Sunday, February 17, 2013

A maze of canyons

For various reasons, I wound up going for a hike near Mesquite Flat. It's pays to be flexible. It's a good idea to have several hiking destinations in mind. Anyway, I was planning to hike up a creek bed and see how far I could go.

It started out OK. Just a little water here and there.

I hadn't gone too far before I got to a spot where it was not possible to continue upstream without wading. I know that because I tried to go around on both sides. Some guys in the creek bed told me I would be able to climb down in one spot but it looked too risky from where I was.

A large puddle. Actually, it was flowing. Puddles don't flow, right?

I was about to take off my shoes and start wading when one of the guys pointed out that the next puddle looked deeper. I'm glad he mentioned that. I had gone as far as I was going to go in the creek bed.

People enjoying a beautiful day in the desert. In the dark shadow upstream of them is a deep puddle.

So I headed up to the top of the nearest ridge. This area is all narrow, steep-sided canyons with narrow ridges between them. I didn't know how far I would be able to go along the ridge. Some of them end abruptly. I thought I was at the end several times but was able to keep going when I got a closer look at the "end". I also thought about descending into a canyon and following a creek bed out of there. I didn't do that because I didn't feel energetic enough to retrace my steps if I came to a dead end, though.

If you are down in the canyons, you can't see very far and it's hard to tell where you are. Well, you could use GPS, but where's the adventure in that?

Shortly after I started heading north along the ridge, I spotted another solitary hiker. This person was wearing camo and carrying a tripod. Looked like a serious nature photographer. In looking at the pictures later, I decided the photographer must be female, too. At least I've never seen a guy with hair that nice.

A solitary hiker, possibly looking for critters to photograph.

There are some scenic mountains to the south.

As so often happens when I go wandering semi-aimlessly, I came across some cairns. I accidentally followed them for a while. They were going the same way I was. I wonder why people build cairns along a ridge that you couldn't descend from if you wanted to or along the bottom of canyons that you couldn't get out of even if a pack of javelinas was inviting you to dinner (as an entree). You can't wander off the trail, so why say "Here's the trail"?

A moot cairn.

I found a small stone "arch". I couldn't get a good picture of it so I made a video.

Video of a small stone arch.

More of the maze.

More moot cairns.

Click below to see all of the pictures.


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