Sunday, September 7, 2014

4 Mile Cliff Overlook - 9/7/14

4 Mile Cliff Overlook View Toward Charleston Peak

Cloud Covered Charleston Peak from Lower North Loop Trail

 As seven hikers drove up Kyle Canyon Road, they watched as two very odd looking windswept clouds joined as one over the peak of Mt. Charleston with its tail over the South Loop ridge. Totally prepared for rain, we set out on the Trail Canyon trail and crested the saddle at around one hour. Exhilarated, we jabbered for a few minutes while a group of teenage boys peered out from their tent. ... Probably wondering when we would leave! ...

Climbing in the Sunshine with Clouds Ahead
 Our climb was almost totally in the sun but, as we hiked, we got closer and closer to those black clouds which were growing slowly yet continuously. What was previously Hurricane Norbert had arrived in the Southwest from Baja California, Mexico.

Approaching Cave Springs

 The pace of the hike, today, was somewhere between moderately strenuous and strenuous until we reached the higher elevations of almost 10,000 feet. Since this was a suggested training hike for a climb to Charleston Peak in a couple of weeks, a period of elevation acclimation was to be expected. We blew past Cave Springs and immersed ourselves in the aspen forest. The aspen leaves are just beginning to change color from a bright green to yellow. Rabbitbrush and other LYFs joined in the fray.

Nearing the Black Clouds at 3.5 Miles
 We passed the Mummy's Tummy trail junction and rounded the bend. Dark clouds hung low over Charleston Peak. Our plan for today was to try and make it to the 4 mile mark then decide if the 5 mile mark was a good idea.

The 4 Mile Cliff Overlook Stopping Point

 Huffing and puffing as we climbed up to the cliff overlook area, and peering speculatively at the black clouds ahead, we sat on the log and ... all together ... said 4 miles was enough. Here, we enjoyed a decent break overlooking Kyle Canyon, the aspen forest below Mummy Mountain and the cliffs between us and the higher elevations. ... And, making a thorough wardrobe change for one hiker!

Descending the Switchback Through the Yellowing Aspens
 Our trip down through the aspens was just as beautiful as the trip on the ascent. It even seemed as if the leaves had changed a little more in the last couple of hours.

Dropping Down near Cave Springs

 As we passed Cave Springs, we noticed that the water was running quite well. There is about 3 or 4 inches of water in the bottom of the trough. When we returned to the Trail Canyon saddle, the tent and boys were gone and we had begun seeing several recreational hikers on their way up. As we reached the lower portion of Trail Canyon, we were anointed with a very few raindrops. All in all, we were well satisfied with the morning.

8 miles; 3000 feet elevation gain; just over 4 hours

Small Rest at the Saddle

Lower Trail Canyon View

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