What a difference a year makes!

Last week hubby and I completed one of the best hikes we’ve ever done.  The scenery was great, the weather cooperated, and we both felt strong and prepared for it.  We knew the Peralta Trail would be our most ambitious hike to date but after a couple of weeks conditioning on the trails near Lost Dutchman State Park we felt ready.Superstition Wilderness trails

hiking SuperstitionsOn a personal note; what made this hike even more special and rewarding was the fact that a year ago I had difficulties walking a Walmart let alone a rugged trail.

The first half of 2014 had me struggling with some health issues and I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to hike a trail like this. I won’t bore you with my medical woes…even I don’t want to hear it about it LOL.

Suffice it to say; WOW, what a difference a year makes.  I feel great and can’t believe I managed this hike without issue!

Peralta  Trail

Five minutes into the hike we began the climb. I had to stop and admire this part of the trail. All I could think about was what a fabulous counter top this rock would make. Yep, that had hubby rolling his eyes too!

This amazing hike begins at the mouth of Peralta Canyon and climbs steadily through a varied terrain.  The area is stunning and has a complex volcanic origin. The rugged trail starts amongst oak and mesquite scrub then eventually changes to cacti and rock.Peralta TrailAlthough the trail is rated moderate – strenuous, that doesn’t stop hikers from making it one of the most heavily used trails in Arizona.  Most folks take the trail up 2.2 miles (1,380 foot uphill trek) to the crest at the Fremont Saddle to enjoy a dramatic view of Weavers Needle then retrace their steps back down to the trailhead.  That’s exactly what Al and I did.

Peralta Trail Superstitions

This diagram shows the elevation gain from the trailhead to the saddle

Al and I took a 20 minute break at the Fremont Saddle to have a snack while admiring the view of Weavers Needle.Weavers NeedleWeavers NeedleFlowering CactusThere’s a stark rugged beauty to the Superstition Wilderness Area that has a draw about it, not to mention all the rumors concerning lost gold mines and secret maps.

This is harsh inhospitable terrain to those not equipped to meet natures own terms.

As a matter of fact, the Superstition Wilderness Area keeps Search and Rescue busier than they’d care to be.  The stories are endless of those who have either disappeared, required rescuing, or have actually perished.  The land is unforgiving.

Superstition Wilderness AreaAl and I came prepared with plenty of water and a snack and although we were tempted to hike out to the “lone pine tree” for an even more spectacular view, we knew that would add about another half hour to our hike, but more importantly might require more water than we were carrying. Not worth chancing.

We promised each other the next time we hike Peralta Trail, we’ll hike to the lone pine.

Peralta Trail

Next time we’ll hike over to that lone pine tree

Weavers Needle is a dramatic volcanic plug that rises 4,443 feet.  It’s surrounded by hoodoos in all directions adding a sense of unique drama to the already stunning landscape.  The photos just don’t do it justice.

As we marveled at incredible views in all directions, we took our time enjoying this fabulous hike. It took us about 3 1/2 hours to complete…. 3 hours of hiking with a 1/2 hour of stopping.  After all, I needed photos for proof I completed this hike… more so for me, than for you!

hiking Superstitions

Al finds some shade and patiently waits for me to take photos

We tackled this hike on a Sunday in March (Spring Break) and although this is considered an extremely popular trail especially on weekends, we thought the trails at the State Park seemed much busier.  That said, we were off the trail by noon.  So maybe it got busier as the day progressed.  Personally, we wouldn’t hesitate hiking it again on a weekend.

Peralta Trail

Hubby as we head back down Peralta Trail

hiking the Superstitions

Al on the trail gives perspective to the vastness of the terrain and if you look to the very right center edge on the photo you can see the trail meandering down

We can’t wait until we’re back in the area in the fall to tackle this trail again…. it’s a butt burner 🙂

Peralta Trail Superstitions

The trail is lined with flowers in spots. The desert in spring is a treat to behold.

