Saturday, September 10, 2016

Stepladder / Showgirl Loop - 9/10/16

Trailhead View

Kyle Canyon

Charleston Peak

Starting Up Stepladder Loop
Today's "moderate" hike was a quick 7 mile tour around a trail loop in the lower elevations of the Spring Mountains NRA. Seven hikers began at the Traffic Circle Trailhead and began climbing the Stepladder Trail, the side of this loop that climbs along the contour of Stepladder Peak. There was much conversation so the "wake-up climb" seemed fast. Soon, we were at the saddle junction where there are five choices of direction to go.

Stepladder Loop
1) Stepladder Loop East, 2) Stepladder Loop West, 3) Stepladder Peak, 4) Steep Bike Trail down, and 5) Cowboy Washington

Descent to Tin Can Alley
We took a more or less straight direction onto the Cowboy Washington Trail but, very quickly, we forked to the right to descend on the Shady Hollow Trail.

Starting Up Showgirl Trail

Saddle Junction (Foreground)
Instead of taking the entire Shady Hollow descent, we opted to use the bike trail down for a more direct route. At the bottom, we fumbled a little as we tried to decide which way we needed to go for the Showgirl Trail connection. When we got all the way down to Telephone Canyon Road, we turned to the left and found the Showgirl Trail up the road a little. It would be really nice if the park service would continue working on signage.

Stepladder Peak from Showgirl Trail
The mid-section of the Showgirl Trail is a favorite as it travels around the contour of the ridge above and to the left. Views of La Madre Peak and Stepladder Peak are picturesque.

Showgirl Trail
When we found a place in a little shade, we stopped for a break. There was a slight breeze and the sun was behind the clouds off and on. Otherwise, it's still hot out there!

AtBF Canyon Mouth

Small Bridge & Wash Cairn
The Showgirl Trail took us down to cross the mouth of AtBF Canyon. A little bridge has been placed across a dip in the wash where two huge cairns mark the route. The trail continues along the wash for a while then the wash starts to dip at a faster rate. This puts the hikers on a contour of the hillside but still gently descending. The contour trail weaves in and out of the arroyos and ridges.

Showgirl Trail meets AtBF Canyon Wash
Finally, the forest road named Wooden Pole Powerline Road comes into view. This road connects this part of the Showgirl Trail to the BLM Fire & Rescue Station on Kyle Canyon Road.

Continuing Down Showgirl Trail
We turned onto the forest road and descended, ascended, and descended steeply to the fire station. A paved road led us to the dirt road that turned to the right.

Following the Hillside Contour

Short Descent on the Forest Road
The first trail that turns to the right from this dirt road is Tin Can Alley. We took this trail up until we reached a junction to another cross trail going back to the left. This trail drops down to cross Telephone Canyon Road where we could connect with the Shady Hollow Trail. Following this trail, we returned to the cars. A good Saturday morning workout. Only saw one biker today!

7 miles; 1250 feet elevation gain; 3.25 hours

Juniper Berries on Tin Can Alley

Crossover Trail

Finishing on the Shady Hollow Trail

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