Thursday, May 19, 2016

Cathedral Rock, Etc. - 5/19/16

Little Falls

Cathedral Rock from Echo Trailhead

Echo Falls

Junction with Little Falls Trail
 There were seventeen hikers, today, on the old standard Spring Mountains NRA Cathedral Rock hike that was embellished with a visit to Little Falls, Echo Falls and the Manhole Cover. We were thrilled with the amount of water flowing down both the waterfalls and were equally thrilled to see two very healthy mule deer crossing our path on the Echo Trail. We began at the Echo Trailhead located on Echo Way just off of Kyle Canyon Road. Cathedral Rock could be seen from the parking lot.

Approaching Little Falls
 There is a trail sign indicating the proper direction of the trail although it is tempting to cut across the wash. A little further up from the trailhead, we took a wrong fork even though there were rocks clearly marking the way. We talk too much.

Little Falls Alcove sans Grafitti
 So, we quickly corrected our mistake and found our way to the Little Falls Trail to turn right. The climb up to the waterfall was lined with some snow near the top. We could hear the waterfall loudly as we approached. There was a lot of water but the shade/sun contrast of the scenery made photos extremely difficult.

Junction with Cathedral Rock Trail

Echo Cliffs
 After taking a group shot among the grafitti, we returned to the Echo Trail junction and continued over to the Cathedral Rock Trail. We turned right onto the ascent trail and began our climb. Talking slowed and heavy breathing ensued! Many of our hikers were there today to begin acclimating to the higher elevations. Yes, it really makes a difference! At the Echo Falls junction, we turned left to visit another heavily flowing waterfall as seen in the third photo above and the one below.

Echo Falls
 These waterfalls are dry all summer long. It is kind of exciting to see so much water flowing. The waterfall that flows from the culvert at the bottom of the final Cathedral Rock climb was also flowing strongly but we opted not to go down for a visit on that messy vague trail.

Back Side of Cathedral Rock
 The final climb up the rock left us somewhat spread out. But, we all eventually made it to the top and took our break at the overlook. Here, four ladies decided to spend a longer time on their break and promised to come down safely a little later. (Kind of breaking the rules but understandable on a very well known trail.)

Charleston Peak from Cathedral Rock Trail

Climbing Cathedral Rock
 We took a group photo on top of the rock and took note of how much snow was still hanging around in the upper elevations. Then, we started down with the remaining thirteen hikers. We turned right at the culvert saddle and began a very relaxing hike out the old flat road to the end. The manhole cover was tightly fastened with a metal plate last year but, this year, the plate has been tampered with and the metal plate has been lifted up. One hiker also smoothed out a nearby small fire pit.

New Steps on Cathedral Rock Trail
 We returned on the old road enjoying the woodsy scenery and cool air. The wind that was predicted for later in the day had not yet arrived.

Cathedral Rock Overlook down Kyle Canyon
 When we reconnected with the main Cathedral Rock Trail, the four ladies were still not down from the top so we continued on down as planned.

"Summit" Photo

Starting Down (Mummy's Toe in Background)
 The steepness of the trail surprised us more on the way down than on the way up! Down, down, down, turning left at the Little Falls/Echo Trail junction. As we hiked above the road, a fire truck siren-ed by and made a short visit at the Mt. Charleston Lodge cabins. A right turn back onto the Echo Trail took us back to the Echo Trailhead parking lot. A very good outing!

6.5 miles; 1700 feet elevation gain; 3.5 hours

Hiking Out to Manhole Cover

Manhole Cover has been Tampered With

Descent Through the Leafing Aspens (Bench Seating Offered)

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