Follow Me On Twitter

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

PERALTA CANYON

PERALTA CANYON Superstition Wilderness The blistering heat of summer kicks the Sonoran desert into survival mode. During daytime, the sun’s heat sends critters scurrying for cover, wilts foliage and mutes the songs of insects and birds. Yet, under the resurrecting respite of darkness, the desert transforms into a hauntingly beautiful hiking destination. This year, the Full Buck Moon*—which will emerge within minutes of sunset—will rise on the weekend of July 28th. Although lunar glow is surprisingly bright, night hiking in the desert is still risky business. That’s why it’s smart to select familiar trails for post-sunset treks. For Valley hikers, one of the most intriguing nighttime destinations is the popular Peralta Canyon trail near Apache Junction. Moonlight bathes the jagged hoodoos that hover above this well-worn local path in an unforgettable, dreamy mauve and ocher haze. As dusk creeps through the canyons, the fragrance of night-blooming cacti--accompanied by a serenade of crickets and frogs—rides on the sultry desert air. If you begin hiking around sunset, you’ll reach the Fremont Saddle—the turnaround point for the hike--in time to witness the celestial dance of twilight as it fades to black. On the craggy saddle, in the embrace of utter darkness, the sight of the moon drifting across the night sky beguiles the senses as it drags an eerie cloak of lunar light over the desert canyon below. *In folklore, July’s full moon is named to celebrate the budding of new antlers on deer and elk. It’s also known as the Full Thunder Moon or Full Hay Moon. Source: Farmers Almanac LENGTH: 4.5 miles round-trip (out-and-back hike to the Fremont saddle) RATING: moderate ELEVATION GAIN: 1,400 feet GETTING THERE: From Phoenix, take US 60 east to about 8 miles past Apache Junction and look for the “Peralta Trailhead” sign on the side of the road. Turn left onto Peralta Road (Forest Road 77) and drive 8 miles to the trailhead. Information: fs.fed.us/r3/tonto/wilderness/superstition Information about sunset & moonrise dates, visit: spacearchive.info/moonrise-moonset-phoenix.txt