If you’re interested in visiting Weavers Needle but looking for a trail less popular, check out LuAnn’s post over at Paint Your Landscape.

Location of the Peralta trailhead:  located off US Highway 60 east of Phoenix, Arizona.  At the traffic light in the town of Gold Canyon, head north on Peralta Road. There’s a brown directional sign for the trailhead.  The road starts off paved and then the last seven miles are gravel.  The road ends at the trailhead.  There’s a vault toilet but no water.  Leashed doggies ok.

Superstition Wilderness Trails West: Hikes, Horse Rides, and History
The Legend of the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine


94 thoughts on “What a difference a year makes!

  1. Pingback: Blogging Lessons Learned | Live Laugh RV

  2. Beautiful. My son is an Arizonian and an absolutely loves hiking the Superstition Mountains. He’s talked about it often but I’ve never seen any photos. Loved your pictures. Congratulations on a year of success to be healthy enough to be able to accomplish this.

    • Thank you. Glad I was able to provide the photos on the Superstitions. It’s stunning country with some of the best hiking trails.

    • It’s already too hot for me. We try and get out hiking by 8:00 and done by 10:00. I’m hoping to stay around Phoenix long enough to see the saguaro bloom 🙂

  3. Isn’t that a beautiful hike? Glad to see you getting out there on the trails Ingrid. The Superstitions are lovely this time of year.

  4. Hi Ingrid – your activities always look awesome to me – even last year, but I’m so glad to learn that you’re feeling all that more active this year (“active” is always the goal, right? and more is better). What a wonderful hike! Also, I’m so happy to learn you & Al have Door County plans in August! (I put a little comment at my “field trip” post, but you might not see it, since I didn’t make it a direct reply; I guess) Anyway I just wanted to say I LOVE Door County and will send you an email with some of the things I love about it. Have you been there in the past? Maybe you have your own list of things!

    • I welcome any recommendations on Door County. It’s been years since I was last in WI. We’ll be staying in Algoma (I think) for Al to go fishing with the guys. I’ll need some ideas to go off exploring on my own. Photographic ops anywhere?

  5. What a beautiful area! We have been bouncing between Lost Dutchman, Cave Creek and Usery Mountain Park for the past month. There is so much to see and do. Love your blog!

    • Thank you. Ah, you’ve been visiting a few of my favorite places. This area is especially beautiful in the spring when the desert seems to come alive. I’m loving the wildflowers 🙂

  6. Absolutely beautiful pictures! What a place…I always find it amazing to see flowers in such a location. Nature at its best!

    • The desert is beautiful in the spring and it’s amazing to see the lovely flowers blooming in such a harsh environment. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

  7. What a great accomplishment, and you guys look very sporty in the pictures:) You also got some great pictures of the stunning landscape!

      • The mountain and hoodoo pictures were off course great, but for some reason the cactus with the pink flowers captured my attention, loved it! 🙂

        • I love the desert when she’s in bloom…. so many unique plants. When the Saguaro bloom that’s quite a treat to behold. I’ll be visiting the Desert Botanical Garden here in Phoenix next week 🙂

          • Hopefully you’ll be sharing some pictures from that visit, sound cool:) I’ve been to ‘regular’ botanical gardens, but not one that is designated for desert plants.

  8. Though just ‘meeting’ you, it’s good to hear that you are better and managed to go hiking. I have been in a similar situation where I could not be outdoorsy and felt trapped in the city 🙂 Nice views – that looks like a place I would not mind vising.

  9. I was just there last week! I wrote about the Tonto National Forest but you got a lot closer than I did by hiking it. Well done!

    • Next time you’re back to the area you’ll need to drive the paved part of the Apache Trail and maybe take in a hike at the Lost Dutchman State Park. It’s stunning country and spring time is especially beautiful 🙂

  10. Congrats on your hike and accomplishment! It always feels so good when you can measure how far you have come over a year’s time period!

