Sunday, January 8, 2012

Not in a Hiking Guide Book

My new hiking partner David and I set off to explore the canyons on the north-west corner of Rock Lake. We did not find what we were looking for but we had a grand adventure. The area had been burned in 2008 and subsequently logged of all the big trees. The canyons were steep without trails other than some game trails up above the scree slopes. The bottoms were treacherously filled with boulders covered in slippery moss. However under one I spotted a curved shape and found it was a bighorn sheep horn (along with ribs, vertebrate and a jaw bone). It was quite old and relatively soft as I cleaned it off the best that I could. We dubbed the interesting rock formation along the base of the top wall the "Elephant Rock". The game trail went right through this natural formation!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Escure Ranch January 2nd, 2012

I couldn't stand it! The sun was out. It was above 40 degrees. There was nothing pressing to do at home. So I headed south to Escure Ranch, an old sheep ranch that is now under BLM management. It has been on my to-do hiking list for quite some time. I was not disappointed to say the least. The last 2.5 miles to the ranch itself was a bit rough but not for my RAV4. You descend into the canyon with Rock Creek at the base and a nice parking lot with one of those concrete-bomb-shelter bathrooms, pic-nic tables and even a fire pit. There were a couple of vehicles there and a grandfather and his grandson were just leaving after pheasant hunting. They were very friendly but left empty handed.

I headed over the steel and wood bridge to the ranch itself. You have to go through the complex of corrugated steel clad buildings to get to the trails. These trails are essentially the old ranch roads but after hiking through waist and shoulder height weeds the last two hikes in this general area I was appreciative. Those other 'trails' would not be the place to be in the spring with ticks and rattle snakes everywhere.

The sun came out again when I got into the canyons proper about a mile into my walk. All alone in the desert. Not a bad thing at all.