Thursday, February 25, 2010

La Madre Spring, Cabin, Mine & Above - 2/25/10

There were seventeen hikers this morning who parked at the Willow Springs Picnic Area off of the Red Rock Scenic Loop and started hiking up Rocky Gap Road. At the La Madre Wilderness sign, we turned right onto a trail that used to be another road. Passing two old home foundations out of the 1930's or 40's, we soon found ourselves at the spring pool where a lot of bamboo grew in the area. The word is that this is the "coffee house" many mornings for big horn sheep.

We continued up a smaller and steeper trail which followed the spring water for a distance. At the top of an approximate 1200 foot climb (and 2.34 miles), we came upon the old miner's shelter. It was still decorated for Christmas with ornaments and tinsel.

Here, we took a break and split into two groups. One group stayed and waited at the cabin; the other group climbed the even steeper hill up to the mines, perhaps another 200 feet of elevation gain. At the mine, we saw that it was a large horizontal tunnel that a person of average stature can easily walk into for a distance. At this point, we, again, split into two groups. One group began their descent back to the cars; the other group of two decided to climb up the hill even further.

The point of the last climb was to locate and learn the trail up to the ridge where a viewpoint of Kyle Canyon in the Spring Mountain Recreation Area can be attained. The hill became steeper again but after about a quarter mile, the views became breath-taking. There was snow in the upper altitudes of the mountains all around us. The trail was not travelled often but it was marked by many cairns.

We reached the first ridge after climbing a critical point in the wall which fortressed the top.

Climbing through a lot of brush that had fallen with the rains, and losing the trail and finding it again a few times, we hiked to a point where we could clearly see the following ridge. The final ridge above us was still another thirty minutes away and we decided it was for another day when a longer hike was planned. Still, nothing ventured, nothing gained and this was a part of the La Madre Wilderness that was worth exploring.

When the last two hikers returned to their cars, the GPS read 5.64 miles for a four hour hike up around 1800 feet of elevation. The weather was beautiful with a little nip in the air.

This elevation graph represents the climb to the cabin only.

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