Saturday, August 14, 2010

Rainbow Loop - 8/14/10

There were thirty-six hikers at the parking garage this morning. We added three more at the Visitor's Center in the Spring Mountains on Kyle Canyon Road. And, one more hiker joined us as we passed through the Fletcher View Campground. Sometimes it takes an accountant (i.e. Chris) to figure out how many people to keep up with! From the Visitor's Center, we hiked through the campground and out the other side as we continued to the Rainbow Community entrance. Continuing a bit further up the Kyle Canyon drainage, we stopped for a break just before the trail took a turn upward.

At this point, the large group of forty divided in half. One half returned to their cars for a three mile out and back hike. The other half continued up the hill to do the full Rainbow Loop of six miles with 1100 feet of elevation gain. The trail passed by the Cathedral Rock Picnic Area and part of the burn area from a couple of months ago. We saw the old shelter on the side of the trail and met up with the South Loop Trail. After hiking a short distance on the South Loop Trail, we turned left onto a trail which led to a small summit above Rainbow where we stopped for our snack break.

After seeing views of Mummy's Toe Peak, as seen in the photo above, for most of the first half of the hike, we could now see Mt. Charleston and Cathedral Rock, as seen in the first photo, from our purchase at the break. Afterwards, we began our descent on a small woodland trail that all of us agreed is the best part of the hike. It leads down through the trees on a soft dirt path and ends at a weather station in the forest above Rainbow. As we hiked through the shade, one hiker noticed the "Oregon Grapes," as seen in the last photo, on the side of the path. He ate a few and passed some around. They were ripe but tart. We decided to leave the rest of them for the birds!

When we reached the Rainbow residential section, the trail lead down the road past beautiful summer homes and cabins. The police patrolled the neighborhood as we sauntered along not stopping to admire any one house for too long. We reached the Kyle Canyon drainage at the entrance to Rainbow and returned to our cars by again passing through the campground. The weather was warm and the hike was completed at a leisurely pace.

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