Saturday, October 20, 2018

Fletcher Canyon via Acastus Trail - 10/20/18

Fletcher Canyon Narrows

Down Fletcher Canyon Trail

Ponderosa and Fletcher Peak

Descent from Trailhead
 I'm back!!! 😙Long trip! ... So, we don't usually do hikes up in the Spring Mountains this late in the year but the temperatures are staying "just right" and we still have hikes scheduled there. Today's hike was a 7 mile version of Fletcher Canyon via the Acastus Trail. This version uses the top tier of the Resort parking lot for its trailhead. Five hikers parked there and hiked up Kyle Canyon Road for a short distance, then went around a gate and descended a steep hill that used to be part of the old golf course. At the bottom of the hill, we made our way across Kyle Canyon Wash and over to the Acastus Trail where the red gravel meets the gray gravel. A right turn put us on the way up to Fletcher Canyon Trailhead via the Acastus Trail. All of us were similar in conditioning so we started up at a decent pace.

The Acastus Trail
 There was still fall color on the trees down near the wash and the color extended into the shadows of the mountain sides. There was a lovely blue sky!

Through the Campground
 The Acastus Trail is dotted with information signs that deliver facts about the Spring Mountians. After the gravel trail ran out, we hiked through a picnic/campground area.

Acastus Trail Information Signs

Passing the Fletcher Canyon Trailhead
 Finally, we came to the Fletcher Canyon Trailhead and stopped for a restroom break. There were very few cars in the parking lot here. We crossed the road where they have painted nice new crosswalk lines and headed up the Fletcher Canyon Trail. On our way, we puzzled over which peak above us was Fletcher Peak. There is one point from the trail that made it very clear which peak is the familiar destination. We stopped a few times but, again, we were all looking for a workout that matched our abilities. (As far as moi goes, I had to work to keep up at times after my trip with very little exercise!) Soon, we were entering the narrows of the tall canyon walls.

Hiking up Fletcher Canyon Trail
 The trail stays on the left side of the canyon but use trails have been made in the wash to the right. We stayed on the left and got the extra exercise of going up and down the small hills.

Through the Trees
 The sun was beginning to reach into the narrow rock walls making photo metering difficult.

Into the Narrows

Fletcher Canyon Narrows
 But, the shadows made the experience a little more eery. It would be a nice place for a Halloween hike! We hiked and scrambled up the familiar trail taking note of the dead and dried up Rough Angelica (aka Mt. Charleston Angelica). The end of the narrows is blocked by a very large boulder that got stuck in a narrow opening, eons ago, that everyone calls Obstacle Rock. This is the traditional ending to the Fletcher Canyon hike. Although, there is a rabbit hole that provides entrance up to the canyon above the boulder. For today's hike, we stopped here and had our break talking about club business. When we had just gotten up to leave, a few young people were hiking in with rock music blasting. Hmmm. What's the point of hiking? Just go to the gym. Other people like to hear the loud music there!

Obstacle Rock
Luckily, we got out of earshot very quickly within the limestone walls.

Slippery Water Chute (Dry)
 Our trip down canyon went quickly as it seemed the pace picked up. What a beautiful place this is!

Descending out the Narrows

Autumn Color on the Fletcher Canyon Trail
 We reached the Fletcher Canyon Trailhead and crossed the bridge over to the Acastus Trail. A left turn took us back down next to the wash. We passed through the campground again and connected to what used to be signed "Kyle Wash Trail" at the end of the picnic area. Now, they just call the whole thing Acastus Trail. When we came to the red gravel, we turned to the left onto our old part of the golf cart path. It's a messy crossing of the wash then we hiked up the steep cart path hill. At the road, we turned to the right and returned to our cars. Beautiful morning!

7 miles; 1100 feet elevation gain; 3.5 hours

Autumn Color on the Acastus Trail

Approaching Today's Trailhead

View down Canyon from Road Climb

Does not reflect today's trailhead.

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