Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Hell Hole Canyon

Southern California has so many great places to hike that you could literally hike every weekend for several years and never hit all of them - AND if you did, many of the desert hikes drastically change each year due to flash flooding during the "wet season". Since it can get pretty hot out there, I am trying to eek out the last few East County hikes this month as the weather is getting warm very quickly. This past weekend a friend and I hit inappropriately named Hell Hole Canyon - apparently it was named more for the 'hell of a time' it was to migrate through more than a description of the weather and surroundings.

I will say that it is always surprising to me how such beauty can grow out of such desolation.

We had a great time - of course we just did the lower portion... the upper portion goes from the originating 1800' to 3030' in less than 2 miles and there is NO foliage to provide shelter OR to photograph - which is why we went in the first place.

The lower trail starts out desert (top picture), has a sudden dip into a wooded area surrounding a creek (complete with mud and a tadpole! - not something you see many of here in such a dry climate) and suddenly you are back up to desert (see the desert through the trees??).
The rocks at one point formed a cave which I am sure something had made a home out of - a palace in such a sunny dry area.
We didn't hike very far due to the frequent stops we made for pics but the first 1/4 mile is a 200' decent which coming back is all up hill. I'll call that my exercise for the day.

Well, we got some great pictures and we had a great day (even if I did get very sunburned on my arms - even with 2 layers of SPF 30.
By the way.... did you see the needles?!

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