Saturday, May 24, 2014

Horse Trough at Telephone Canyon & Robbers' Roost - 5/24/14

Spring Water Flows into Horse Trough above Telephone Canyon

Mummy's Toe Peeks Out from Behind the Ridge as Viewed from the Ascent Trail

 Two groups of hikers separated at the meet point to go to Telephone Canyon, each with a different hike in mind. Fourteen of those hikers chose to do a loop hike that began and ended at the Robbers' Roost parking pull out on Deer Creek Highway in the Spring Mountains NRA. There was no construction going on today, presumably because it is Saturday, so the drive up lasted around 30 to 40 minutes. We started down the trail behind the sign at the parking area and ended up on Telephone Canyon Road, a dirt and gravel road that ultimately descends down to Kyle Canyon Road below the police station.

Starting Up the Steep Trail Ascent
 Enjoying the fresh cool air, we descended the road for 0.9 miles. At this point, there is a camping site on the left side. We turned left here and began a steep and arduous climb up the trail that ascends out of the campsite.

Taking in the View and Fresh Air

 The trail seems to be frequented by horses and bikes because the path is rutted for most of the way up. Although it is a beautiful climb among the junipers and pinion pines, most of the work for today was done in this 0.8 miles. The group of hikers were hiking their first high altitude hike of the season, therefore, our breath became short quickly. We stopped around four times in this short distance.

Bernard Cools Off with a Bath of Spring Water (Do Not Drink!)
 The spring fed horse trough is found about 2/3 of the way up the hill. It is a double trough, however, only one trough was filled since the pipe between the two must have been stopped up. Even though the water is not potable, it does a good job of cooling off your head!

Snack Spot with a View of Angel Peak

 After the water trough, the views of the ridge across Telephone Canyon opened up. At one overlook, we pointed out all the many peaks and hikes that could be seen. Finally finishing the climb, we reached the saddle where there is a trail that takes off along the ridge to the right. We hiked out this ridge on a very easy trail to a place where we could see Angel Peak on the other side of our mountain. We had to sit on the ground but we didn't mind too much!

Trail Gate Marked with Pink Ribbons
 After the break, we returned to the main trail saddle and continued our loop. There are several other trails that junction at this point but we kept turning to our left to find a trail that would loop around beneath Deer Creek Highway.

Starting Down the Beautiful Descent Trail

 This trail made a gradual descent through the trees. To our left, we got a grand view of Telephone Canyon out toward Kyle Canyon. There is a small bridge built to take hikers over a wash gulley. We passed a couple of young bikers lounging on a bike jump. After connecting with the old dirt road, several ... many ... bikers came zooming down the hill and passed us. They were very polite ... careful not to run over us and said, "Thank you!" and "Have a nice day!"

Wide Open Views Toward Kyle Canyon
 There is a business that carries bikers and their bikes up the hill then let's them go! A series of bike trails challenges them on a top speed run. As far as we can see, they are having a blast!

Starting Up into the Robbers' Roost Canyon Crack

 The road led back to the hill that climbed to the parking pull out. Then we crossed the road and tackled Robbers' Roost; a canyon crack filled with caves where men would hide until wagons came by in the 1890's. They continued robbing until cattle rustling became more "profitable." This short hike up the hill can be done on a long switchback or by scrambling up the wash. We opted for the switchback and while we were up there, we watched rock climbers and Don showed us the official Robbers' Cave located around the corner. What fun! And, a perfect day for hiking!

Points of Interest on the Short Robbers' Roost Hike
 4 miles; 1138 feet elevation gain; 3 hours

The Official Hide Out Cave

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