Sunday, December 21, 2014

Waterfall Canyon Loop CCW - 12/21/14

Forty Foot Waterfall from Approach

Entrance to Waterfall Canyon

 The entrance to Waterfall Canyon is located almost two miles up Rocky Gap Road from Willow Springs where there is year round water running across the dirt road and into Red Rock Wash. Six hikers began today's hike by hiking up Rocky Gap Road with conversations going. It was a chilly morning with a bit of a wind but we warmed up quickly due to the energy output.

Limestone Slab in Waterfall Canyon
 We turned right into the canyon that opened up near the flowing water. There is slightly more water in the canyon than usual right now, however, the canyon itself has seen better days.

Two Waterfalls

 The trail is in overgrown condition and the places where the trail climbs over limestone slab are very slippery. Many of the sharp edges that aid in scrambling have been smoothed over due to regular use. Algae has taken over many of the more colorful sections of the canyon's orange under layer. And, plants have grown up hiding the original trail. Today, we could not avoid getting the bottoms of our shoes wet. Therefore, the limestone was even more slippery to navigate. Note: Perhaps it is the Carpenter One Fire of 2013 that heated the springs that feed Waterfall Canyon and created the algae growth. The algae seems to be dying off and maybe someday it will wash away and the orange under layer will be seen again. Just a theory.

View Down Forty Foot Waterfall
 Nevertheless, we reached the top of the forty foot waterfall and sat for our break. Inside the canyon, the wind had subsided.

Canyon Upstream from Forty Foot Waterfall

 After our break, we reluctantly began the "down" portion of today's adventure. Hiking back down through Waterfall Canyon was tedious. The slippery limestone was a ... well ... a difficulty. At any rate, we got a good workout with it and, leaving the canyon, we returned down the road a little way to the jeep turnaround. Here, we junctioned with a small trail that led us down to the Red Rock Wash below to our right.

Descending Through Red Rock Wash
 The first thing we noticed in the wash was that the damp sandstone showed patterns in the rock that are not as noticeable when the rock is dry. It was beautiful, almost like wood grain.

Sandstone Designs

 We scrambled down the colorful wash talking mostly about food ... Mexican food, to be precise. After all, it is the Christmas season when everyone brings out their best recipes. Nearing the trailhead, we looked for and, finally, found the petroglyph site on the right side of the wash. After admiring the ancient writings, we crossed back over to the cars. Good workout!

4 miles; 900 feet elevation gain; 2.5 hours

Dropping Through the Colorful Wash

Petroglyph Site Visit

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