Saturday, July 9, 2016

Robbers' Roost to Stepladder - 7/9/16

Peering Out from Robbers' Roost

Cabin at Telephone Canyon

Griffith Peak from Stepladder Trail

Climbing Up to Roobers' Roost
 Today's leisurely hike from Robbers' Roost down to Stepladder Trail in the Spring Mountains NRA was a new route for the club. Although Chris has used parts of the route in many hikes previously, it had not been put together in the same way as today. Eleven hikers attended the point to point hike so we took 4 cars up Kyle Canyon Road and left one car at the Traffic Circle Trailhead where we would finish. The remaining 3 cars, filled with hikers, drove up to the Robbers' Roost Trailhead on Deer Creek Road.

Switchback Trail to Robbers' Roost
 At this trailhead, we crossed the road and began a short climb up to Robbers' Roost. This is a geological "crack" in the mountains that was very adaptable for highway robbers back in the day. It served as their hideout as they waited for their next "job."

Robbers' Roost Cliffs
 There is one switchback that can be used to climb into the crack unless hikers wish to do a little scrambling. We hiked up the switchback and enjoyed the caves and cliffs without the usual rock climbers with their boom boxes. The rock walls were empty of all but the I-bolts and such used for climbing.

No Climbers in Robbers' Roost this Morning

Scrambling over to Nearby Caves
 After exploring the crack, we did a little scrambling to get over to the nearby caves. We all agreed that it was a very cool place to be! We took a group photo (below) and returned to the trail to start down. It was a little warm today so we were not in any hurry to start down the trail in the sun below. On our way down, we passed a large group of kids and adults on their way up. Timing is everything!

Group Shot at the Caves (Plus Judy & Kay)
 When we got back to the road and the trailhead parking, we dropped down the trail behind the large triple-faced sign. This is a steep trail that takes hikers down to the hiking / biking trails below.

Descending from the Roost
 With a short warning about the kamikaze bikers that sometimes approach silently from the rear, we turned right then veered to the right again onto a wide trail that has a hiking sign posted.

Cliffs at Hummingbird Gulch Next Door

Common Mullein found below Trailhead
 The old road trail is rocky but doesn't last too long. About one-quarter of a mile down the road on the right, there is remains of an old cabin that was used when Telephone Canyon was being strung with telephone cables. The construction is that of notched logs. We made a short visit to note its importance and enjoy a moment in the cool shade. A little further down the old road, the Cowboy Washington Trail turns to the right. Bikers have made this junction quite obvious with a banking curve.

Starting Down the Old Road that Passes Cabin
 The Cowboy Washington Trail runs from this point down to the Stepladder Trail junction very close to the Deer Creek Road up above our heads to the right.

Cabin Visit
 Although we could hear the cars passing every now and then, we could not see nor smell them! We took a break before we ran out of shade, then enjoyed the views of Telephone Canyon as we got lower.

Trail Scenes on Cowboy Washington Trail

Recently Fixed Trail
 The trail used the old Deer Creek Road leftover pavement as we neared the Stepladder junction. At the junction, we veered to the right and joined the sun laden Stepladder Trail. Views from this trail are wide as you hike down into Kyle Canyon toward the new Visitor Center. Everyone seemed to enjoy the newness of the route and views. In retrospect, about ten bikers passed us from the rear during the hike and each one of them were respectful and courteous to share the trail with us. We hiked into the Traffic Circle Trailhead then sent the one car to collect the other three. A cool wind helped us contend with the warmth.

4 miles; 300 feet elevation gain; 2.75 hours

Stepladder Trail

Gathering Again on Stepladder Trail

Nearing the Bottom of Stepladder Trail

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