Friday, November 22, 2013

Hike 2013.053A -- Rain in Red Rock Canyon (Calico Hills and Lost Canyon Waterfalls)

Hiked Friday, November 22. Drove out from the L.A. area, leaving around 9am and arriving at Red Rock Canyon NCA around 2pm. It rained all the drive between the Cajon Pass and Red Rock Canyon--heavy at times, light at times, but constant rain.

Upon arriving at Red Rock, the temperatures were also lower than I expected. The forecast I checked yesterday said low 50s, but my car thermometer said low 40s. Still, in jeans, a sweater and a shell, I was plenty comfortable, though not entirely dry.
My plan for the day was to drive to Lost Canyon, for sure. However, as I passed the Calico II parking area, I looked to the east and saw amazing ribbons of white water, funneling through the low spots on the Calico Hills. I don't have my topo map to give the altitude range, but I'm figuring that's at least 500 feet of vertical, and several thousand feet (at least a 1/2 mile) of horizontal the waters were running down. It almost looked like Kauai from a helicopter, except the water was running over red rocks rather than green rain forest.

The next spot I could park at was Sandstone Quarry, where I started my Turtlehead Peak hike, back in January.

From Sandstone Quarry, I headed to the south side of the lot, where I saw a sign for the trail heading back down towards Calico II. This soon dropped me down to where I left the Calico Hills Trail, from my Calico Hills Hike, back in September. I suspect if I go through my pictures form that hike, I'll be able to find the dry ravines where the water was sluicing through today.

This was only about 1/2 from Sandstone Quarry, so it was a pretty short hike. And, unfortunately, with a lack of any good objects to present a sense of scale, the size of these transitory waterfalls is hard to grasp in the pictures. But, trust me: They were big!

You can sort of see in the third picture (which is a zoom on to part of the second picture) that the volume of water coming over the cliff is broad and white. It's probably a 30 or 40 foot drop. Yet it pales in size next to the entire ribbon of water in the second photo.

After returning to my car, I drove to Lost Canyon trailhead. Clouds edged around the mountain tops, which were covered in what seemed like a lot of snow. Later on the news, I heard 13 inches had fallen at Mt. Charleston ski resort by 5pm, with more coming down.

From Lost Canyon Trailhead, it's a short .7 of a mile each way. I hiked this area in February, which is still normally pretty early in the season. However, then, Lost Canyon Falls was just a seep.

Today, it was a sweet little falls. Still, the water broke apart on the way down, reduced to almost a mist by the time it reach the bottom of the drop.

These two hikes together are still well under my normal 3 mile distance to qualify as a hike. I'll have to add several miles tomorrow to make my accumulated number for the weekend count. Shouldn't be hard to do.

My plan is for an early start, so I can catch some snow (perhaps) on the red rocks. Of course, too early and the road may still be icy!

No comments:

Post a Comment