Saturday, May 25, 2013

Lee Canyon / Mark's Ridge Loop Exploration - 5/25/13

Lee Canyon Wash

Beginning of Lee Canyon Narrows

 Pre-warned that the early Saturday hike would be an exploration into the unknown, ten hardy hikers showed up and traveled out to the Deer Creek Highway & Champion Canyon Road intersection where we parked. We began hiking down Deer Creek Hwy. fifty feet then dropped down into the wash of Lee Canyon below. It was an extremely pleasant cool morning and we hiked down the wash quickly. At about a mile, we crossed Champion Canyon Road and continued down until we arrived at the Classic Cars portion of the hike. Here, we examined the old rusted cars and took a few fun photos.

Classic Cars

Looking Down & Looking Up in Narrows

 Not far after the cars, we came to the Lee Canyon Narrows which is a place where the wash falls into a rock walled crevice. The entrance from the top down was tried but not conquered and the remaining hikers took the trail up and around to come into the narrows from the bottom end. We examined the rock walls complete with ledge seating then moved on down the wash passing a huge cairn that marks the trail that bypasses the narrows.

Small Tree Grows Out of Rock in Narrows

Blooming Claret Cup Cactus

 Our intention, today, was to find a reasonable extension to the normally short Lee Canyon Narrows hike so we continued hiking at a decent pace down the wash that was navigable through the trees and brush. We watched the ridge up to our right as it slowly began dipping down to wash level. Eventually, we wanted to either go up on that ridge or hike around it to the canyon beyond. After three hikers got impatient and decided to climb the ridge early, the seven hikers that were left found a place to surmount the ridge down canyon about a quarter mile.

Mummy's Nose from Mark's Ridge

Cactus Twins

 We climbed a steep slope up to the top of the ridge and had our snack break. From there, we decided to hike the ridge back in the direction of our cars. There was a lot of zigzagging because of brush but there was more and more evidence of wild horses and elk having been in the area. Unfortunately, we never saw any big wildlife before we resorted to blowing our whistle to try and locate the other three hikers. (They were also blowing their whistle but neither of us could hear each other.) So, we never met up with the three capable hikers and we found a horse trail that led down a steep slope back to Lee Canyon right at the narrows.

Three Huge Cairns Marking Trail Across Wash Below Narrows

Up and Around Trail Next to Narrows

 At the wash, we saw three huge cairns marking the trail across the wash to the up and around trail. Interesting. On one cairn, there was a very faded sign. We think it might have said "Mark's Ridge" or something close to that so that's why we named our newly explored ridge "Mark's Ridge." Anyway, from there, we took the trail and wash up to the Champion Canyon Road junction then split up again as three groups had different ideas as to which way they wanted to head back to the cars. When we all got back to the cars (at the same time), it wasn't five minutes when the group of three hikers came hiking down the road with an adventure to talk about all their own! Just over six miles and only 1200 feet of elevation gain for this mostly moderate exploration. And, fun was had by all!

Hiking Up the Wash

Champion Canyon Road Junction

1 comment:

Jodi P said...

I just recently did this hike as well. I poured water on the faded sign and it says "Mark's Piece of Cake" I researched it when I got home and it's listed as an equestrian trail. I want to go back and see if I can follow the whole trail some time.

Jodi P