It was too hot in the valley (over 110) to do anything close to home. The altitude where I was going is only around 4000 feet but that's enough to reduce the temperature to a tolerable level. It was in the upper 90's where I started my hike. The humidity is way up, though. I had sweat trickling down my temples after a short leisurely stroll down a mild incline, and I was looking for places to get out of the sun.
Before I got out of the truck, I was driving down the road that goes past the Apache Leap trail. I got to an uphill stretch that I hadn't been able to drive up in the past. The tires just spun. I was able to drive up it without any trouble this time, though. Hooray for Michelin tires! It's always cool to finally go over the top of a ridge that you've only looked up at several times before, and finally see what's on the other side.
I decided to continue along the road as far as I could. The road split near the stock tank in the previous picture. I took the left fork because the right fork looked rougher that what I wanted to drive on. Well, the left fork was just as rough, but I couldn't see that part at first. It was one vehicle wide. It would be impossible to turn around. It kept getting steeper and rougher. I was afraid I might have to back all the way down. I was just hoping that I would find a place to turn around and get out of there before I encountered somebody going the other direction. It turns out that that section of road is only a quarter mile long, is a dead end with a lot of room to turn around, and I was the only person to drive on it since the last rain (maybe a day or two earlier). When I got to the top, I decided that would be a good place to hike around a little and get some pictures.
I was wandering along mostly aimlessly taking pictures of rocks and plants when I noticed a faint trail and a cairn. It headed into the canyon to the east. There were large trees at the bottom of the canyon and I thought I could hear a waterfall. Maybe the trail ends at a pool of cool water and I can go swimming.
As the trail descended, it also headed towards a stone column. At first I thought that was coincidental.
When I got to the base of the stone column, the trail just ended. That seemed really strange. Why come out here and just stop? It looked like a fair amount of people had been out here since spring. They had trampled the grass. They had hacked through bushes. They had built cairns. I looked more closely at the column and thought I could see why they had been there. I zoomed in with the camera and confirmed my suspicion.
I guess the rock climbers don't climb this time of year. That column would not be a good place to be during a thunderstorm. Click below to see all of the pictures.