Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Big Falls / Mary Jane Falls - 8/21/13

Mary Jane Falls

View Out From Cave

 Wednesday's AtBF affair was a combination of the Big Falls and Mary Jane Falls hikes. This hike required two ascents that totaled 1700 feet in elevation gain over 5 miles. Fifteen hikers drove up Kyle Canyon Highway, through the Echo community, and arrived at the Mary Jane Falls trailhead. We set out up the hill on a 3/4 mile approach to the Big Falls / Mary Jane Falls trails split.

Avalanche Canyon

 The trail to Big Falls split off to the left where we crossed over the Avalanche Canyon wash and started up a trail that led through and next to a tumbling wash. Today, there was no water but, in the spring, there is always water and some amount of snow. Around 2/3 of the way up to the cliff corner where Big Falls resides, we needed to take one of two trails that work around an Obstacle Rock. On the ascent, we took the trail that went up through bushes on the left side.

Passing Obstacle Rock on Big Falls Trail

 The wash was strewn with mucho debris of logs and limbs. Add these to the smooth limestone and the hikers had a recipe for something broken. We were all very careful as we picked our way up the canyon and arrived at the cliff corner. We sat for a small break enjoying the cool air and cloud cover. There was not a drop of water coming over the cliff!

Scenes at Big Falls

Taking a Break Below Big Falls

 After our break, we picked our way through the rocks and limbs down canyon. All of this debris was washed over the cliff at some point or another. We used the detour on the other side of the wash for our descent and it was a slippery doozy! Again, we managed to escape injury.

Descent From Big Falls

 After crossing Avalanche Canyon wash at the bottom of the Big Falls wash, we turned left onto an old dirt road-like trail that was at first covered with more log debris. Eventually, we found a trail on the road that led steeply and straight up to the base of Mary Jane Falls where we took a longer break. A few of the hikers took a side trip over to the nearby cave for a look-see.

Ascending Original Mary Jane Falls Trail

 Mary Jane Falls is a great destination for a hike but, usually, there are many other people on this trail. Today, we saw just a few other hikers and our stay at the falls was very pleasant. From there, we made our final descent down the newest trail for the falls that has several switchbacks to aid the throngs of hikers that visit this area throughout the year ... even in the snow. We continued down the approach trail from the trail junction excitedly talking about our next out of town trip!

Scenes at Mary Jane Falls

Descending Switchbacks of Newest Mary Jane Falls Trail

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