Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Hike 2013.004B -- Icebox Canyon, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
After returning (not entirely by design) to my car from Lost Canyon, I immediately set out again for Icebox Canyon. That's the next canyon you encounter in the counterclockwise drive around the Scenic Drive.
BTW, that means Red Rock Canyon is a misnomer. It's not one canyon. It's a place where easily half-a-dozen different canyons open up out of the surrounding hills and on to a place that is undoubtedly stacked high with the alluvial materials from those many drainages. I guess, in a sense, standing in "Red Rock Canyon" means you're standing on top of the Spring Mountains, the La Madre Mountains, and the Sandstone Bluffs, all at the same time.
Once past the outcroppings, the trail heads annoyingly close to the parking area for Icebox Canyon. That means it's a longer walk that it has to be, because you give away a lot of altitude that you'll just have to gain all over again when you get on to the actual Icebox Canyon Trail.
Finally, I reached the Icebox Canyon Trail. Icebox Canyon was now above and head of me. The rocks were covered in desert varnish. (see Picture 5).
Petroglyph National Park last year.
Eventually, I reached a point where the dark stain of water seeps were on my right (See Picture 8). My impression is that many people turn around here, because, next, the trail drops into the ravine and makes a series of rocky hops, occasional scrambles, and poking of the way around obstructions in the canyon bottom to continue.
From there, you had to walk with a 10 or so foot drop off into the pool of water on your right. But the rock had somewhat level pathways, and was still pretty grippy for my lugged soles to navigate. It's not a big drop, but clearly many people stop their hike here.
Another pool of water was here, and a narrow sluice of water zipped in from another pool, above (See Picture 1).
Climbing that little falls would not be too difficult, but the exposure and possibility of a wet fall into the pool, plus seeing that there would be no further advancement beyond that pool, convinced me to enjoy this falls from below.
I returned the way I came. Just below the falls was what looked like a western redbud tree, with seed pods still hanging on (See Picture 10). I bet this place would look beautiful in the early spring, when those redbuds are in bloom.
About 4.7 miles for this segment of hiking. Moderately strenuous, except for the last 100 yards or so. That part will take a little coordination and an ability to walk along a small dropoff. Probably not dog-friendly or child-friendly for that section.