Every time one hikes the Fletcher Canyon trail up to Obstacle Rock, the trail offers a new beauty. The canyon changes with the seasons and today, the canyon was dry and naturally lit with a warm sun. Thirty- one hikers enjoyed the four mile canyon hike one more time before fall arrives. Much of the hike was adorned with angelica flowers as seen in the last photo of this entry.
We began at the Fletcher Canyon trailhead located on the right side of Kyle Canyon Road just before the Visitor Center. The trail heads into the canyon along a fairly flat climb for around 1.5 miles before entering a slot area with walls around fifty feet tall on both sides. Travelling around the base of Fletcher Peak on the right side of the canyon, we easily worked our way through the slot that is sometimes filled with snow and/or a flowing stream of snowmelt.
We took our break at Obstacle Rock and one hiker decided to climb through the rabbit hole. She excitedly re-emerged with us down below. She had seen a sample of the wonders of upper Fletcher Canyon where there is even more beauty than below. Eventually, the short morning had to begin the return. There were a lot of people in the canyon (i.e. babies, dogs, families, young couples and even a few people our age), so we needed to make room for the next hikers to enjoy the large boulders on which we sat. The hike came to a close after a mere 2.5 hours.
Marg and Guy led twelve hikers on an all- but- forgotten hike today to the horse trough above the Telephone Canyon dirt road in conjunction with the smaller hike up to Robber's Roost. This was a hike that had not been done within the club for at least a couple of years. It is a short hike of 3.25 miles yet it contains a net elevation gain of around 1200 feet. We parked at the Robber's Roost trailhead and headed down into Telephone Canyon. Connecting with the dirt road, we decided to fore go the obliged visit to the old workers' cabin and took the left fork down to a campsite off the road to the left.
Turning at the campsite, we began our climb on a rather steep trail that leads to a ridge below Angel Peak ... (the one with the big white thing on top). Around 2/3 of the way up to the ridge, we found the horse trough. Actually, there were two horse troughs sitting side by side lengthwise being fed by a drippy pipe from a small spring just above. We took a small break here then continued up the steep hill until we reached the ridge. On the way up, the views of the mountains across Deer Creek Hwy were fabulous. Across the way, we could see Hummingbird Gulch and Robber's Roost below Mummy's Toe.
At the ridge, we turned to the left again and began winding our way around the hillside on a very pleasant trail until we reached the old road that served the same route as Deer Creek Hwy does now. We followed the old dirt road until we got back to where we had descended from the Robber's Roost parking lot.
As we climbed back onto the black top, rabbitbrush surrounded us near full bloom. We crossed the road and began our climb up to Robber's Roost. The story goes that certain disreputable characters would hole up in this box slot canyon in the large caves (The Roost). These people would ambush travelers (mostly Mormon settlers) as they came by and demanded their valuables (The Robbers). The climb up to the caves is steep and full of rock steps, however, there is a trail that leads up to the top which turns to the left off of the rocky trail. This trail contains one long switchback and is a much easier way to get to the end of the canyon.
A few of the hikers, today, explored the newly discovered switchback trail while others sat at the caves and had a snack break. There were rock climbers at the top and when asked if they were the "robbers" they replied, "Yeah. And, this is our roost! Give us your jewelry!" On the middle of the trail, hard rock music emanated from a music contraption and climbers' equipment was strewn about. Sort of different from the days of wagons and trail robbers, huh?
Saturday morning's hike on the South Loop was quickly diverted when a sign was seen on the South Loop trail on a previous hike that said, due to trail maintenance, anyone setting foot on the trail would have to pay a $275 fine. After doing some calculations, ... we decided to change the hike to Telephone Canyon. So, eighteen hikers jumped into five cars for a point to point hike starting at Robber's Roost on Highway 158. We began the downhill hike with one of the steeper sections. After no more than around a third of a mile, we came upon the old log cabin which was probably once used when the telephone lines were begin strung in and around the canyon we were entering into.
Telephone Canyon actually holds a network of trails that are used mainly by bicyclists and horseback riders. For us, it is easy to simply follow the trails that go downhill. However, the bikers and horses utilize self made trail markers made mostly of rusted tin cans stuck on limbs of the surrounding juniper and pinion pine trees. During our 3.7 miles of hiking today, we spent at least 2 miles in the woods with a fairly nice breeze. As we reached the openess of the last 1.5 miles, the sun beamed harshly onto our faces. With about .75 miles to go, we junctioned with the dirt road that would take us out to Highway 157 where the drivers would leave the group to gather their cars that were left at Robber's Roost.
Nine nifty hikers came out for the Mummy Springs Loop hike, a tough little five miler that travels to the springs near the base of the cliffs of Mummy's Toe. Parking the cars at the North Loop trailhead, we turned to begin our hike by heading down Deer Creek Hwy to the northwest. Soon we came upon a dirt road leading up beside Deer Creek and to the summer cabins above.
We continued hiking straight up beside the creek at the point where the dirt road took a sharp turn away from the creek to the right. There is a reasonably clear trail here that goes up through the wash and takes a diagonal turn to the right up a steep section of Mummy Mountain and junctions with the new Mummy's Toe Trail. This portion of the hike is the old route used to get up to Mummy's Toe. Now, the North Loop is the preferred route.
This steep section of the loop hike provides a couple of nice views. One is of Mummy's Toe above. The other view, as seen in the photo to the left, is of the desert floor through Deer Creek Canyon. The terrain, here, is rocky with interesting trees of many shapes all around. We finally arrived at the new Mummy's Toe trail and turned left. Shortly, we found ourselves at Mummy Springs where another hiker who had arrived before us sat in reverie.
We climbed up to the springs which were running lightly down on the bunches of columbine and moss; took our photos and spoke to the other hiker for a moment. Then we continued on our way up to Raintree where we took our break and had our snack. The weather was warm but there was a nice cool breeze at Raintree coming up from the Kyle Canyon side of the ridge.
After the break, we began hiking on the North Loop Trail and would take this trail down to the finish. Throughout the pleasant hike, we stayed together as a group and took several small breaks. Still, we finished the hike in just a little over three hours, ... not bad for a 1650 foot climb in elevation.
The writer is happy to be back on the trails albeit a little out of condition. Every day is a good day on the trails!
This Tuesday's "super hike" began at the Cathedral Rock trailhead. Larry D. describes the hike in the next paragraph. Larry also gives us these photos of the hike. Most of the photos were taken when the hike finally reached the South Loop Trail. The writer suspects that the steep climb up to the trail was not very conducive to photo taking as the going was quite tough. The hike climbed around 3000 elevation feet and was around seven miles in length.
We started at the Cathedral Rock Staircase Trailhead, proceeded up to the manhole at Upper Little Falls Spring, went up the very steep ridge along a big avalanche chute to the cliff line, skirted around the bottom of the cliff, climbed up the hill forming the cliff, traversed slightly to the east (still climbing steep terrain) until we reached a saddle between a minor peak and the main ridge where we could see the main ridge-line between Griffith and Charleston, then traversed up another hundred feet more to a saddle on the ridge where we found the South Loop Trail. We followed that trail back to the starting point.