|Rocky Gorge Pinnacle|
|Overlook from near High Point of Hike|
|Desert Sage in Front of Misty View|
|Twelve Bundled Up Hikers|
The forecast and the radar predicted opposing views of this morning's weather. I went with the radar that showed clear skies over the mid-Lee Canyon Road area after around 10am. Twelve hikers got up to the trailhead about 10.5 miles from Hwy 95 on Lee Canyon Road around 9:30am. There was still about 30 to 45 minutes of cold sleety mist to endure before the sun started appearing. The view, nonetheless, was magical as the mountains were half shrouded by a low ceiling of clouds. We parked at the lower Blue Tree parking lot and found the trail leading down a small wash on the lower side of the trailhead. Dressed for the weather, we exclaimed how cold it was!
|Starting up the Long Switchback|
The small wash has a trail that runs down its length. Since it is an equestrian trail, there are side trails to circle around low hanging trees.
|Points of Interest|
We took note of some of the flowers nearby. The Spring Mountains are just starting to bloom out in the lower elevations.
|Almost to Top of Long Switchback|
|Hiking across to the Rocky Gorge Wash|
The weather in the Spring Mountains this year has been overwhelmingly weird! Today was Memorial Day! And, the high where we were hiking was around 47 degrees. Hmm. Well, Red Rock Canyon was a "no go." Holidays are a very bad time to hike there. In fact, the Scenic Loop at Red Rock was closed around noon today due to reaching capacity. Kyle Canyon was socked in! So, the best bet for us was the lower elevation hikes found on Lee Canyon Road. Lower Rocky Gorge Loop fit the bill and we steeled ourselves for the first mile and a half in the cold, misty, sleety, breeze. Soon we were climbing the large switchback that can be seen from the road. The trail climbs up to the ridge and follows the ridge down for a distance.
|Starting into Rocky Gorge|
Usually, we have a grand view of Charleston Peak and surrounding peaks from this ridge. Today, all we saw from here were clouds and the bottom half of snow patched mountains.
|More Rocky Gorge|
Finally, we dropped down to the small canyon in which lies Rocky Gorge. On the way down, we found an antler ... wow! (I always lose the trail here but today, I found it about half way down.)
|Break Time on a Log|
|Mummy's Nose from Wash/Trail|
As we gathered in the canyon, the sun started coming out and outer layers of clothes were shed. The route then starts climbing up the gentle slope of the canyon wash. Soon, we entered the area called Rocky Gorge. A gorge is defined as "a narrow valley between hills or mountains, typically with steep rocky walls and a stream running through it. Some of its synonyms include ravine, canyon, gully, pass, defile, couloir, and deep narrow valley." I guess Rocky Gorge passes this criteria albeit tiny in comparison to more famous gorges like Royal Gorge in Colorado. Regardless, it is a somewhat unusual occurrence in this immediate area and pretty to hike through.
|Junction where Trail turns and goes over Ridge|
The sun was out and we enjoyed following the trail up the wash with opening views of Mummy's Nose and, later, the Spring Mountain Divide. We took a break then continued a little further to find the log-lined junction that takes the trail up and over the small ridge to the right.
|Bushwhacking atop that Ridge|
At the top of the ridge, we turned left and bushwhacked on a vague trail all the way up to where it junctions with the No Mads Trail/Road. Views were beautiful from this part of the route.
|Willow Peak in Distance on the Spring Mountain Divide|
|Hiking the Ridge toward Mummy's Nose|
A left turn on the road, halfway down the steep hill, we turned left onto a cross trail marked with cairns. This trail takes you down toward Blue Tree Campground but a left fork soon takes hikers on a nice detour around the area. Next, take a right fork down to an old road and follow it straight back to the cars with one dip across a wash. Today's ending weather was a 180 flip from today's starting weather and we felt great to get back on the trail! So nice to see everyone again!
6 miles; 1100 feet elevation gain; 3 hours; average moving speed 1.9 mph
|No Mads Trail/Road|
|Starting Trail down above Blue Tree Campground|
|Hiking above Blue Tree Area|