Thursday, October 2, 2014

Stanley B / Fletcher Canyons Loop - 10/2/14

Fletcher Narrows above Rabbit Hole

Claim Sign at Stanley B Mine

 It was a fresh morning when twelve hikers got out of their cars at the Fletcher Canyon trailhead in the Spring Mountains NRA today. A few of the hikers even began the hike with jackets on. A few days earlier, we had had an early snowfall on the South Loop ridge. Griffith Peak was still white. We began our loop hike by bravely taking the trail next to the wash on the south side of Kyle Canyon Road. No construction was going on at that time and there were no signs telling us not to so we opted for the trail instead of the roadside as we climbed the gentle mile up to the Stanley B trailhead.

Climbing the Stanley B Wash
 Gladly disappearing into the woods, we started up the Stanley B wash. The rock stepping woke us up and jackets were removed. Next, we connected with the old mining dirt road and followed it all the way up to the mine.

Following the Old Mine Road

 We had a few hikers that had not seen the mine and spring before so we stopped for a peek. Continuing up the wash next to the mine, we worked on the hard part of the day. There is a semblance of a trail that takes hikers all the way up from the mine to the ridge above. Although it is tempting to climb up to the right slopes to get things over with, the wash is really the way to go and is the most gentle slope. The climb lasted quite a while and when we reached the ridge saddle, we took a well deserved break.

An Up and Around in the Wash above the Mine
 While we took our break, we noted the close views of Mummy's Toe and Cockscomb Peak. Further away and across Kyle Canyon, we could clearly see the snowy peak of Griffith.

Stanley B Ridge Views

 Now, the descent! We dropped down next to a large tree with an unusual U-shaped limb. The trail used to be clear but is now washed out. Next, we began dropping down a very steep rocky wash. Soon, a turn to the left put us on a trail that led to another wash, and another trail, and a steep downhill to the upper reaches of Fletcher Canyon. The trails that we followed were difficult to find and in disarray. But, the route is good!

Tough Spot in Fletcher Canyon Descent
 We dropped down the tough spot at the ponderosa pine waterfall taking precautions on the slippery loose rock.

Obstacle Course

 As we tried following the trail that we followed several times this summer, we realized that the canyon had, once again, been flooded. We hiked this canyon only two weeks ago but logs and brush had been messily rearranged. Regardless, we found the trail to be decipherable and continued our quest. ... Where is that rabbit hole?

We slid into the upper part of the Fletcher Narrows and hiked down to Obstacle Rock. This rock gets more and more slippery every time we get here!

Entering Narrows above Rabbit Hole
 One by one, we managed to safely slide down through the hole between Obstacle Rock and the canyon wall. At one point, one hiker stopped to build up the rock pile so that shorter people didn't have such a long drop from the top.

Organizing the Rabbit Hole Descent at Obstacle Rock

 Emerging from the rabbit hole area, we saw that we had an audience of several hikers. We must have put on quite a show. They were enthralled! We left the recreational hikers to their reverie and continued down the last 2 miles of the Fletcher Canyon trail. It was a beautiful day and we took our time with the pace.

6 miles; 2000 feet elevation gain; 4.5 hours

The Fletcher Canyon Trail below the Rabbit Hole

The Fletcher Canyon Trail

No comments: