Thursday, August 26, 2010

Trail Canyon (not to Raintree!) - 8/26/10

As sixteen hikers gathered to hike today, the mugginess in the air and the 40% chance of rain in the mountains set the tone for a hike that might not be what we had planned! When we arrived at the Trail Canyon trailhead in the Echo community of Kyle Canyon, the sky was blue, however, this is the way the monsoon season acts. The rain clouds have a tendency to come rolling over the ridge out of nowhere.

We climbed Trail Canyon making good time with several stops along the way to re-gather the group. This way, the hikers could climb at their own pace yet stay within shouting distance of all the other hikers. For safety purposes, we try to stay together.

About two-thirds of the way up to the saddle, we noticed a large cave up to the right located just under Cockscomb Ridge. Two hikers decided to investigate and Carl got the following picture of the twenty foot deep cave that held someone's sleeping mat inside it.

From the cave, the two hikers decided to hike directly up the mountain and meet us as we hiked the switchbacks to that point. From there, we could see two interesting things: one, Mt. Charleston appeared in full view beyond the surrounding trees with a backdrop of beautiful blue sky, and, two, from the opposite direction, black clouds were beginning to make their appearance.

We continued our methodical climb and reached the saddle for a break. The saddle is a junction of Cockscomb Ridge Trail, Trail Canyon and the North Loop Trail. Our original plan was to continue on the North Loop Trail until we got to Raintree where we would be making our approach from the south. However, the black clouds were not stalling.

As the group rested at the saddle, the blogger hiked up the Cockscomb Ridge Trail for just fifty feet for some photos of the amazing distant views around us. Fletcher Canyon could be seen below on one side and Mt. Charleston could be seen on the other.

Suddenly, CRASH BOOM BANG !!! Thunder had arrived. And, yes, this meant that so did lightening. As the blogger took her last photo of Cockscomb Ridge as seen above, she hurried down off of the overlook. Votes were already being taken to abort the intended hike because of the open exposure we would have been experiencing next on the North Loop.

It was almost unanimous (Don wanted to continue!) to abort and we soon began heading back down the mountain. Small droplets of rain began to fall, however, this was the extent of the wet stuff that we experienced. The thunder and lightening continued with more frequency and we made very good time getting off of the mountain! When we arrived at the bottom (photo below), the road was wet. When we got back to Highway 95 and looked behind us, Kyle Canyon was engulfed in rain. We enjoyed our little climb up Trail Canyon and were, also, thankful that we had escaped the deluge.

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