Monday, May 5, 2014

Oak Creek - 5/5/14

Puddle in Oak Creek!

Entering Mouth of Oak Creek Canyon

 A wind storm was brewing this morning. "Dust in the wind..." and all that. But fourteen hikers came out anyway for a moderate hike along Oak Creek and into the mouth of Oak Creek Canyon of the Red Rock Canyon NCA. We began at the scenic loop exit gravel parking lot and started hiking across the desert toward Potato Knoll, a hill that stands alone in front of the escarpment.

Lush Oak Creek Terrain
 The route crosses an old road then begins dropping into the Oak Creek wash area that is filled with foliage. It was an early morning start so we enjoyed seeing the sunrise on the face of the peaks in front of us.

One of Oak Creek (dry) Crossings

 We followed along the Oak Creek drainage crossing the dry creek bed three times. It is too late in the spring for there to be much water in the creek but we did see a couple of large puddles. When we got past the base of Potato Knoll, we began a steady but easy climb on a trail heading into Oak Creek Canyon, a large chasm that opened between Rainbow Peak and Wilson Peak of the Red Rock escarpment.

Following Trail on South Side of Oak Creek Canyon
 At the end of the trail, we dropped into the Oak Creek Canyon wash. If we had chosen to go any further, we would have had to begin some large boulder scrambling and this would have knocked the hike up to a more strenuous level.

Snack Break at the Mouth of Oak Creek Canyon

 We took our snack break here finding a pocket out of the worst of the wind. Thankfully, the wind died down a lot for our trip back so we were able to enjoy the flowers blooming around us and, oddly, the dung beetle mating season! We all enjoyed the morning no matter what the wind did ... we just spoke and joked around with each other in a louder voice! (It's amazing how many jokes there are to make about dung beetles.)

5.5 miles; 600 feet elevation gain; less than 3 hours

Heading Back Out of the Canyon Mouth

Wind Storm in Action

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