Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Rattlesnake Canyon - 11/23/16

Little Terrace Canyon

Little Terrace Canyon

Rattlesnake Canyon Trailhead

Within Rattlesnake Canyon
 Rattlesnake Canyon seems to have become a bit more popular lately. We saw one other group of three hikers in it today. A first for us. This canyon is found in Red Rock Canyon NCA off of the scenic loop at Willow Springs Picnic Area climbing up into the rocks across from White Rock Peak. Someone has recently built quite an impressive cairn marking the canyon across Red Rock Wash. This is a fun canyon for several reasons but one is that the scrambling begins right away with virtually no approach hike. As soon as the five of us reached the mouth of the canyon on the other side of the wash, we began scrambling up medium, large and extra-large boulders. The trail inside the canyon is worn and most of the scrambles are clearly indicated as to which way to go. There are many instances where the scrambling gets difficult but, generally, there are enough hand holds and foot holds to enable hikers to do the job. (Wear shoes with good treads.)

Gloves for the Scramble
 Steve, our coordinator, was adorned with four talkative ladies and we enjoyed his commentary! ... and, sometimes, his non-commentary.

Tricky Spot
 When we got to the tricky spots, Steve was there to help with instructions on how to ... whatever.

Holey Walls

A Fine Spot
 In the photo to the right, we see a particularly interesting boulder. The rock is rough enough to walk on ... she said ... but the angle of the slant is very disconcerting. Just one of many fun spots. Finally, we reached the canyon turnoff to the left. A trail leads up to the base of a waterfall. Today, there was not any water falling here. Even though we have had recent rain, the only indication of this was evidence of large puddles among the terraces above this waterfall.

Bottom of the Waterfall
 At the base of the waterfall, a trail turns to the left to begin a fun "up and around" to get to the top of the waterfall.

Going Up and Around the Waterfall
 In the photo above, Laurie is standing above a cliff face on the up and around. I leaned back, too!

View down from top of Waterfall

Climbing above Waterfall
 Some people call this canyon Little Terrace Canyon because the rock has been shaped in a similar fashion as the large Terrace Canyon that is reached via the south fork of Pine Creek. There are a few terraces just above the waterfall and they are slippery. Be careful! We climbed on up until we were out of danger. Next, the trail led through a semi-wooded rocky section. It seemed very similar to the Rattlesnake Canyon that we just left.

Climbing the Lower Terraces
 After this section, we reached the upper terraces. These terraces have a bit more distance and they curve around following the bedrock.

Climbing the Upper Terraces
 This section is also very photogenic but, most often, it is in the shadows.

Top of Terraces

Top Waterfall
 Today's temperatures were chilly but perfect for the way we dressed. The early wind died down very quickly so, by the time we reached the terraces, we felt great! At the top of the upper terraces, there is a waterfall section that cannot be easily climbed straight up. There is a way to go up and around on the right side. Three hikers scrambled on up then had even more fun scrambling back down! We sat here and had our break.

Coming down from Top
 After the break, we started down the same way we came up.

Returning through the Upper Terraces
 Someone noticed a small window in a large rock on the side of the canyon. See below!

Rock Face

Negotiating the Slippery Rock
 All morning, the conversation never stopped. Poor Steve! We dropped down both sets of terraces and balanced over and down to get to the bottom of the waterfall. Without missing a beat, we continued slowly down the mile long scramble back to the cars. When we reached the trailhead, Red Rock was boppin'. Thanksgiving at the park is always crazy ... CRAZY! Wonderful little workout!

2.5 miles; 800 feet elevation gain; 2.75 hours

Above the Waterfall Again

Almost back to the Main Canyon

I got ya!

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