|Charleston Peak from Cathedral Rock Overlook|
|Rough Angelica on Trail Leaving Little Falls|
|Cathedral Rock from Echo Trail|
|Enjoying Echo Trail|
The rough angelica, or Charleston Mountain angelica, is having a great year in the Spring Mountains NRA. There are about 60 species of angelica and the Spring Mountains have their very own!
Angelica is a genus of about 60 species of tall biennial and perennial herbs in the family Apiaceae, native to temperate and subarctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere, reaching as far north as Iceland, Lapland and Greenland. They grow to 1–3 m (3 ft 3 in–9 ft 10 in) tall, with large bipinnate leaves and large compound umbels of white or greenish-white flowers. ~ Wikipedia
|Bruce hikes through Rough Angelica|
Today, eight club members parked at the Echo Trailhead deep in Kyle Canyon and started up the hill. This trail may be considered a "back door" to Little Falls, Cathedral Rock and the South Loop Trail.
After bearing to the right at the rock path, we took a left turn at the fork on the top of the hill. This took us down to a signed junction. We turned to the right to visit Little Falls.
|Laurie and Mark leaving Little Falls|
|Hogweed - (gardeningknowhow.com)|
It's a good short climb up to the Little Falls slot cut. As we neared the cliff wall, we dove into a huge patch of rough angelica that lines the trail. Little Falls doesn't usually have much water except for the springtime, but it is a pretty vertical flow of cliffs, rocks and logs. However, it does seem to be a magnate for graffiti. Not sure why. Money, power, sex ... ? (Only one of those is important.) Anyway, if you look past the graffiti you will find a few specimens of Precambrian fossils on the walls. We left the slot to pass through the angelicas again thinking that they were similar to hogweed and possibly poisonous to touch. Not so. The appearance of the two plants are similar but not alike as seen in the photos to the left. What a relief! 😐
After swimming through the plants that had bees (very busy bees) all over them, we went back down the trail to the Echo Trail junction. We passed the junction and continued down, up and over to the Cathedral Rock Trail.
|Return to Echo Trail Junction|
There is a trail that drops before this if you need to pass by the official Cathedral Rock Trailhead ... (think restrooms).
|Hiking up Cathedral Rock Trail|
There is another signed junction at the Cathedral Rock Trail and we turned right to start up the long switchbacks up the former avalanche field of Mazie Canyon. This avalanche happened in 2005.
|Hiking through the Aspens - Cathedral Rock in Background|
|Visit to Echo Falls|
It is a good climb up the 6 or 7 switchbacks but we took it at a slow steady pace. Every once in a while, we would glance around for the views. And, sometimes, we would glance up to check on the cloud situation. Both set of glances gleaned excellence so onward we went until we reached the switchback corner at Echo Falls junction. (There is a bench at this junction.) We turned left and took the short hike to the base of Echo Falls. It had even less water than Little Falls but, again, it is a pretty display of verticle cliffs, rocks and logs! A couple of the hikers went up the side to check the intermediate pool level of the falls. The wash above leads to the South Loop Trail.
|Sunlight on Cathedral Rock - Fletcher Peak in Background|
We returned to the Cathedral Rock Trail and continued up. Around another corner and we were finally at the section of trail that is more level. We saw Cathedral Rock rising to our right.
|Approaching top of Cathedral Rock|
The trail curves around to the right toward the huge rock outcropping. (An abandoned road forks off to the left here.)
|Charleston Peak from Cathedral Rock|
|Kyle Canyon from Cathedral Rock|
We passed through a wooded saddle area then started up onto the rock. There are steps involved but the path is safe and recently maintained. At the top, we curved around and arrived at the overlook area for our break. We had at least one newbie today and he was impressed. The light was good for photos up canyon. Down canyon, the morning sun was coming in brightly. Regardless, the whole vista deserved photos as we watched the little tiny clouds grow slightly bigger and darker. Determined not to be rushed, we enjoyed a good break on the top of Cathedral Rock.
|Harris Peak, Harris Saddle, South Loop Trail, and The Vatican|
To leave the rock, we circled around the back side of the top and caught the trail down. Back at the wooded saddle area, we turned right and connected with the abandoned road.
Although this part of the hike isn't as interesting, it is very pretty and adds a little flat walking to the "interval training" of the hike.
|Circling the top of the Rock|
|The Abandoned Road to Manhole Cover|
The road also leads to three points of interest: a manhole cover, a little used very strenuous trail that climbs to the South Loop, and a view of the top of Little Falls. The manhole is/was used for piping in water to the canyon below. You see old piping lying around all over Kyle Canyon and this is part of that system. Then, we returned to the Cathedral Rock Trail, descended and crossed back over to the Echo Trailhead. During that time, we enjoyed views of the canyon and watched the clouds. Just as we reached our cars, we heard a very distant thunder rumble. Good timing. Enjoyed the morning.
6 miles; 1525 feet elevation gain; 3 hours
|Manhole used for old Waterworks|
|Cathedral Rock & Mummy's Toe from Descent|
|Home Free on Echo Trail|