January 21st, 2017 ~ Day 302
Heading out to Lake Pleasant to do a Meetup with HHH, which didn’t start until ten am, I decided to hike before the Meetup on a trail I did a few years ago while camping out here at Lake Pleasant. After all the recent rain, it was a surprise to see bright beautiful skies! It was a beautiful day for a hike…or two. ☺
Starting out on the Pipeline Canyon Trail, from the south cove, I was excited to go and explore a trail I could somewhat remeber. Since it has been a few years, I didn’t really remember how beautiful this place was. The dirt so rich and red with the green plants and cacti surrounding me on the trail, so beautiful!
Hiking up high along a ridge, you could see the water from a stream below. So much water was pouring into the lake, from the mountains above and the recent rains.
After only half a mile, I made it to the beautiful blue water. My plan was to go as far as I could in the time I had before my next hike, but to my surprise, the bridge we hiked across last time I was here, was gone. Just disappeared. (I found out later it had been washed away last summer.)
The trail ended at the water and there was no where to go except back from where I came, unless I was going to swim across the lake to get to the trail on the other side. I decided, today that wasn’t going to be an option.
I enjoyed the lake a short while. Looking out across the water and it’s beauty. Since I was unable to go any further, I turned around to head back uphill. It was then I really noticed the green grass against the red dirt. The contrast so stark with the bright and vibrant colors.
Heading uphill, I was able to catch a better view of the stream making its way to the lake. The water a little more murky from this vantage point, reminded me of brackish water leading into the ocean.
I made it back to the trailhead with only a mile under my feet. Crossing over the parking lot to capture a picture of the lake with the sun shining brightly on the water. I was trying to kill time before I headed to the north cove.
Driving from one trail to the next, heading north on the road, I saw snow. Barely visible in this photo, but I could see it. I love the view from my dashboard. Another passion of mine, road trips, to see all that I can see. Looking out through the window of your car, can be like a picture frame, depending on where you are. Exploring new areas and seeing new things can be an amazing experience if you allow it to be.
I made it to the north cove early. Luckily the ranger, Terry, was there and I was given the opportunity to ask all kinds of questions. I learned more about how to become a volunteer for the Maricopa County Parks. Did you know, if you are a volunteer for 20 hours a week, you get to live there for free? I’d love the opportunity to try it and one day I will.
Today’s hike is a guided tour of the park with Naturalist Frank. We began our hike on the Cottonwood Trail. (Notice the sign says Pipeline Canyon Trail? This is where I could have ended my hike, had there been a bridge.)
The clouds began to form and it began to get a little dark. Only pockets of blue skies on the north cove. I pulled out my rain jacket to keep warm also just in case it started to rain. It was a little chilly and I didn’t want to get wet and make it worse.
Frank talked about the plants and stopping often he would described them. He also spoke of what he called “Hell’s Canyon”. Across the road there is an area, about five miles in, with amazing views, rich in history and rarely explored. A great backpacking trip. One that I will be doing, some day.
When Eric and I were in Lake Havasu a couple weeks ago, I saw this thing on the Creosote Bush. I had never seen it before, and when I saw it today I had to ask Frank what it was. He said it was a gall and described how insects and bees implant their larva in the stems. A protective barrier from predators, they feed off the plant until it’s time for them to break their way out of the gall. I found it interesting to learn more about my favorite plant.
I was able to capture the snow covered peak, the snow I had seen on my drive to the north cove. I learned these were the Bradshaw Mountains up in the Crown King area. While Phoenix receive rain, they received snow.
We came the Cottonwood Creek flowing with amazing force. Rarely does it flow. Usually we find dried creek beds here in Phoenix. A wonderful sight to behold! We hung out here for a little while, enjoying the water.
This is where we decided to end our hike, rather than walking through the river to get to the trail on the other side. We headed back from where we came, making it a two mile hike overall.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to come out here on a nature hike and learn a little bit more about the desert surrounding me. I’ve never given myself the chance to do something like this. A nice relaxing slow paced hike, made fore a beautiful day on the trail.