Thursday, May 11, 2017

Acastus Trail / Fletcher Canyon O&B - 5/11/17

Water Chute at Obstacle Rock in Fletcher Canyon

Fletcher Canyon Narrows with Water

Starting Drop into Kyle Canyon from Visitor Center

Acastus Trail / Kyle Wash Trail
 A great group of thirteen club members drove up into the Spring Mountains NRA for an 8 mile hike. We left a little later this morning so that we were sure that the Visitor Center gate would be open (it opens at 9am) and we parked there. A short hike through the interesting visitor center architecture took us to the long downhill on a red gravel path. A little winding around after that put us right at the Acastus Trail TH and we began our hike up Kyle Canyon Wash.

Junction at Campground
 Along the Acastus Trail, there are informational signs. These signs disperse very interesting facts about the geology, etc. of this area.

Fletcher Canyon Trailhead
 One sign explains that the trail is named after the Acastus Checkerspot Butterfly which is found exclusively in this area.

Hiking Fletcher Canyon Trail

Starting into the Fletcher Canyon Narrows
 After a quick break at the Fletcher Canyon TH, we continued across Kyle Canyon Road and started up into Lower Fletcher Canyon. The group was strong and the terrain did not have much incline so the pace stayed between 2.5 and 3 mph. We were all testing our acclimation to the higher elevations. Few of us had made the trip up into the mountains since last fall. It felt good. Many of us had been hiking in the higher elevations of Red Rock for the last month. This helped.

Water Flowing through Fletcher Canyon Narrows
 As the trail squeezed into the Narrows, it was pretty clear that the impact of this winter's snow and run-off forced new trails within the canyon.

Stepping through Water in Narrows
 The route was not entirely as we had left it last fall! Little places here and there were different.

Group Shot at Water Chute (R)

Water Flowing below Rabbit Hole
Then, as we rounded the last curve before the narrows, we heard then saw a healthy flow of water streaming down the floor of the canyon. Most of us had waterproof shoes so stepping through the shallow stream was not a problem. The rocks are more slippery than ever so beware of your choice of routes. We hiked and took photos right up to the Obstacle Rock area where a strong stream of water flowed down the chute. Although this happens every year and when there is a good rain, it is unusual to catch this beautiful display.

Water Chute from Above, Below & Waterfall next to Rabbit Hole
 We stayed here for our snack break and climbed up the slippery apparatus to the right of the water chute. We could then see that the water was flowing strongly down to the right of the rabbit hole.

Fletcher Canyon Narrows
 A club member came up here the other day to gather information for other hikers. His results were that there is no snow in the narrows above the rabbit hole. Water, yes. Snow, no. (And, no water through the rabbit hole at this time.)

Hiking out of the Narrows

Fletcher Canyon Trailhead on Return
 After our break, we started back down the narrows passing a few other recreational hikers. Our strong group made the trip back pretty quick without too many stops. We were just enjoying the hike, the scenery, the weather and the conversation. We passed the Fletcher Canyon Trailhead and took note of a couple of the informational signs. Then, we passed through the campground and returned to the Visitor Center. Great day in the mountains!

8 miles; 1300 feet elevation gain; 3.5 hours

Acastus Trail with South Loop Ridge in Background

Climbing back Up to the Visitor Center

Wild Blue Flax at Visitor Center

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