Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Cave Spring - 6/3/14

Dry Horse Trough at Cave Spring

Griffith Peak from Trail near Cave Spring

The second hike today was attended by eight hikers. We drove up Kyle Canyon Road, turned off onto Echo Road and parked at the Trail Canyon trailhead in the Spring Mountains NRA. This would be the first time a couple of us had ascended Trail Canyon this year. The steepness of the trail and the higher altitude converge to form a difficult 2.25 miles and it takes a little getting used to as the summer arrives.

Starting Up Trail Canyon Trail
 It was a beautiful day with warm temperatures. The sun lit up the aspen leaves to a bright green color.

Trail Shots of Trail Canyon and North Loop Trails

 Our mantra for the morning was "Slow and steady!" None of us were in a hurry. We took several breaks for those first two miles. Three hikers broke away and arrived at the saddle a little sooner than the rest of the group. When we reached the saddle, we shared the junction with several other hikers. One group of hikers were a new hiking club from Ardiente. Just wanted to shout out a welcome to the new club. Just let us know if we can be of any help!

Trail Sign at Saddle

So, we took a nice break on the saddle. From here, the hiker has three choices of trails. The North Loop Trail leads straight to go down (also to Raintree and Mummy Springs) and to the left to go up toward Mt. Charleston Peak. There is also a trail to the right that leads out Cockscomb Ridge and to Cockscomb Peak. Today, we said adios to the other hikers on the saddle and turned to the left onto the North Loop Trail. Our destination was only another half mile in distance. The beauty of the surrounding landscape captivated us and we slowly made our way up among the aspens. An open view of Mt. Charleston could be seen to our left. Up ahead, we saw a large stand of bristlecone trees. It is within this stand of trees that Cave Spring and its horse trough would be found.

Mt. Charleston from the North Loop Trail

 We knew that the first hikers of the day were 2 hours ahead of us going twice as far but we fully expected them to pass us on their return later in the morning. So while we took our long break of the morning at the horse trough, we were listening for familiar voices making their way down the trail. When we realized that our buddies would not be appearing, we started down the North Loop Trail back to the saddle.

Janet Finds the Horse Trough this Time
Our pace continued to be moderate on our way down. The steep spots especially got extra attention!

Starting Down the North Loop Trail

We strode through the saddle area and on down through the switchbacks without stopping. We passed three horse and riders in the upper part of the switchbacks. We took one rest in the shade for water and checking on each other's welfare, then we slowly sped up as we got nearer the less steep lower portion of the trail. A gorgeous day had developed. ... And, we never had a glimpse of our fellow club members!

6 miles; 2100 feet elevation gain; 3.25 hours

The Lower Portion of Trail Canyon

Almost to the Water Tank

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