Monday, July 7, 2014

Potato Knoll Loop (aka Roger's Red Rock Ramblin' Wiggles Route) - 7/7/14

Overcast Morning at Red Rock

Potato Knoll

 For the past few days, monsoons in the Spring Mountains have arrived with a vengeance! The upper elevations have gotten whacked with thunderstorms for three days straight. So, seven hikers decided that an early hike in lower elevations might not be such a bad idea today! When we arrived at the meeting place, we learned that the hike du jour would be a meandering hike at Oak Creek and Potato Knoll. When it was all said and ran, it was a wonderful and inventive loop around the little ancient landslide hill in front of Wilson Peak.

Hiking Trail Toward Rainbow Peak

Even though Tom got us around Potato Knoll, we eventually named the 5 mile hike Roger's Red Rock Ramblin' Wiggles Route after his wiggly trail on which we returned.

Inspecting Petrified Log

 We hiked out from the Red Rock scenic loop parking area and crossed Oak Creek. Even though it was obvious that the area had gotten rain recently, the creek was dry. We took note of the knoll's collection of petrified wood as we began our loop then found many bright red bugs crawling around on the back side of the knoll. Although they looked a lot like a big ticks, research suggests that they were red velvet mites. The recent rains seem to have brought them out. We also found entire ant colonies above the surface of the ground probably trying to escape the ground water.

Circling Potato Knoll
There are so many odd trails in this area of Red Rock that it is easy to start traveling on unfamiliar routes. Today, it just didn't seem to matter much as we meandered somewhat aimlessly around. When we reached the back side of Potato Knoll, a few of us climbed a neighboring hill that we named Spud Knoll.

View from Spud Knoll

We completed our loop, climbed another really small hill that we named Tater Tot Knoll, then decided to return to the cars on another obscure trail that only Roger knew about. This required a little bushwhacking that led us to a landmark pinyon pine. The end of the trail was here at the tree. We turned on the trail to the right and wiggled our way back to the cars.

5.2 miles; 600 feet elevation gain (includes both small hills); 2.25 hours

View from Tater Tot Knoll

Following Trail back to Cars

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