Sunday, May 6, 2018

Macks Canyon Loop - 5/5/18

Macks Canyon Road

Desert View

Mummy Mountain & Lee Peak

Yellow Trail
We can say with truth and clarity that there is no snow in the Macks Canyon Road area! Trying to escape the heat of the lower elevations, seven hikers drove up Lee Canyon Road to the Sawmill Trailhead to do a simple hike of 6.25 miles utilizing the Macks Canyon Road corridor. It was our first foray into the Spring Mountains NRA of the season and the temperatures were already hot. We were anxious to get up there and see how our high elevation tolerance felt. Starting at the 7200 foot level, we reached 8000 feet twice before the morning hike was done. (On our way up 95, we saw a small coyote carrying a breakfast of rabbit in its jaws. Probably had babies to feed.)

Starting Up Macks Canyon Road
It doesn't sound like much but we felt the elevation change on the first few small ascents. But, by the end of the hike, we were acclimating to this relatively low elevation.

Previously a Rough Spot on the Road

Pause at the Desert Overlook
Our hike began by taking the Yellow Trail from the Sawmill TH. We connected over to Macks Canyon Road then hiked the road to its low point about 3 miles in. There were several campers along the road that were just getting up and making breakfast. As we hiked, we noticed that the road has been improved. A scraping and an overlay of small gravel has helped it a lot. (There is still a rough section as you are descending into the canyon but it is also somewhat improved.) At the low point of the road, there is a very small roundabout on the right side of the road. This is the trail junction we sought. It is a connector trail to the Mud Springs Trail.

Past Sisters Spur Road
We hiked out this trail to the Mud Springs Trail junction and noted the hanging bird sculpture thing on the tree. Then, we turned to the right and headed up the switchback on the berm.

Macks Peak from Road

Heading out to Mud Springs Trail
After crossing the saddle, we took our break among the trees. Intending to find that illusive bushwhack route up to the road again, we started out up the wash. Instead, we ended up much further down the road than we wanted and had to climb up the road from there. (We saw a deer on the way.) To finish the hike, we returned the way we had come with the exception of taking that shortcut over the hill inside the road's hairpin turn. Great weather! Great air! Great company!

6 miles; 1100 feet elevation gain; 2.75 hours

A New Trail Bird at Junction

Switchback up Berm

Break on the Bushwhack

Intended Loop Route

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