Friday, July 27, 2012

Upper Kyle Canyon Drainage - 7/27/12

                             Sculpture outside a home in Old Towne.

                                Cathedral Rock from Echo Trailhead

 The hike today was a four mile downhill pleasant stroll starting at the Echo Trail parking lot off of Echo Road a short distance from Kyle Canyon Road. Twenty-one hikers started down the Kyle Canyon drainage that runs parallel to the highway and went under the bridge that services cars going up to the Cathedral Rock trailhead. Our drop in elevation for the morning would be around 900 feet.

 Utilizing different trails and old forest roads, we made our way down toward Old Towne, one of the residential sections of Kyle Canyon. Before we entered the small group of old interesting homes, we passed by a small cinder block building with rebar for windows. It is nestled right next to the paved highway yet camouflaged enough to be hidden from drivers. We explored the little building and went on our way.

                                Another interesting addition to a home in Old Towne.

We hiked down the road in Old Towne where there were many interesting mountain homes. At the end of the dirt road, there was a school where a small number of very lucky children are taught in the elementary grades. After the school, there is a short informational trail hoping to help the residents there to be prepared for possible forest fires and diseased pine trees; two hazards that are surely important to the people living there.

                                Taking a break at the campground.

 We connected with part of the Rainbow Loop trail, passed Rainbow, then entered into the first campground where we took a snack and bathroom break. To the west, we could see Mt. Charleston towering behind the campground in the distance. As we continued down behind the Visitor Center, we entered the drainage itself. It is here that we found the St. John's Wort yellow flowers as seen in the photo below.

                                Flowers of St. John's Wort

It is a shrubby perennial plant with bright yellow flowers. St. John's wort was named because the flowers were said to bloom for the first time around June 24, the birthday of St. John the Baptist. The word "wort" means "plant" in Old English.
St. John’s wort has long been used as a folk remedy for emotional disorders. It was once thought to rid the body of evil spirits. St. John’s wort has also been used for wound healing and for a variety of other conditions. ~ Cathy Wong ~

As we approached the second campground, we could not help but notice the dreaded orange construction fence blocking our way. For some hikers, this was not a deterrent. However, there is a $275 fine for those who are caught beyond the fence and some hikers decided to go up to the road to pass the fenced area. The scheduled date of completion for the updated campground is December 31, 2013.

 The drainage went from a twenty foot wide wash to a fifty foot wide wash after the second campground. We hiked down this part as the sun was getting very warm on our shoulders. Soon, we connected with the old Mt. Charleston golf course which no longer appears as such. There was a steep paved uphill path here that led us to the parking lot of the Mt. Charleston Resort & Hotel. We gathered our cars that were placed for a point to point hike and returned home.

                                Approaching the Mt. Charleston Resort & Hotel

                                Sculpture outside the Mt. Charleston Resort & Hotel.

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