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Sunday, January 21, 2018

Hellacious Hike

Windmill at the trailhead
When Dr. K, Becca and I got out of our Jeep near the Bar Canyon trailhead in Soledad Canyon two women and a black dog were headed back to their car.  Since the area had been opened for only a few minutes we figured the strong wind and cold temperature had forced them to give up their hike.  This was confirmed when one of the women said to us, "If it wasn't for the wind it would be okay for a hike, but the wind is too strong."  And it was pretty awful; for a while during the first leg of our trek we thought about the possibility of turning back.  However, being the seasoned outdoor enthusiasts we are we decided to soldier on.  Becca was certainly up for it, totally enjoying the hike.  Whenever we crossed into sunlight the conditions improved, but the wind never abated.  About a third of the way along the loop trail we encountered a woman taking photographs in an arroyo, and a short while later we crossed paths with a man we assumed was her companion.  With the exception of three hikers we saw on the loop trail from our position in the heights the man and woman were the only people we ran into in the canyon.  The final leg of the hike was the worst:  little sunlight and a brutally cold, biting wind.  There was only one other vehicle in the parking lot when we got back, a black Jeep Rubicon that had undoubtedly carried the three hikers we saw on the loop trail.  Despite the weather conditions we enjoyed our sojourn in Soledad Canyon, and I got some good photos there this morning.
Just getting started into Soledad Canyon

Steep slopes here

Becca catching some rays

Waiting for two pokey hikers

Organ Mountains in Soledad Canyon

Junipers in the grassland

Headed into higher territory

Sotols growing along the slope

Steep stretch of trail

Very deep arroyo (right)

Stubby Sotol along the trail

Massive rock outcrops

Looking down canyon

Another look at these rock outcrops

And another

Sotols and a needle

For perspective:  Tortugas Mountain (center) is 4,931 feet

On the loop trail around the outcrops

Becca leading the way

The formation I call "Casita Grande"

Broader view of Casita Grande

Another view down canyon

Casita Grande

Casita Grande

I believe this is a Dark-Eyed Junco (male Oregon variety)

Dark-Eyed Juncon, Oregon (Junco hyemalis)

Another view of Casitas Grande

Sinuous mountains

Trail out of Soledad Canyon

Rock formations near the trailhead

1 comment:

Dr. K said...

It sure was a brutal hike, but I'm glad you got some gorgeous photos out of it.

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