Monday, September 24, 2012

Cave Springs - 9/24/12

                                  The Cave Springs Area

                               Trail Canyon Trailhead View

It was a very cool morning at the Trail Canyon Trailhead parking area when sixteen hikers arrived to hike up to the ridge. There was a cold wind blowing a narrow cloud bank across the Spring Mountains and most of our hike going up Trail Canyon was in the shade. Jackets were donned or bare arms turned to goose flesh. The seven hikers who planned to continue their hike all the way to Cave Springs took the lead while hoping for a warm-up.

                                Doug Starts the Switchbacks

                                Starting Up the North Loop Trail

Some of the remaining hikers who planned to only hike to the Trail Canyon / North Loop Saddle Junction, turned around before they reached their goal because of the cold wind. The seven Cave Springs hikers plodded ahead after questioning themselves at the saddle. As it turned out, the distance from the saddle to the springs area was the most colorful part of the hike. The aspens, which were still in full color, surrounded the trail here.

                                Springs Dripping Down Rock Wall

                           Springs Water Trough Next to North Loop Trail

The aspens had dropped yellow leaves into the horse trough that lies below the springs. A hose runs from the springs in the caves above down to the trough carrying fresh water for animals. The water is clear and appears fresh enough to drink, however, that might not be a very good idea. We decided against taking a break due to the weather and were soon on our way back down to the cars. It was a quick six mile hike with around 2000 feet of elevation gain.

When we got back to the parking lot, a group of horses and mules were being loaded up for a mule train up to the Cathedral Rock Trail to do trail work. It was fun to watch the two cowboys handle the wary mules. One particular mule seemed to be particularly upset about his lot in life. Since all the mules were already connected, this caused the rest of the mules to be jostled around by that mule. The cowboys seemed to handle the active lot quite well!

                             Hiking Back Through the Aspens

                                Loading Up a Mule Train for Trail Work

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