Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A different view of Canyon Lake

I've always wanted to see what Canyon Lake looks like further upstream. I looked into renting a boat but that is outrageously expensive. I think about buying a kayak but I worry that the lake might be much larger from the perspective of a kayaker. Then there's the obvious solution; hike. I've looked at that area on maps and Google Earth, and there's even what looks like a road going where I want to go. I've hiked along that road two or three times but always turned back before I got very far because of heat, approaching darkness, or gnats. Well, this is another one of those "while I can" hikes, and the weather is perfect this time of year, so off I went.

It still hasn't dried up completely since the last rain.

I always take lots of pictures of this mountain when I'm in this area.

I figured I would follow the road as far as it went, and then see if I could get to the top of a nearby hill that should overlook that part of the lake. It turns out that it really is a road. At least I think it might be. It's very lightly traveled. It had one set of recent tire tracks when I was out there. They were so fresh, I thought I might find a truck at the end of the road.

Here's a saguaro and that mountain.

Before I even got to the end of the road, I started to worry about how late it was getting. I couldn't turn back, though. I had flashlights I could use on the way back if I had to. When I got to the end of the road I could see that it would be easy to get to the top of the hill that was my destination. As I was going up the hill (a gentle slope with only minor obstructions), I came across a freshly chewed prickly pear pad. I figured that meant that there were javelinas nearby. A few steps later I was walking around a prickly pear when a dead paloverde branch tried to push me into the prickly pear. I pushed back and the branch snapped with a loud crack. That set off the javelinas that had been standing quietly about 100 feet from me. They snorted and stomped and snorted and stomped away down a ravine. All but one, that is, and it hung around a few seconds so I could get a picture. Grunting javelinas sound a lot like guys in their 20's that are trying to sound like cave men. The next time I see some I think I'll grunt like they do and see what happens. Some javelinas, that is. Hmm, maybe they'll feel challenged and charge me.

Javelina wondering what all the fuss is about.

I went up the side of the hill that didn't have a view of the lake, but the view was impressive. I was distracted by it for a while before I got over the top of the hill.

A nice view before I reached my destination.

At last I got to the top of the hill and the view of the lake was as impressive as I had imagined it might be for the past 5 years.

A view of Canyon Lake that few people see. No, boaters don't see it, because they don't climb this hill.

The view is also very impressive to the north of the lake.

The road.

I wanted to hurry on the way back. The sun officially set about 20 minutes before I got back to the truck. I couldn't hurry much, though. I've slipped a couple of times in the past on that road. By the time I got to the steep downhill parts during this hike my legs were pretty tired, so I was moving kind of slow. It was 4.9 miles round trip, with about 1200 feet of ups and downs. The views were well worth the hike but next time I might see if I can drive on that road. Click below for all of the pictures.



Ty Griffin said...

Hey Art -- Here's a quick note to say that somebody is reading and enjoying your posts. Keep up the good work!

Art Brown said...

Thanks, Ty. It's good to hear that somebody is reading it. Now I know of at least two!