Saturday, June 9, 2018

Upper Kyle Canyon Wash - 6/9/18

A Trail in the Woods

The Iron Skier of Old Town

Wild Horses near Ranger Station

What did you do, Rick?
 Five years ago, the Carpenter One Wildfire wiped out most of the backside of the south ridge (and a lot of the frontside)  of Charleston Peak. Immediately following the fire, a rainstorm flooded Kyle Canyon. Much of what was saved by the brave fire personnel was then wiped out by the flood. It was a determined and ferocious fight to save the small community of Mt. Charleston, Nevada nestled in the crook of upper Kyle Canyon. And, the people won! ... But, not without bringing on the necessity to reconfigure drainage ideas and rebuild houses with better fire resistance. This was all apparent as eighteen hikers returned to the trail that we have avoided for five years; the entire 4.5 miles of Kyle Canyon wash from the Echo Trailhead down to the Spring Mountains Gateway Visitor Center.

Following the Path
 Because this is a point to point hike, we took 6 cars up into the mountains and left one car at the Visitor Center. Yep, with 6 drivers, it was a very tight squeeze at the end of the hike!

Balance is the Key
 Finally ready, we hiked into the wash at the Echo Trailhead and started hiking down. We ducked under the highway bridge and crossed through.

Blue Lupine in the Forest

Walking through Old Town
 A trail comes out of the wash on the right side and we followed it through a beautiful pine wooded glade. The smells were delicious! About a quarter mile in, we saw the little building down by the road on the left. We don't know it's purpose, but it has rebar for windows and we call it the jail! Next, we returned up the embankment and continued hiking down the trail. Someone has even built a bridge over a wash on this trail and we balanced our way across. Another quarter mile and the trail entered Old Town on Aspen Avenue. This is a main gravel road that runs down between large houses on small lots. We noticed some new construction and some new improvements. There is one place where the flood had come down a wide wash and likely entered the community doing some destruction.

Wildfire Information Trail behind School
 Rest easy! The Iron Skier survived! He still hangs there in the upper part of town. At the end of the houses, we entered the school parking lot.

Rocky Caves and Alcoves
 A short quick walk through the wildfire information nature walk behind the school and we were on our way again. Next, we passed the Rainbow Loop junction and the rocky cliff area. There is no longer a swing anywhere!

Mountains across from the Campground

Hiking through Campground
 The Fletcher View Campground came next. A few hikers wanted to stop at one of its restrooms but the camp host politely shooed us away. We passed the ranger station and saw three wild horses enjoying the shade. Then, we continued further down and made our snack break at the Fletcher Canyon Trailhead in the shade of a large tree. It was a beautiful day in spite of the red flag warning! The wind never really kicked up as promised ... at least, not while we were there. And temperatures were very nice, especially in the shade.

Taking a Break at Fletcher Canyon Trailhead
 After the break, we hiked down through the picnic area on the Acastus Trail and connected with the Kyle Wash Trail.

Bridge over Kyle Canyon Wash
 This trail took us on a journey through the old cart paths of the old golf course that used to be here many years ago.

View back toward Griffith Peak

Prickly Poppies
 When the trail turns red underfoot, we turned to the left and made our way around to climb the hill up to the Visitor Center. We had finished the 4.5 miles and enjoyed every minute. The car shuttle ensued. Pleasant walk. Pleasant day. Pleasant hikers.

4.5 miles; 121 feet elevation gain; 1009 feet elevation loss; 2.75 hours

Old Golf Course with Mt. Charleston Hotel Above

Nearing the Visitor Center

Hiking through the Amphitheater

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