Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Twilight Ridge Loop - 3/15/17

Spring Mountains & Kyle Canyon Wash

Grapevine Springs Dry Cistern

Morning on the Twilight Zone Trail

Crossing the Wide Wash
Today's hike was the first hike of the season in the Spring Mountains. At the low elevation of the Twilight Trailhead, we were still officially inside the boundaries of the Red Rock Canyon NCA. Nine miles up Kyle Canyon Road, there is a large parking area on the right side that still has a hitching post fence along one side of it. This is where there used to be trail rides offered around 8 years ago. Now, the same trails are used by individual horse riders, bicyclists and hikers.

Nearing the Lucky Strike Road Corner
There were only four of us this morning but it was going to be a long distance trek around a long ridge that could be seen from the trailhead.

Paralleling Lucky Strike Road
We dropped into the large Kyle Canyon wash below the cars and climbed up the other side on the Twilight Zone Trail. This trail would take us across the desert on an angle heading for the distant end of the ridge.

A Dry & Washed Out Grapevine Springs

Grapevine Wash from Explorations
We arrived at the Lucky Strike Road as we circled around the end of the Twilight Ridge. This dirt road used to service the Lucky Strike Mine in the hills beyond. Next, we continued down next to the road to get to the Grapevine Spring. In the past, this spring always had water dripping into a cistern from pipes and the grapevine behind it was sometimes lush with green growth. We had a tough winter. Well, ... a good winter with a lot of precipitation. But, all the precip was tough on the landscape.
Grapevine Spring had dried up. No grapevine. No water in the cistern. And, the surrounding fences had been washed out. Perhaps the pipes that flowed into the cistern were stopped up with dirt and debris.

Trying to Stay on a Trail ... Any Trail
After our inspection of the spring, we climbed a hill on a trail next to the spring. Our thoughts were that we would connect with the Twilight Loop here.

Trail in Wash
We never found what we were looking for and, as it turns out, the Twilight Loop was not in this location. It mattered not. We continued our hike on the other side of the Grapevine Canyon wash on one of the many trails that appeared and disappeared on a regular basis.

Winterized Chollas

Approaching First Pass
The Twilight Loop actually follows the wash on the first side. Oops. Anyway, we headed to the other end of the ridge that was now on our right. Sometimes the trail was good and sometimes it wasn't until we reached the last corner before the First Pass. Now, the trail was very good and it was actually a small shortcut over to the pass. As we hiked, we merged with the Twilight Loop that also came around the corner a little further away. Finally on top of the First Pass, we saw the East Cut Pass about half a mile from us.

East Cut Pass
At the East Cut Pass, we took our snack break almost 6 miles into the hike. The day had started out at a pleasant temperature but, by now, it was getting warm.

Leaving East Cut Pass
Three of us took our break in the shade of a rock outcropping. When we started down the East Cut Wash Trail, we were very happy to be hit with a very nice cool wind.

Following the East Cut Wash Trail

Ups & Downs of East Cut Wash Trail
The wind helped us get across the undulating desert trail all the way back to the large Kyle Canyon wash. We hiked up the wash then turned left onto a dirt road that led back to the cars. The last 2.5 miles were tough but it was nice to have this hike under our belts.

Someone has been using the wash / dirt road junction at the end for target practice. Please take care in this area.

8.5 miles; 1200 feet elevation gain; 4.25 hours

Mountains from top of Deep Drop into Kyle Canyon Wash

Connecting with Kyle Wash

Climbing out of Wash on Dirt Road

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