Wednesday, July 9, 2014

First Creek - 7/9/14

First Creek Canyon from Rainbow Wilderness Boundary

Rainbow Peak and Potato Knoll from Trail

 As the monsoons and overcast skies continue here in the desert, eleven hikers gathered early this morning for an interesting and all but forgotten hike to First Creek Canyon. The First Creek trailhead is located 2 miles south from the exit of the Red Rock Canyon NCA scenic loop. We passed through the gate in the fence determined to make the normally short and somewhat boring hike interesting by using a meandering approach. Following a little used trail that turned off soon to the right, we found the First Creek wash.

Climbing First Creek Wash
 The wash required very little real scrambling until we reached the large boulders near the waterfall grotto. This was pretty fun! But, when we saw the grotto, the waterfall was dry. A large puddle filled with goldfish and hanging gardens on the walls were all that was there.

Hikers at the Grotto

 From the grotto, we climbed out of the wash on the regular trail and began following a few of the multiple small recreational trails above. Eventually, we dropped back into the wash where the foliage was lush with grapevines. The boulders got bigger and bigger but Roger was looking for THE big white one! On our way up the canyon, someone spotted a single bighorn sheep on the slope across from us. She was very difficult to see unless she was moving. We thought she was a small kid but after inspecting the photos, it appears that she was also the huge animal we saw a little later run down into the wash below us. Amazing animals!
Starting into the Rainbow Wilderness
 We passed the wilderness boundary and continued another third of a mile moving very close to the wash. Here, we found THE big white rock where we sat for a break.

Can you find Walda, the bighorn?

 We enjoyed a small break on THE big white rock while peering into the canyon above us. Probably should explore that canyon someday! We returned by way of the main drag trail all the way back to the road. Bunnies aside, we didn't see any more wildlife. (Although, we had seen a very small tree frog on our way up the wash earlier ... and, then there were the goldfish.) Now, where were those burros?

4 miles; 600 feet elevation feet; 2.2 hours

THE Big White Rock

Paul Demonstrates the Trailhead Fence Gate

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