Sunday, June 18, 2017

Stanley B / Fletcher Canyon - 6/18/17

Mummy Mountain & Fletcher Canyon Bowl from Stanley B Saddle

Columbine Flowers by Stream in Upper Fletcher Canyon


Kyle Wash Trail
 The old Stanley B Mine is located on the north side of Kyle Canyon in the Spring Mountains NRA and its trailhead is across from the community of Rainbow. The small ridge in which it sits divides Kyle Canyon from Fletcher Canyon. Ten hikers arrived this morning for a nice loop starting at the Fletcher Canyon Trailhead. The first order of business was to hike one mile up the Kyle Canyon Wash Trail. Not long after passing the lower entrance roads to Rainbow, we climbed up to Kyle Canyon Road and crossed over. It was a busy Saturday morning and already hot. This week's temperatures will break records. Therefore, we did not intend to break speed records. ... And, we did not!

Stanley B Trailhead
 Along with the temperatures, several of us were paying our dues from a difficult hike the day before. It was a good day to take it easy! So, Steve and his harem of 9 women then started up the Stanley B wash. The wash had recently been liberally marked with bright pink graffiti. We just shook our heads. Maybe someone will identify the vandals and make them clean it up. When the wash junctioned with the old road crossing our path, we turned to the right. At the top of a little hill, we turned to our left onto the shortcut trail.

Hiking up Stanley B Wash
 This trail soon junctioned with the old road again where we turned to the left, again. A little more climbing brought us to the mining claim sign nailed high on a tree.

Stanley B Mine & Spring
 We sneaked around to the left to inspect the pipe spring and found water running down through the wash above the pipe, too.

Brush & Fallen Trees in Stanley B Wash

Happy Father's Day, Steve!
 We went back to the sign and went up into the right wash. Lots of water here, too. At the mine, the water was running well out of the grate. After a short pause, we started up the brush filled wash. The work that was done cutting through the brush last year is obliterated! It was quite a swim through the leaves and fallen trees. Finally, we got out of the thickest brush and continued climbing in the ravine. There were more fallen trees over the trail than last year. We should have counted them! We crossed over many! And, they were big!

Harris Peak watches the Last Steep Stretch
 Again, most of us had tired legs. The steep climb up was slow and more laborious than previous trips. It didn't seem to matter. We just laughed at our effort and kept drinking a lot of water!

Cockscomb Ridge above Stanley B Saddle
 There were so many sighs of relief when we summited the saddle and plopped in the shade, you would think that we had just swam the Pacific Ocean! (Well, not Steve. He was enjoying an easy day in the park!)

Coming down next to Ravine #1

The Log Walk
 We took an extended break with a unique view of Mummy Mountain and Cockscomb Ridge with Fletcher Canyon flowing down from their bases. Next, we found the small trail that led down into Ravine #1. This is a steep ravine that the route follows until we came to a more wooded area. A small trail goes to the left, here, and drops you gently into Ravine #2. This ravine descends as well and soon after balancing the rotting tree downwash, the ravine flows over a cliff. Just before that, there is another small trail that leads off to the left and drops hikers on a very steep traverse into Upper Fletcher Canyon proper. Be careful ... there are cliffs on the right side of this trail.

Steep Dive into Fletcher Canyon
 The trail dumped us into the stream flowing down the Fletcher Canyon wash. We crossed it and started down the small trail. Right away, we had to negotiate a small up and around of a beautiful waterfall with a ponderosa pine rising straight up above its top.

Hiking down Fletcher Canyon
 Knowing the trail pretty well, we found our way down by the water (and sometimes in the water) by crossing the stream often. Brush has grown over the path in a few places so it pays to persevere when route finding.

The Small Slot

Slippery Log Walk
We passed the small slot, a couple of campsites and other familiar landmarks. It was a somewhat slow descent due to one hiker's scrambling technique.... But, she seemed to speed up as we got closer to the upper narrows. When we got to the rabbit hole, Steve allowed each of us to grab his ankle for support and down we went through the polished rock. We handed packs through and, somehow, got out the other end smoothly. At the bottom of the Obstacle Rock area, we took a small break.

Descending a Side Trail
 All that was left was a 2 mile walk out that the coordinator promised would be hot and fast ... and it was! Hot and Fast! We passed several recreational hikers starting the hot hike at midday with babies and dogs in tow. Hmmm. And, some were not carrying water. Hmmm. Really?? Anyway, we reached the cars in fine shape with the exception of a minor twisted ankle that Steve wrapped up in doctorly fashion. We all had a great day on the trail in spite of the heat!

6 miles; 1700 feet elevation gain; 4.75 hours

Upper Narrows and the Rabbit Hole Dance

Exiting Lower Fletcher Canyon

Mad Dash through the Heat to the Cars!

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