  11. What a great area to hike. I’m afraid our heavy hiking days are over, but we still enjoy activities better suited to us. Thankfully parks seem to pave and make many popular walking areas easy to navigate and we enjoy those. I’ll just enjoy your photos from the top of where we can no longer climb.

    • You two seemed to have found some fun activities that work well for you. I’ll try and get in plenty of enjoyable hikes with photos so you can armchair hike along with us.

    • The desert is so pretty right now…. in bloom. You’re on! One of these days we’ll be in the same place same time and we’ll tackle a fun hike together 🙂

  12. So glad you finally challenge yourselves and go beyond your limits. And so glad to see you fit, slim and blooming and getting better and feeling better. You know we will copy this hike, your photos are very enticing so we will not overlook this trail.

    • There are so many great trails in the area. You and Steve would love it. Good health is something I think about every day and appreciate. I’m sure you can relate 😉

  13. What a spectacular hike! Love the colors of the sky, the rocks, and the beautiful wildflowers. You are definitely enticing us to spend time in the Superstition Wilderness. I’m thinking perhaps early October, on our way to Florida. So glad to see you healthy and hiking, Ingrid. You look terrific, and so happy!

    • Fabulous hike amongst stunning scenery! You really must stay at Lost Dutchman SP and explore the area. You won’t be disappointed. Looks like we may just miss each other again. We won’t get to Phoenix until the end of October 😦

  14. I read such happiness in your words, what a difference a year can make. Nice feeling to be healthy…strong and lean. Looking good…I need some of those legs of steel! I’m ready to view the next hike…so happy for you!

    • Yep, that was a good day. It was great to have the legs feel strong again. I’ll keep working on my endurance and see what trails I’ll be able to tackle in the future 🙂

  15. Wow to these photos – looks like a challenging hike with postcard views. How wonderful that you’re back in shape for it. As the winter snow should melt soon I’m going to have to face getting into hiking shape again – couldn’t possibly do this one but thanks for the inspiration.

    • Thank you. A year ago there was no way I could’ve tackled this trail. So you never know what you might be capable of with practice and patience. Hope the weather warms for you soon 🙂

  16. Another hike I would love to do. Stunning pics, Ingrid. I can certainly relate to how a year can make such a difference. I also had troubles just doing my grocery shopping. I’d arrive and feel like I needed to sit down or just go home again. Various medical conditions as well. Amazing how life can change. So happy for you that you are able to do these great hikes now.

    • Those medical issues can be so frustrating and a roller coaster of a ride. Hope you’re doing well and I highly recommend any hike at the beautiful Superstition Mountains.

  17. i love the weavers needle! so glad you have shared those wonderful shots and that are fit to complete it. can’t wait to get back out next week 🙂 can you remember where you parked to start this one, ingrid. there are so many around the park.

    • At the bottom of the post are directions to the trailhead. I’ll be in Phoenix until the 15th if you’d like to meet for coffee. If not, that’s ok too. Maybe next season. The wildflowers at the base of the Superstitions just above the state park should be in full swing. I may venture over there next week to check’m out. I love the desert in the spring 🙂

      • Thanks Ingrid. I couldn’t have read the post properly.
        We are heading up to Death Valley shortly after we arrive – have you done that? And if yes any ‘must see’ I seem to remember you can’t drive an RV in the park, so maybe you haven’t.
        Are you parked up near the superstitions? It would be fun to have a coffee. 🙂

  18. I’m so glad to read that you are feeling so much better and stronger this year. That hike looks tough, with that killer ascent/elev gain, so kudos to you both for killing it!

    • This is a ‘Nancy’ kind of hike. Right up your alley. If you ever have to travel to Phoenix, you’ll want to add this hike to your itinerary. I know I’ll be doing it again in the fall when we return to Phoenix.

