October 11, 2013
Charlebois Spring to the Peralta trail via Upper Black Top Mesa Pass
The Peralta trail is one of the most popular in the Superstition Mountains, with good reason. It’s one of the most scenic. While day hikers frequent the climb up Peralta Canyon to the Fremont Saddle, as we would experience the following morning; today’s hike, approaching Weavers Needle from the north, afforded fabulous views and few hikers.
The day is clear and cool with lows in the lower 50s and highs in the upper 70s, a good 10° below normal.
Although we had filled our dromedaries in case of a dry camp, we continued to find small pools of water along the trail and were increasingly confident that we would find sufficient water in Boulder Canyon.
State Park Ranger Georgie had told us of an excellent camp area along Boulder Canyon with views of Weavers Needle. The site lies southwest of the iconic symbol and is clearly marked by pinyon pine trees, some burnt out due to a previous fire. “If you start to climb Fremont Saddle, you have gone too far”, she had warned.
We found the area just as she described consisting of several campsites with good fire rings and access to the remaining small pools in the mostly dry creek bed. One other small group occupied a campsite just out of sight.
After pitching the tents we settled in for a gorgeous evening and watched the last rays of light fade from the tops of the canyon walls. Then built a fire, downed our prepackaged freeze dried meals (you never know how good they taste until you have been hiking all day),
and fell asleep under the stars.
Hike Out – Over the Fremont Saddle to the Peralta Trailhead
Our last morning starts with coffee, oatmeal and views of Boulder Canyon and beyond. We had climbed the rocks just across the creek to take advantage of the morning light.
Temperatures remain below normal but the warming trend continues. It’s time to leave the desert.
By the time we reach the top of Fremont Saddle it’s a constant stream of day hikers. No surprise on a gorgeous Saturday morning. Hard to believe we encountered so little traffic during the previous two day.
The last two miles are a long slog down (1360ft) the Peralta Canyon with superb views, iconic rock formations, and stately saguaro cactus.
It’s no wonder so many make the pilgrimage up to this commanding viewpoint. The real joy, however, is breaching the bottle neck and venturing deeper into the wilderness, if just for a couple of nights under the stars.