Saturday, December 20, 2014

La Madre Spring & Cabin - 12/20/14

La Madre Spring Area near Cabin

Peering into the Miner's Cabin

 The La Madre Spring and Cabin hike begins at the Willow Springs Picnic Area trailhead off of the scenic loop in the Red Rock Canyon NCA. Ten hikers showed up for the moderate hike up the hill. The hike starts out on Rocky Gap Road for just a little over a mile then turns right at the large sign indicating the La Madre Wilderness Area as seen in the photo to the left.

Sandstone Mosaic Floor on Old Home Foundation
 On our way up this section of the hike, we stopped at the old home foundation on the right side of the road about 1.5 miles into the hike.

View Back toward Rocky Gap Road

 Next, we continued up to the site of the old wildlife dam that was only recently dismantled. There are two small waterfalls there now. The lower one is seen in the photo to the right. It appears that the wilderness people have tried to root some native plants in the area but the protective cones have been washed out. The purpose of removing the dam was to encourage non-native plants to die out.

Waterfall in Spring Drainage
 From here, the trail gets tricky. In recent years, hikers have made alternate trails to the one that was used all the time. At times, it is difficult to find the original trail but it is still there. Start by staying on the same side of the water that you came in on.

Overgrown Trail

 Today, the trail was wet and muddy. We were careful using the limestone rock as it was smooth and slippery underfoot. The trail stays in the canyon with the water flow for most of the climb while crossing the stream about four times. Nearing the cabin, we started uphill away from the water on a steep climb to the left of the drainage. Be careful here to not take a trail leading off to the left. Just go straight up the rock in front of you.

Miner's Cabin
 The miner's cabin seems to be in pretty good condition. Inside, someone has left bottles of water and a log book. We sat here for a small break and pointed out the trail that leads up to the mine itself.

Peering Out from the Miner's Cabin

 Before getting too chilly on this dreary day, we started back down ... slowly. We took our time getting down all the tricky spots and there were no accidents. When we reached the old dam site, our speed increased and down the rocky roads we went. This is a nice moderate hike if you take your time.

5 miles; 1200 feet elevation gain; 2.5 hours

Trail Crosses above a Waterfall

The Sun Broke Through on our Return

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