Thursday, February 2, 2017

Rubber Ducky Yucca - 2/2/17

Mt. Potosi from Old Spanish Trail

Rubber Ducky Yucca

Escarpment from Landmine Loop

Mt. Potosi
 Fifteen hikers opted for the easy moderate hike in Cottonwood Valley this morning. Labeled the Rubber Ducky Yucca hike, the route would bring us by the famous Joshua Tree at the end of the hike. The Ducky Tree lends itself to many different routes in the Cottonwood Valley and today's route was another different one ... similar to the Four Burros hike but somewhat easier. We started at the Late Night Trailhead and headed out the trail located to the right (east) of the main informational sign (not yet finished). In due time, we crossed the Black Velvet dirt road and found the Ducky/Spanish Trail sign marking our progress.

Starting Out Late Night Trail
 We veered to the right at a nearby fork and hiked toward Highway 160. The Old Spanish Trail utilized this throughway heading up to Mountain Springs Pass from the springs at Blue Diamond.

Tortoise Condominium
 We followed between the road and the ridge until we passed the end of the ridge. Here, we found a trail junction and turned to our left.

Hiking Out the Old Spanish Trail

Along the Main Wash
 The trail crossed down over the desert until it reached the main wash coming from Cottonwood Valley. Then, it curved around to the left until we reached a beautiful rock inlaid wash crossing. We sat here for our break watching a few bikers and a dog pass by. After the break, we junctioned with the Landmine Loop and turned left. At the next junction, we crossed the wash again. This put us on a path to the trail junction labeled Ducky/Lawnmower. Once again, we chose the trail other than the Ducky Trail. The Lawnmower Trail took us up a gentle wash to the top of a hill named the Lawnmower Saddle.

Snack Break at Landmine Loop Junction
 The weather was a nice temperature but dark clouds shaded the photos. It was an unusually hazy winter day but we were comfortable.

Hollow Rock Peak in Distance
 We hiked along the Lawnmower Saddle and began to descend on the west side of the hill. This is a long descent that offers wide views of the Red Rock escarpment.

On Lawnmower Saddle

 At the bottom of the hill, we turned to the left, finally following the signs leading toward the Ducky Trail. The trail wiggled in a wash along the bottom of the hill we had just descended. And, just before we started to ascend out of the wash, there it was! The Rubber Ducky Yucca is filled to capacity with rubber ducks! The mystery was recently solved as to why the ducks disappeared a year ago. It wasn't the BLM rangers! (Sorry.) It was some lady who thought the ducks did not belong in the desert. Au contraire! Mais, cette est The Rubber Ducky Yucca!

6.5 miles; 700 feet elevation gain; 3 hours


On Rubber Ducky Wash Trail

Rubber Ducks All Over the Tree!

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