Saturday, March 18, 2017

Lower Showgirl (3 mi) O&B - 3/18/17

Charleston Peak from Lower Showgirl Trail

Lower Showgirl Trail & Charleston Peak

First Half Mile of Upper Showgirl Trail Today

Hiking Up the Trail
 Our intention for today's hike was to do the AtBF Canyon Loop. Perhaps it was a bit ambitious. We drove up to the Juniper Trailhead near Deer Creek Road and perused the landscape. Snow thickly patched the hillsides and was still covering the bottom of the washes. We hiked down the Upper Showgirl Trail for a half mile and saw that snow still covered the trail more times than not. We surmised that the canyon would still be impassable anyway. So, we returned to the car at the trailhead and drove down Kyle Canyon Road to the Lower Showgirl Trailhead. No snow here.

Desert to Mountains
 Admittedly, this trail is not as "fun" as the snow-covered trail we just left, however, the beauty of the mountains made up for that.

Trail passes Large Joshua Tree
 As the moon slipped behind the South Loop ridge, we crossed through the underpass and started hiking up the trail out of the wash.

Blooming Manzanitas

Crossing the Forest Road
 The Lower Showgirl Trail is located in the upper elevations of the Upper Sonoran Life Zone. This indicates from the 5500' to 6500' in elevation. It is a zone where the Joshua Trees blend into Pinon-juniper woodland. There is sagebrush and ephedra all around. Add to all that the abundance of manzanitas that are beginning to bloom and the desert was alive with sights and sounds of bees doing their pollinating thing. Five hikers simply enjoyed their time along the trail moving at a moderately strenuous pace.

Trail winds on the Lateral
 The Spring Mountains are pretty quiet right now but we did see a few cars along the road at various trailheads. The temperatures were fantastic, around 60 to 70 degrees.

Showgirl Trail
 We hiked almost to the AtBF Canyon mouth and stopped where there was a shady grove of junipers and pinon pines for a snack break. We could see the snowy mountains from our make-shift picnic area.

Turnaround Point in a Shady Grove

View on the Return
 Our return to the cars was generally sloping down. We hiked at a steady gait with just a couple of stops. The views were still great even though the sun was higher in the sky. We couldn't remember the last time we saw snow on Harris Peak in March! As we neared the trailhead, we almost stepped on a snake! We named him Wimbley. He was a beautiful example of a Mojave Patch-nosed Snake and he stopped to pose for photos! Non-venomous or we woulda been outathere!

Totals for the Lower Showgirl: 6 miles; 900 feet elevation gain; 3 hours
Totals for the Day: 7 miles, 1000 feet elevation gain; 4.5 hours

Harris Peak (L) & Showgirl Trail

Passing a "Flock of Joshuas"

Wimbley, the Mojave Patch-nosed Snake

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