Saturday, July 17, 2010

Cathedral Rock - 7/17/10

Twenty-eight hikers showed up for the Cathedral Rock hike this morning; a three mile hike with 900 feet of elevation gain.

The hike begins near the Mt. Charleston Lodge which is near the end of Highway 157 in Kyle Canyon. We hiked up the steps and turned left after everyone was informed about where the sign-out sheet would be placed. The hike immediately began climbing and it wasn't long before we became quite spread out.

The trail leads through the aspens which are covering the hillside where the 2005 avalanche occurred. These trees are growing fast and color the hill emerald green. Some of us visited Echo Falls which is found just off the trail to the left going up. The lightly falling water was decorated with young lovers today! Anywho ... we continued up to a shady area above Cathedral Falls where two of our hikers scaled the side of the hill to get pictures. After that, we did the final climb to the overlook at Cathedral Rock.

Above is a photo which shows some of the damage done by the recent forest fire named the Cathedral Fire. Below is the beautiful scene to the other side of the rock showing a partially cloudy day over Mt. Charleston.

We were very spread out and it is safe to say that we were all over that rock! But everyone made it to the top and enjoyed the climb. After snacking and trying to avoid the aggressive ground squirrels and chipmunks (yes, both species were co-existing on the rock), we began our trek back to the bottom.

One hiker, okay it was me, asked Chris about a trail to the bottom of Cathedral Falls. "It's not hard," he said, so off we went. There were five of us.

Originally, this trail was nothing more than a small little used path. Then, after the 2005 avalanche which closed off much of the regular trail, this trail was used to gain access to the top of the rock.

Now, few people use the trail ... and, I think I know why! It wasn't very long in distance to get to the bottom of the beautiful falls seen in the photo to the left. However, it was definitely steep and slippery. We huffed and puffed our way up, sidelining one of our adventurous cohorts on the way. Finally, we made it to the falls and, yes, it was an exceptional waterfall.

We took our pictures and discussed whether we would continue up to the regular trail or go back the way we came. We decided to return the same way and we skied down the loose dirt and rock. About halfway down the little trail, we found another even smaller trail to our right which led back to the regular trail for Cathedral Rock.

Our small side trip may have been 2/3 of a mile up and back.

When we returned to the starting point, some of our hikers were still up on the Little Falls trail. This blogger decided a picture of Little Falls would be a nice addition to this entry so off she went. Little Falls is beautiful in its own right and is certainly worth the small 1/2 mile jaunt up the hill in the opposite direction of the Cathedral Rock trail.

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