Saturday, January 24, 2009

White Owl Canyon - 1/24/09

This foggy morning, 23 hikers gathered at the Henderson Fiesta. Some lost their way in the thick fog as they made their way there. We travelled by carpools to "33 Hole" on Lakeshore Drive where we came to this beautiful overlook with the fog quickly dissipating away from the lake.

The White Owl Canyon Trailhead is located on the "33 Hole" turnoff on the first turnout to the left. The hikers immediately climbed down a steep embankment that was once the lake bed and hiked out onto the former bottom of the lake where there are still many mussel shells strewn about.

As we rounded the old shoreline made of sandstone and caliche we passed by this brittlebush plant that was in full bloom ... in January! We, then, made our way to a canyon akin to a slot canyon with 20 to 30 foot walls of water-rounded rock on each side.

The canyon was very interestingly shaped with many shelves and mini-caves where birds have made their nests. We saw much evidence of big-horn sheep and, later on, burros in the area.

The most fascinating attraction within the lake canyon was an owl's nest high on a shelf. No one was home so we continued looking for the occupant(s) as we hiked up the canyon, through two culverts that were approximately 20 feet in diameter, and on out into the desert wash that leads to the dry lake finger we had just hiked through.

While out in the wash, we spotted two big owls flying high in the sky. The group split into two and 13 hikers continued up the wash to explore the area and extend their exercise for the morning. The longest distance that anyone hiked this morning was a little over four miles.

The first group returned back through the culverts first and the second group followed about a half hour later. The most difficult part of the morning was the return climb up the final hill which we had descended in the beginning. Luckily, the recent rains had moistened the earth and the steep hill was not slippery.

We all enjoyed this hike that Ann and John led for us and hope to make it a regular hike in the coming years.

1 comment:

Rebuilding Community Int'l said...

Gorgeous photos. Just learned about your group, and intend to join you.

Jan Woodruff
Budding Hiker-Photographer