  19. So happy to hear that you’re feeling great, Ingrid. I’m sure this year is going to be a really awesome one for you both. Love your photos of this trail. That lone pine is definitely beckoning you. 🙂

    • Thank you Sylvia. I was so tempted to hike to that Lone Pine…. it indeed was beckoning, but alas the reality of the return hike brought me to my senses 😉 I’ll keep working toward that goal though!

  20. Ingrid how wonderful to you to be so healthy and strong now. You look like you are glowing, well maybe that’s the sweating. 🙂 More fabulous photos from you. I enjoyed this beautiful trail.

    • FYI…. I don’t sweat, I glisten, thus the glow LOL! It does feel wonderful being able to enjoy such beautiful back country. I can’t wait to tackle even more of those trails in the fall when we return to the area 🙂

  21. Congrats on completing a hike you thought you’d never be able to do! We only saw Weavers Needle from afar, next time we’re in that area this is a definite must do! Thanks for taking us there!

    • Next season I plan to do that hike from Canyon Lake (that you did, then Pam did) and hopefully see Weaver’s Needle from the other side. There’s so many beautiful trails in the Superstitions that have me wanting to take up my hiking abilities even further.

  22. Awesome! Thanks for these great views. And guess what-I also had a time when I couldn’t walk around Walmart! Too funny that’s our barometer….
    So that’s why our hikes are now so valuable to me!!!

    • I was thrilled I completed this hike without any problem. Oh, I was tired at the end and glad we didn’t venture much further but never felt like I couldn’t make it back. That’s a horrible feeling (been there, done that). Glad to hear you’re doing better as well 🙂

  23. Always a challenge when the grade gradually climbs…So glad you could do this compared to your issues last year…Every year is a surprise, right? Hey, what kind of hiking shoes do you wear? I need something lightweight with a good tread..low top..Not sure what to get, but after 3 1/2 hours yours must be comfy!!

    • I’m doing so much better, thank goodness. At the top of my blog, under photo header are some tabs. Under “Must Haves” then clothing you’ll find my hiking shoes. I use the Keen’s in cold, wet weather and the Merrill’s in warm, dry weather. I really like the Merrill’s a lot especially dealing with some mild neuropathy in my feet. Without those shoes, there’s no way I could’ve made that trek.

  24. What a wonderful trail. We would love to do that hike. You got so many gorgeous photos, I can’t even begin to say which one I like the most.

    When we stayed out there in 2012 we loved hiking Superstition Mountain.

    Ingrid, I am so happy to read that you are doing so well. I do remember a year ago and all the problems you had. What a difference a year makes. Keep up the good work girlfriend.

    • You and Paul definitely should’ve hiked thist trail. It was one I recommended to Pam the six of us do. What a post that could’ve made – The Weaver’s hike to Weaver’s Needle LOL. Alas, I’m sorry your health didn’t cooperate. Hope you are feeling much better 🙂

  25. Good for you! It’s hard to think of not being able to enjoy and take in all of the beauty this country of ours has to offer. Keep it up….

    • Thanks…. the Superstitions are so stunningly beautiful and especially in spring. I’m so glad I was able to enjoy some of it’s back country!

  26. Great pics and post. I’m so glad you have recovered your health! It makes all the difference, doesn’t it.

    I’m planning a little test of my own on a hike this morning but it won’t be nearly as nice a hike. Flat, muddy and barren trees is what I expect, but I’m doing it for the exercise.

    • Good health does make a huge difference. You should’ve stuck around Phx longer. I wanted to take you on the perfect hike, one that included a stunning photo op. Ah, but the call of the open road had you moving on…. next time 😉

  27. Beautiful photos and such wonderful news as to your progress in a years time….so happy for you! Proud of you as I am sure it was a struggle at times….thank you for sharing

    • Thank you. I was pleasantly surprised I managed that hike rather well. I was a tad nervous that I was attempting a too ambitious of a trail. It turned out to be just the right challenge 🙂

Comments are closed.