Saturday, March 13, 2010

Echo Canyon / Fossil Ridge - 3/13/10

Twenty- two hikers braved the breezy morning for a hike up Echo Canyon and down Fossil Ridge. Although the schedule only named Fossil Ridge, a decision was made to also hike Echo Canyon which provided a way to avoid some of the wind. We parked at the horse corral parking area and hiked in past the horses which were all saddled up and ready for an excursion of their own.

We hiked into Echo Canyon which is found past the upper corrals and to the right. It is a beautiful canyon with very many red barrels, yuccas, joshua trees and chollas. They are backdropped by the dark igneous rock of the canyon walls. There is a small bit of scrambling involved in going up the canyon and some parts were a little brushy. A couple of signs of spring were sighted; a few small purple flowers and one tiny caterpillar cocoon.

We rested at the top of the canyon then started the hike back down via Fossil Ridge which is found directly above Echo Canyon to the right as you go uphill. This is where the wind was the worst since we were hiking exposed on top of the ridge. Finally, we dropped down to a lower trail which provided protection from the wind. There were beautiful views of the canyon below and Red Rock NCA across the highway where we were headed.

The long line of horses were crossing the landscape as we came out of the canyon into the area where the echos, for which the canyon is named, are the strongest. We all yelled and whistled at the opposite canyon wall and were thrilled when the sound came back to us with clarity. We returned to our cars with 4.4 miles under our belts. Total elevation gain was around 700 feet.

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