Saturday, July 24, 2010

South Kyle Canyon Loop - 7/24/10

Ann led twenty- eight hikers through a wonderful maze of trails in the upper portions of southern Kyle Canyon today. She began our hike at the Cathedral Rock parking area where we found a spur trail to the Cathedral Picnic Area. We hiked through the picnic area keeping to the right until the end where we hiked straight out of the paved road.

We followed a trail until it connected with part of the Rainbow Loop Trail, then followed it until it reached the South Loop Trail. Climbing upward, we zigzagged to another trail junction and hung a left at the corner of a switchback. We were now immediately above the area of forest which burned as the "Cathedral Fire" a few weeks ago. Our consensus was that the fire men and women did a wonderful job and the area was not in total devastation.

At the peak of our climb of approximately 700 feet, we sat at the overlook which is also used for the Rainbow Loop hike and had a snack. The Echo community, Mt. Charleston Peak and the end of Kyle Canyon could be seen from our perch.

The first photo was taken from here and the photo below was taken from a point a little further down from the peak of this knoll.

At the end of our break, we continued hiking by circling around the knoll on which we had rested. At this point of the hike, we were actually going through the upper part of the burned area. We finally realized that the bright red rock strewn about was caused by fire retardant that had been dropped by helicopters that weekend of the fire. Charred trees that still smelled like an old campfire were on both sides of the trail. The majority of the black trees were below us but the interesting thing was that not every tree was a lost cause. The forest will live on!

We reconnected with the South Loop and took that trail all the way back to the Cathedral Picnic Area. From there, five of us took the Cathedral Rock trail back to its trailhead while the other hikers headed down the paved road. This hike, today, was a distance of just under 4 miles in 2.5 hours.

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