Sunday, August 11, 2013

Stanley B & Beyond - 8/11/13

Cockscomb Peak from Ridge Above Stanley B

Lower Kyle Canyon View from Turnaround Point

 Seven adventurous Sunday Strollers arrived at the Stanley B Trailhead parking turnout, this morning, for an exploratory hike up to the Stanley B Mine and Beyond. By the end, we will have hiked the Stanley B Trail, the Stanley B Loop, half of the Stanley B / Fletcher Canyon hike and a small portion of the ridge that divides Fletcher Canyon and the Stanley B Mine area. The trailhead is located on Kyle Canyon Highway on the right not far past the Rainbow Community where a large wash empties from the regions above.

 We stepped out into the cool air (which would not stay cool) and began hiking up the wash on a trail that soon brought us up to a wider trail, the old mining dirt road. Taking the old road trail up to the right, we found the shortcut trail to the left at the top of a small rise. We took the shortcut trail, connected with the mining road trail again then finished the approach to the mine area.

Two Springs, An Air Hole, & a Sign at the Stanley B Mine Area

 Taking breaks as we went, we turned to the left fork at the Leroy Mine sign. This is following the Stanley B Loop hike. We passed two spring pipes and a mining air hole as we followed the trail that led up the wash. When we got to an open area with a few fallen trees, we began looking up to our right for an easier route up to the ridge. Finally, the wash trail petered out. We turned to our right and up we went.

Don Does Hiking Yoga

 Although the climb here was steep and filled with loose rock, it was evident that we were not the first ones to take this route. We followed old foot steps up and around and up. Then, finally, we reached a small ridge. At first, we thought we had reached our target. But, alas, it was not so. In hindsight, we had only reached the small overlook ridge on the Stanley B Loop hike.

 From here, we crossed over, climbed up, crossed over some more and descended into the right fork wash of the Stanley B. When we hit the trail that led up the wash, we knew where we were and we continued climbing until we got to the top of the ridge above. Mummy's Toe whispered down to us saying, "This is the ridge you wanted!" ... Okay, he really didn't whisper.

Overlook Ridge Above Stanley B Mine

Mummy's Toe from Ascent to Main Ridge
 After another small rest, we turned to our right and began following a very feint trail along the ridge. At first, the trail was clear enough and there was not too much brush.

Main Ridge
 (Top L - Group Hiking Along Main Ridge, Top R - Ridge Past Turnaround Point, Bottom L - Mummy's Toe and Fletcher Peak from Turnaround Point, Bottom R - One of Several Large Strawberry Hedgehog Cacti on Ridge)

 However, it wasn't long before the trail all but disappeared and the brush became quite thick and uncomfortable. When we realized that the ridge was about to take a dive, all together, we decided that we had gone far enough. We stopped for our break at a point where we had somewhat of a view into lower Kyle Canyon and over to the Mummy's Toe and Fletcher Peak curvature.

After a nice relaxing break in the forest far from the hubbub of Las Vegas, we got back on our feet and began our return along the ridge. We found the saddle where the right fork wash trail climbs up to the ridge and turned to our left to begin our descent. We negotiated our way all the way down the wash meeting many different obstacles. It is definitely a different hike on the descent than on the ascent which we were all used to.

Mike & Maria Show Their Playful Side

 There were logs to climb over, under and through. There were limestone walls to climb down. But, at last, we arrived at the upper mine with rusted debris strewn about. We got to the main mine that has a cage placed on its entrance. We know by a sign that used to be outside the mine, that the cage is there to protect bats that roost inside the wet cave. The sign is now on the ground behind the bars. Not sure why. Anyway, we hiked on down to the Leroy Mine sign and began our final leg down the old mining road trail.

Main Stanley B Mine
 (Top L - The Main Stanley B Mine, Top R - Hiking Down from Upper Right Wash to Mine, Bottom L - Columbine Flowers at Mine Entrance, Bottom R - Water and Sign Seen Inside the Mine)

As we hiked down the trail, we could see the smoke plumes of the South Loop fire still billowing. This part of the Carpenter One Fire has been burning for at least a week or two now. They have been dropping water on it from helicopters and today, they continued this exercise. As we continued down the trail, we could see flames shooting into the air.

 The old mining road trail continued down past the wash trail that we came in on. As we neared the Kyle Canyon Highway, a buck mule deer came out of nowhere and bounded across the road about forty feet in front of us. He was absolutely beautiful! Although a good effort was made, the camera did not get readied in time. We got down to the highway, turned left and walked a little ways back to the cars. The hike was almost 5 miles with around 2400 feet of total elevation gain.

Fire On South Loop as Seen from Stanley B Old Mining Road

Following Dirt Road Down to Kyle Cyn Hwy

Stanley B Trails Comparison

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