25 September 2009

An End-of-Summer Bushwacking Trip through Carbon Canyon

I can't think of a better way to spend your wedding anniversary than thrashing through dried out prickly sunflowers and other man-eating (or nearly so) chapparal on a hot day in Carbon Canyon. Yet, that's precisely what my wife and I did last Sunday.

I'd been told there was a hiking trail that led out the lower west end of Sleepy Hollow and then doubled back up the hillside toward the back end of the community. So, we set out mid-morning and did, indeed, find a trail, but one that was not at all maintained and, because of the growth since the November 2008 fires, was "highly vegetated," meaning overgrown.

We actually took the wrong route initially and followed a little path that led to an old tin building that had collapsed and been flattened over who knows how long and then came to a very pretty spot along Carbon [Canyon] Creek, along the south side of Carbon Canyon Road. The water (and whatever is in it!) trickled down over the sandstone exposed along the base of the hills and meandered westward.

We then doubled back to catch the "trail" (so-called) and plowed our way through the mass of bushes, shrubs and weeds, hopping over some steep gullies coming down from the tops of the hills and running down toward the creek. Finally, we hit a point where it was obvious that we had long ago lost the "trail" (so-called) and decided to simply scramble in a zig-zag pattern up the hillside until we hit a fire or utility access road. Sure enough we did, although it hadn't evidently been used for years, and got up to the main ridge road.

From there, scratched, gouged, poked, prodded, pierced, scraped, abraded, graded and jaded, we walked back home vowing only to use the trails and roads that we know are regularly used and in good condition!

Of course, there were some good aspects of our little adventure: the solitude and quiet, seeing that there is some greenery coming back on many of the fire-scarred trees and shrubs (although there are invasives, too, to be concerned about) and the views from the ridge are always a treat. The above photos, taken last Sunday the 20th, are a sampling of what was seen on the walk.

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