Thursday, August 23, 2012
A very challenging 4.5 miles were trod by twelve determined hikers today. Sadly, Marbles, the dog, did not come out to play as we passed by her house. However, we began our climb up Rainbow Canyon ... and we climbed and we climbed. This small trail is very steep rising 1500 elevation feet over the course of only 1.25 miles. There was only one person on the hike that had not climbed this trail before and he was wishing it on his worst enemy by the time he got to the saddle!
We gathered at the saddle where we could see over to Lovell Canyon then turned left to hike along the Harris Springs Trail for only about 100 feet. Another left turn onto another small trail took us up along the ridge that climbed Harris Peak. This climb was just about as steep as Rainbow Canyon but, thankfully, shorter. It is easy to lose the trail on this part of the climb but we were warned that we would climb over the first hump, dip down a little, then begin climbing the real peak. We all made it to the top with help from the old timer. Many fossils lay all over the peak and we all wrote in the log book. The views are fantastic.
The descent was a conglomeration of success and confusion. A few of the hikers got off on the wrong direction as the small trail was difficult to find sometimes. When we began descending Rainbow Canyon, the torrents of rain that we received the day before came into play. The trail was muddy and slippery. We were as careful as we could be and if anyone sees the old timer up there wandering around, let us know.
Sunday, August 19, 2012
First, we climbed to the top of Cathedral Rock and took in the beautiful morning view of Kyle Canyon and Mt. Charleston. From there, we hiked over to the manhole cover on a trail that turns off of the Cathedral Rock Trail at the bottom of the final rock climb.
While two hikers returned from the manhole cover the way they came up, the remaining three hikers continued on. They were hoping to find the right route down past Little Falls and meet up with Echo Trail. We hope they made it down before 11:00am as that was when it appeared that the Spring Mountains, once again, got rain. (The monsoons seem very active this year.)
Saturday, August 18, 2012
During the climb on the switchbacks, the hiker can see across the canyon to the wall on the other side. In the vicinity of Big Falls, the limestone wall is fraught with interesting formations that occurred at the time this area was "built" many millions (or zillions) of years ago.
Friday, August 17, 2012
On August 15, 2012, eight hikers that had participated in Brian Dodd's training series showed up at Santa Fe Stations at 5:45am for the training series finale. Two other non-participants got permission to tag along making a total of ten hikers. The plan was to start up Trail Canyon to the North Loop Trail and onto the summit of Mount Charleston. From their we would go down the South Loop Trail to the Cathedral Rock parking lot where we had positioned some vehicles to pick up the hikers. When we got to the trail head their was a non-member who had gone on several other hikes with AtBF but did not participate in Brian's training series. She asked if she could join us. Brian, having no knowledge of the hikers abilities, declined but said it was a free country and if she wanted to hike on the same trail with us that was alright. So we had one more hiker with us, who wasn't really with us (confusing isn't it?). We started up Trail Canyon taking breaks every hour to allow everyone to catch up. Brian was the last hiker making sure everyone was OK. Everyone did a great job and we reached the summit at 11:30am. We had our snack break, took the obligatory photos and started down.
Along the South Loop Trail there are several meadow areas where this author spotted four or five Mount Charleston butterflies. When we reached the saddle on the South Loop Trail, two hikers expressed an interest to continue up to the summit of Griffith Peak. They assured Brian that they could catch up with the group before they reached the parking lot. Brian agreed and off they went to bag two peaks in one day! After reaching Griffith Peak the two hikers started down the South Loop Trail and veered off on the old South Loop Trail to try to catch up with the group. This strategy worked well and the two hikers actually passed several hikers before the old trail met up with the new trail. Everybody reached the parking lot except one hiker. The sweeper assured everyone that the last hiker was just coming down the trail. Well, we waited several minutes and the last hiker didn't show up. The sweeper went back up the trail to see what had happened. The last hiker was finally located and made it back to the parking lot. Everyone was very pleased to have accomplished their goals and Brian got many Thank You's as we got in our cars for the trip back.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
The ten hikers must have broken some sort of record getting down from Raintree all the way to the Trail Canyon trailhead! We just didn't care to get all wet! Anyway, on our way down we passed four horse and riders. Aren't they beautiful animals?