Thursday, August 15, 2013

Trail Canyon / Fletcher Canyon - 8/15/13

Upper Fletcher Canyon Waterfall

Fletcher Canyon Narrows Above Obstacle Rock

 Twelve hikers arrived at the Trail Canyon trailhead in four cars. While two cars headed back to the Fletcher Canyon trailhead to place one car, the slower hikers began their climb up Trail Canyon separated only by their point of readiness. One by one, all twelve hikers reached the Trail Canyon saddle after a pleasant non-hurried ascent. When the last hiker arrived, she announced that she had to bail on the hike due to a small family emergency. And then there were eleven. The meat of the hike was still to begin.

Mt. Charleston from Trail Canyon

 After the break on the saddle, we started down the North Loop Trail all together. We found a trail leading down to the right immediately after leaving the saddle. This trail presented itself as a much better way to descend the steep scree slope than where we had descended in the past. We followed the trail crossways in the canyon funnel until we got to an intermediate ridge. Here, we turned right to continue down the steep slope. We found a slight trail leading the way all the way down to a humongous boulder (seen to the right in the photo to the right) which was our landmark showing the beginning of the Upper Fletcher Canyon trail.

Beginning of Trail Below Huge Boulder

 Just below this boulder, we found water flowing and turned to the right across the stream. The trail took us down through trees next to the wash. It was pretty easy to follow. Columbines and butterflies entertained us as we passed through. When we reached the first part of the canyon that presented rock walls to the right side, we slithered down the limestone on the left side and found a well-traveled path. Near this junction, the Stanley B / Fletcher Canyon hike merges.

Columbines Decorate Upper Fletcher Canyon

 The trail crosses the wash (which was dry at this point) many times. Sometimes the hikers were in the wash, sometimes left and sometimes right. There is only one point that the trail seems to disappear. A climb up through the bushes on the right side solves this short dilemma. The photo below shows where you come out after that. A short drop into the small canyon in the photo takes you to another very nice photo opportunity .... Just watch out for the bees!

Trail Above Small Canyon

 We entered the upper narrows and slid down through Obstacle Rock. We took our break just below then headed on out through Lower Fletcher Canyon. The point to point hike is almost 6 miles. After an ascent on Trail Canyon of 1600 elevation feet, there is a descent of 2300 elevation feet down through Fletcher Canyon. It was a beautiful day in the shade with a pleasant steady pace of almost 4 hours.

Kathy and Dave Enter the Upper Narrows

Maria Slides Down the Dry Water Chute

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