Friday, April 3, 2009

Blue Diamond Canyons - 4/2/09

Six hearty hikers arrived to hike the Blue Diamond Canyons located across from the little town of Blue Diamond. Just before we stopped to park we saw five burros on the side of the road (Hwy. 159). We saw a lot of evidence that they frequented the canyons where we hiked.

After crawling through the barb wire fence, we entered the canyon and began climbing. The canyon is filled with rock, barrel cactus, yuccas and various other cacti such as hedge hog and chollas. Other delightful assets of these canyons were the many dry waterfalls. Some waterfalls were easily scrambled up. Some waterfalls required some thought before scrambling and a few required rope!

The six of us were very excited to be on this hike which had not been scheduled for a couple of years. Times of other hikes in these canyons were remembered. Bob and Patti were mentioned several times and then there was the dying owl story. (One time they came upon a dying owl which could not be saved at one of the dry waterfalls. The next time they came through, only a talon was left.) The three pictures below are self-explanatory. What a great hike!

When we reached the top of the first canyon, we could see the landscape of the leftover mining operation. A big wall of loose rock covered the hillside and an old tractor tire had fallen into the ravine where we were. We climbed out to the left and traversed the desert overlooking the Red Rock Escarpment. With a little searching, we found the other canyon we would use to go back down. We were immediately faced with more dry waterfalls, most of which were negotiated with Around the Bend Friends aplomb.

The last waterfall was definitely the most difficult. It was basically a ten foot drop with little to aid in the task of getting down it. We used the handy rope and each of us managed in our own way to get down. To the right, you see Howard preparing his descent with rope in hand. We all survived this last challenge and proceeded down through the rest of the canyon which was now filled with brush. This part of the hike was, perhaps, the most tiring and the hike as a whole gave the body a complete workout.

The GPS was not available but it is estimated that this hike was 3 to 4 miles with approximately 500 feet of elevation gain. By the way, the day was gorgeous!

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