Thursday, August 6, 2009

Stanley B Loop - 8/6/09

Today's hike on the Stanley B Loop started out with 9 hikers and had added another 1 at break time. Marilyn hiked fast and hard to catch up after a crazy morning of traffic and dogs. (You'll have to ask her!)

We parked at the small parking lot to the right about a mile up Kyle Canyon Road from the Visitor's Center. Immediately, we were confronted with a mess! Apparently, when this area was hit by a real gully washer 2 1/2 weeks ago, it washed the Stanley B gully right out into the road! The beautiful climb up through the wash was covered in light colored mud. Sticks and limbs were pushed up against trees and boulders were all in disarray. (It ain't what it used to be!) No. The Stanley B Trail has officially changed. It must have been a real sight to see with all that water coming down the wash in torrents.

We took the short route up which includes a small trail which takes off to the left shortly after hitting the main trail section. Upon reaching Marg's "secret garden," otherwise known as the place where the sign for the mining claim hangs high, we saw further devastation to the area. The small bridge which crossed the creek to the left was gone. I believe it was against the huge boulder just below as seen in the picture to the right. Along with the bridge, the water took out all of that greenery that decorated it.

Ann led us up a small trail to the left which climbed up the creek at a steep incline. The wash on this side of the mine was definitely hit the hardest. Boulders were strewn about and water pipes of yesteryear were exposed.

The creek ran at a gentle clip today showing off its new waterfalls and mini-rapids. The sun glistened against the water's surface and the wind kicked up in the treetops above us. A bird chattered like a squeaky wheel as we approached, not warning us away but in a panic as another predatory bird scavenged in her nest. Today was like that. The grim reaper was stalking among us in the mountains this morning. Dogs, birds and someone in Fletcher Canyon, we believe. But the air was cool and we were there to enjoy a hike while the ominous feeling floated in and out.

The final 200 feet of the 1200 foot climb was the steepest and the footing here was loose at best. We finished the climb at the top of the loop where we took in the views and sat for a snack. The blogger hiked on out the promontory point where a 360 degree view of the surrounding area could be seen. A hastily put together panorama was taken and later finished in Photoshop CS2. Yes, it is a rough job but hopefully it shows the grandeur seen from the hilltop.

From left to right, Mummy's Toe, Fletcher Peak, Harris Peak, Griffith Peak, Cockscomb Ridge, and back to Mummy Mtn. and Toe.

After snacking and being joined by Marilyn, we headed down the wash on the other side of the hill. This wash had also been washed out but the destruction was not as bad and we lithely climbed down through it. Eventually, we came to the 3 abandoned lead mines Stanley B is famous for. The rusted metal cans, nails and equipment was still strewn about, however, they had landed in slightly different positions after the flood. Care should be taken when hiking in this area.

Upon returning to Marg's garden, Marg posed in what was left of it. Threatening to return one night with flower seeds in hand, she reluctantly gave in to the change. Don't worry, Marg! The flowers will return! There is still a healthy supply of Columbine and Rough Angelica. Remember: "The birds and the bees, and the flowers and the trees," etc. etc.

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