Saturday, August 18, 2012

Mary Jane Falls - 8/18/12

                                Columbine flowers at Mary Jane Falls.

                           Peering out from the cave near Mary Jane Falls.

 The Mary Jane Falls trail is perhaps the most recreationally used trail in the Spring Mountains NRA. It is located at the end of Kyle Canyon off of Echo Road and leads out from a newly renovated parking lot. Today, a Saturday, twenty-six hikers from the Around the Bend Friends were joined by many other hikers of all sizes and shapes including young short people (kids) and many four legged people (dogs). Liz was making her debut as a hike coordinator and she did a great job trying to keep up with our hikers who hiked at several different tempos.

 The hike up to the falls begins on an easy slope for almost a mile. Taking a right turn onto the adjacent hill, we then began switchbacking up to complete a climb in elevation of around 900 feet. The last switchback meets a wall of limestone and several steps are used on the trail to take the hiker the rest of the way up.

                                Interesting geologic formation above Big Falls.

During the climb on the switchbacks, the hiker can see across the canyon to the wall on the other side. In the vicinity of Big Falls, the limestone wall is fraught with interesting formations that occurred at the time this area was "built" many millions (or zillions) of years ago.

                                Trail along the wall nearing the falls.

 Upon reaching the large area where Mary Jane Falls flows down off of the cliffs above, we settled in for a snack break. There were many other hikers enjoying the rain free morning and there were about three areas where the falls wet the rock walls. Also prominent was an indentation or rock ledge between the flowing waters.

 Several hikers took an extra adventure over to the large cave found on around the wall curvature. There is a nice view out Kyle Canyon from the opening. As we sat enjoying our break, the rain clouds came moving in as if on queue. Time to hike back down to our cars. Only sprinkles touched our heads during the descent, however, looking back to the mountains as we drove into the garage, we saw that rain had engulfed the four miles we had just hiked.

                                The cave as seen from Mary Jane Falls.

                                     Heading back down the trail.

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