Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fern Canyon - 10/29/11

Fern Canyon is found on the right side of Mescalito Peak which is that pointy mountain in the center of Pine Creek Canyon off of the scenic loop of Red Rock Canyon NCA. Twenty- one hikers from the Around the Bend Friends hiked up Fern Canyon all the way to the waterfall that was dripping steadily on the rocks below.

Fern Canyon is a beautiful canyon to explore in the autumn season. Yellow leaves are frequent and the water level in the wash is low making the scramble up much easier to decipher. After stopping by the old Wilson homestead,we continued on through the floor of Pine Creek Canyon. Then we climbed up the right side of the canyon a short way to find the entrance to Fern Canyon. Reaching the running water, we began scrambling up beside the left wall of the canyon for most of the first half. The scenery was so lush that we had the feeling that we were no longer in the desert!

The ferns are found about halfway up the canyon and today they were large and healthy. As we ventured further into the canyon, the pools of water became deeper and the water was not apparently moving. Some of the landmarks along the trail are "vibram sole rock," "Jacob's Ladder," and "right side shelves 1 & 2." During the last third of the scramble, the water disappeared all together. We didn't see it again until we reached the thirty foot waterfall at the end.

When we reached the waterfall, around ten of us climbed up to the top where the view is great and there is a very picturesque pool area as seen in the first photo. We took our break here then returned to the cars in four groups. Three of the groups returned the way we came while one group took a small side trip up the right side of Pine Creek Canyon. It was a beautiful day for the 4.5 mile hike.

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