Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Return to the Dutchman's Trail

Sunday was an absolutely beautiful day. High of about 70, nice cool breeze, almost no clouds. It was a perfect day for another attempt at the Dutchman's trail.

The Mexican Gold Poppies were gone but there were lots of prickly pear flowers. They all had honey bees and other bugs in them.

I loaded up on water and headed out there. The parking lot was full; I got the last space. I saw a lot of people on the trail again this time. I guess it's just a popular area.

People and horses on the trail.

I found myself taking pictures of exactly the same things I had taken pictures of the last time I was out there. I tried to keep moving instead of getting a lot of duplicate pictures.

There are lots of colors of cholla flowers.

There aren't quite as many ocotillo flowers here as near Mesquite Flat.

I didn't have any trouble going beyond where I had to turn back before. The trail got steeper and rocky but it was still easier than most off-trail hiking. I easily got to the intersection with the Whiskey Spring trail, which was how far I had hoped to be able to go. Shadows were getting long, though. I did some quick calculations and determined that if I didn't stop a lot, it would be dark when I got back to the parking lot. Even though I was at the halfway point in a loop and on heavily traveled trails, I didn't want to be in unfamiliar territory after sunset. The risk of being lost was low, but if there was anything cool there, there wouldn't be enough light to get pictures. Also, I would be getting very hungry by then and the temperature would be dropping. The only thing to do was to go back the way I came.

A view of Picketpost Mountain.

I think I went too fast on the way back. My ankle was pretty sore the next day. I was really tired the last mile or so (it was an 8.6 mile hike) and wanted to sit down and rest a few minutes when I came to a nice sitting rock, but then I would get to an uphill stretch and it felt so good to be going uphill for a change I didn't want to stop. Then I would get to a downhill stretch and it felt so good to be going downhill for a change I didn't want to stop. I made pretty good time getting back to the trailhead.

The parking lot was almost empty when I got back.

I made a few large panoramas again. I put them on Panoramio and not my web album, so if you want to see those go to my Panoramio page. Click below to see all of the other pictures.


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