branches that were making the ‘trail’ narrower as we went along.

Finally it seemed we were stuck. Then we heard voices, up above, somewhere behind the brittle bush and cactus vegetation. Are we lost? Is there a trail up there? We finally managed to scramble up through thick brush and found the wide, clearly marked path that would take us through the Peralta Canyon to our destination.

And so that’s how we continued — about 5kms winding up and down through some interesting vegetation and rock formations. We were following the creek, so occasionally we heard a babbling brook or ducked through overhanging green ‘rain-forest’ as we gradually ascended into the Superstition Wilderness. On either side we had towering volcanic rock ‘needles’ pointing up to the cloudy sky.

Freemont Saddle
Freemont Saddle

After hiking 3 or 4 kms we could see Fremont Saddle. We recognized it because it looks like a saddle. There are many ‘balancing rocks’ along the hillside here, but this one is prominent, jutting out in the middle of the canyon.

We continued on, zig-zagging our way along the trail, always aiming for that lowest part of the ‘V’ on the horizon. We’d hiked about 5kms when we came to that crest. When we got there we got a fantastic view of Weavers Needle. And behind, and all around it, was a huge canyon. We could see Superstition Mountain and even the Four Peaks way out in the distance.

Weavers Needle
Group photo at the ‘summit’

And, we had lunch! It was around one o’clock, way past a proper lunch time. But after hiking for a couple of hours those little sandwiches sure tasted good. We got another hiker to take a group photo of us before heading back down into the canyon. Although the return is mostly downhill and quite a bit easier, you still have to watch where you step and make sure you stay on the trail. And going downhill can be hard on your knees, and on your toes!

We managed to get back to the parking lot safely, and by around 3:30 we were back at the house. The Driedgers stopped by for happy hour.

Sue made supper and I had a long skype call from Werner — hadn’t talked to him in a long time. Things back at school are about the same as ever and he’s working far too hard and not getting nearly enough credit or appreciation for it. After supper Sue made a bunch of phone calls. I showered and worked on the computer. By the time the CBC National was over at 9pm I was having trouble keeping awake. I managed to find ‘The Daily Show’ on TV but I may have to watch the rerun in the morning if I want to know what it was about.