Friday, March 24, 2017

La Madre Spring & Cabin - 3/24/17

La Madre Spring Source

View above Miners' Cabin

Small Waterfall near Old Dam Site

Making the Turn off Rocky Gap Road
 La Madre Spring & Cabin is one of the few official trails in Red Rock Canyon NCA. Although the route up to an old dam site consists of abandoned old gravel roads, the remaining single track trail up to the cabin follows along a stream in a narrow canyon and becomes quite treacherous at times. The extremely worn trail has steep slippery sections, muddy sections, small scrambles on slippery limestone, and a few relatively tame stream crossings. What's not to love? Twelve hikers arrived at the Willow Springs Picnic Area off of the Scenic Loop (just after mile marker 7) and began their hike up Rocky Gap Road.

Old Home Foundation
 About 1.2 miles up the road, we came to the junction of another road leading to the right. This road can no longer be driven. There is a large sign announcing the La Madre Wilderness boundary.

La Madre Mountains
 We turned onto the new road and continued climbing. There are a lot of loose rocks on both of these roads but a path has been worn for the most part.

Approaching Old Dam Site

Hiking up the Stream
 After about 0.3 mile on the new road, we came to the remains of an old home. The foundation complete with flooring remnants is still seen. This is always a good place to take in water and breathe a minute. Another 0.3 mile up the road is the old dam site. Until three years ago, the water from the La Madre Spring was dammed here for wildlife consumption. It was decided that the non-native plant species were taking over the area because of the small pond so the dam was removed. It used to be a great place to watch frogs!

Waterfall Crossing
 The remaining 0.6 miles to an old miners' cabin is on a single track trail that is quite challenging at best.

Trail becomes Treacherous
 Today's group was in no hurry as we methodically negotiated every obstacle. Troopers, one and all!

Taking a Break at the Miners' Cabin

Starting the Slow Descent
 When we reached the cabin, we sat for a snack break. The cabin is not in as good condition as it was ten years ago but, with a little imagination, we could "feel" the miners living here. Their mine is up the hill behind the cabin. Now! We faced the downhill challenge ... and, it was quite a challenge! Ever so slowly, we descended the trail any way we could. And, as far as the writer observed, no one hit the deck! Yea! Every year, this hike becomes more difficult even though wilderness friends do their best to make small improvements. Thanks for trying!

5 miles; 1400 feet elevation gain; 3 hours

Careful with Every Step

On the Road Agin'

Rocky Gap Road

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