Sunday, April 15, 2012

East of Tortilla Flat, again

I thought I might try to get to the yellow hills east of Tortilla Flat. I could have planned a route and entered that route in my GPS receiver and gone straight to the hills, but that wouldn't have been as much fun as just going in the direction I thought I needed to go and seeing where I wound up. I knew which canyon I would start in, but beyond that I would play it by ear.

Starting canyon. Rocks and bushes. I hoped it wouldn't be like this all the way.

It places, it was very easy walking.

There were places in the canyon where it looked like it might not be too difficult to go up one side and check out the surroundings, to see if I was headed in the right direction. That would be cheating, though, and would also have been tiring. I thought I could see the yellow hills now and then. At the first fork I came to, I tried going to the right first. I didn't go very far up that fork before I came to thick brush. I wimped out and turned back. It turns out that was probably the route I should have taken to get to the hills. I was more interested in seeing what was out there than in reaching a specific destination, though, so it's no big deal.

Should I push through all this stuff....

... or walk along here? I'll take the easy path this time.

I took another fork or two that didn't work out. In one I was blocked by a large puddle. Eventually, I decided that it was late enough that I would need to turn back soon, so I decided to climb up one of the sides and see what the view was like. As I started up the solid rock canyon wall, it was pretty steep. Steep enough to make me a little nervous. The good thing about being on solid rock that steep is that all the loose rocks fall off of it. The surface is bare. Traction is good. I slipped twice (but didn't fall) on the way back down later in spots that weren't nearly as steep but were covered with pebbles that rolled under the hard soles of my shoes. Mushier soles would be safer but my feet would hurt.

Looking back while on the way up.

Anyway, on the way up I came across a couple of cairns. I couldn't see any hint of a trail, though, and I couldn't find more cairns by looking around, so I don't know where they led. I'm pretty sure that I left the route they followed because I came to a dead end. It was a scenic dead end, though. I made a composite panorama there that shows the view. I uploaded it to the web album full size so you can zoom way in.

After getting a few pictures up there, I decided it was getting late enough that I should hurry back. As cloudy as it was, it was going to be too dark for pictures soon, anyway. Click below to see all of the pictures.


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