Saturday, October 19, 2013

Blue Diamond Canyons 2 & 3 - 10/19/13

Blue Diamond Canyon #2

Top of Blue Diamond Canyon #3

 What a beautiful morning for a hike! Fourteen hikers participated on the early Saturday morning hike in Blue Diamond Canyons 2 & 3. The hike comes in at less than 4 miles and only has an elevation gain of 1000 feet but this little hike is pure fun. There are many dry falls to scramble up and down and, today, there was the added excitement of seeing the canyon a little more washed out from the summer monsoons.

Stair Stepping the Dry Falls

 We parked at the small utility building across from the Blue Diamond community and went through the gate. (Please note: This gate should always be closed behind you. Thanks.) We hiked up behind the building and found a way to drop down into the canyon to the east of it. The beginning of the canyon is very very rocky and caution should be taken with your footing. The first real dry fall is seen in the first small photo above. Last year, there was a busy beehive in the wall to the left of it but, today, there were no bees to be seen. We began gingerly climbing the stair stepping nature of the small canyon with high limestone walls. It was very cool in the shade but we warmed up soon enough.


A Beautiful Climb

 As we climbed, we saw the owl that resides here flying up canyon around 4 different times. Each time, she seemed to be one step ahead of us and we were never able to get her photo. But, she showed us the way all the way up several interesting dry falls (the last one being the most difficult) until we reached the border of the gypsum mine at the end of the canyon.

Near the Top of Canyon #2

 Here, we climbed up the hill on the left side of the canyon looking for a small trail. The rains had taken away most signs of the trail and there were no rocks to rest on so we dropped down to the top of the next canyon (#3) and found a great place to take our break. While we rested, Lettie climbed up the nearby hill and showed us that the targeted red barrel cactus was taller than her!

The Major Dry Fall of the Morning in Canyon #3

Baby Rattlesnake

 After a short break, we started down canyon #3. This canyon is a little more tame than #2 but there is one particular dry fall that requires a) the up and around on the west side, b) a rope or webbing to eliminate a jump of about 3 feet, or c) a lot of nerve to climb down on the east side of the fall. The hikers that used the c option swear that there are plenty of hand and foot holds!

A few scrambles after the big fall, a shriek was emitted from one of our ladies! Sure enough, there was a baby rattler nervously, albeit slowly, slithering away from the trail.

Many Flowers in the Lower Half of Canyon #3

 The lower portion of this canyon was filled with yellow flowers; a nice addition to the normally brushy finish to the hike. With Blue Diamond within sight, we found a small trail taking off to the left and we crossed the desert over to where the cars were parked. Three hours of pure fun! What a great way to start the day!

Crossing the Desert From Canyons #3 to #2

Crossing the Last Gully Before the Gate

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