Saturday, May 18, 2013

Stanley B / Fletcher Canyon Loop - 5/18/13

Small Canyon in Upper Fletcher Canyon

View of Mummy's Toe from Saddle

 Stanley B / Fletcher Canyon Loop is a 6 mile loop hike that begins at the Fletcher Canyon Trail parking lot on Kyle Canyon Road, follows the road up to the Stanley B trailhead, climbs to the mines in Stanley B Canyon and continues up its wash to the saddle on the ridge above. From there, the hiker follows a series of washes and trails before the route dips into Fletcher Canyon about a half mile up the wash from the Obstacle Rock rabbit hole.

Stanley B Mine Area Photos

Starting Up the Wash Above the Mine Area

 Ten hikers arrived for this picturesque hike on the early outing into the Spring Mountains NRA. We warmed up our lungs on the gentle slope of Kyle Canyon Road and crossed over to the trail that leads up to the old lead mine area. We stopped for our first break at the mine and noted the new signage and barred gate at the mine entrance that has spring water coming out of it. By preventing hikers from entering this mine, bats that have made the hole their home are protected. That's okay. We need bats.

One of Several Interesting Obstacles in the Wash

Why is Mike so far behind Maria?

 Next, we had to tackle the climb to the ridge via the wash that ran up beside the mines. It is quite a climb and has several obstacles in the way of fallen trees and small rock cliffs. The humid air was strongly felt as we sweated our way up. Above us, dark clouds floated by. Finally at the top, most of our hardest work was done and there was a slight chill in the air. We sat for a snack break enjoying the views of Mummy's Toe and Cockscomb Peak.

Saddle Between Stanley B and Fletcher Canyon

Starting Down a Wash Toward Fletcher Canyon

 When we began again, the initial trail led down a very steep wash. At the bottom of this, we connected with a small easy trail leading left over to another nearby wash filled with gravel. This wash took us down until we ran into a non-negotiable high waterfall. This is where another small trail led off to the left. But, this trail (seen to the right) became very steep very quick as we dropped down around the cliff area and into Fletcher Canyon proper. Here is where we found water! There was a small but decent amount of water flow in the wash until we reached the slot above Obstacle Rock.

Interesting Up and Around to Avoid a Waterfall in Fletcher Canyon

Fletcher Canyon Scenery

 Once we arrived in Fletcher Canyon, the scenery exploded with water, cliffs, limestone, waterfalls, greenery and more fallen trees. The hike through this area is one of the Spring Mountains' most beautiful and is embellished with the sound of flowing water. The trail here is fairly clear as it crosses the stream several times. At last and too soon, we arrived in the Fletcher Canyon narrows above Obstacle Rock. As the choreography requires, we let down our packs and hiking sticks to hikers below then let ourselves down through the slippery polished rabbit hole between a great big rock (Obstacle Rock)  and a hard place (the canyon wall).

Sunlight Between Dark Walls

Obstacle Rock Before, During and After

 There are rocks and a log built up beneath the hole which allows even the shortest of hikers to slip through the hole without a problem then we gathered our belongings and continued out the narrows. From there, we hiked the rest of the way out the Fletcher Canyon Trail to Kyle Canyon Road where our cars were parked. The coolness in the air, the early start time of 7am and the camaraderie of the hikers made the hike seem short. It is a very pleasant hike with the most challenges being the 1800 feet of elevation gain in Stanley B Canyon, and the two very steep sections of trail on the descent. The route could also use a little clean up.

Hiking Out on Fletcher Canyon Trail

A Dead Tree Flower

No comments: