Twenty-four hikers participated in the 5.5 mile out and back hike along Oak Creek up to the mouth of the large bouldered Oak Creek Canyon. With only 633 feet of total elevation gain, the hike was considered moderate in rating but it did move along and we finished the whole hike in around three hours. Starting at the gravel parking lot found at the end of the Red Rock Canyon Scenic Loop, we followed a horse trail that led towards Potato Knoll at the base of Wilson Peak.
It's nice to hike through the desert at this time of year since it gives us a chance to check on our native plants. This year, all the cacti and yuccas appear to be very plump and "happy." Many of the flowering plants are beginning to bloom and this includes the joshua trees and mojave yuccas, plants that do not bloom every year.
Joshua Tree Bloom
Snack Break at Mouth of Oak Creek Canyon
Mojave Yucca Bloom (T-L), Joshua Tree Bud (T-R),
Joshua Tree Blooms (B-L) and Cactus Wren Nest in Cholla (B-R)
After finding our way from trail junction to trail junction while crossing Oak Creek three times (one time it was dry), we arrived at the mouth of Oak Creek Canyon where further hiking would require scrambling over large boulders. Today's hike was only a trail hike so we stopped here for a snack break. As we sat on the rocks, we watched three rock climbers above us who were scaling the side of Rainbow Peak.
The trail we hiked, today, took us right by Potato Knoll as seen in the foreground of the photo to the right. Millions of years ago, this knoll was formed from a landslide that fell off of Wilson Peak. The indentation that the slide left can be seen on the face of Wilson Peak in the photo.
The return to the cars went quickly and the weather, we noted, was warming up again after a few days of cold wind. It is an early spring this year. Yea!
Return Trip with Calico Hills in Background
Blooming Joshua Tree in Front of Red Rock Escarpment