Monday, January 08, 2007

Exploring Bear Canyon, off Rayhouse Road

I'd been laid up with a sinus infection for 8 weeks during November/December (seriously, it wasn't cool), so as soon as the cold was gone, I was more eager to get outside than a kid with homework on a sunny Saturday. Didn't care if it was raining, so this hike was done in pouring rain. Irony being, of course, that it hasn't really rained much since then....This hike was in late December.

So, we started off hiking up Rayhouse Road, until we got to Bear Canyon. Then it was cross-country rock-scrambling up the canyon. Great waterfalls up there, including one which was at least 50-feet in a three-stair step. I just wish it had rained more beforehand, since the falls were pretty meager. Still, now that I've seen it, I'll be sure to go back during higher flows.

After getting above the falls, we headed cross-country to the 'Langs' USGS marker (ok, really it was a California Department of Transportation marker). Great hike through oak woodlands, including some of the largest stands of Black Oak I've seen in the county. After getting to Langs, I snapped a photo of the brass marker, then we headed downhill to intersect the Frog Pond trail and head back to the car. Well worth the rain soak!

Finally Hiked Up Wildhorse Canyon

For quite some time, I've been dying to hike up Wildhorse Canyon, which is connected and to the east of Cold Canyon. It's a cross-country rock scramble, but well worth the effort. We haven't had much rain this year, so the flow was non-existent at the upper end and only a few small pools were located along the watercourse. However, I found numerous rock formations that will be wonderful waterfalls and swimming holes in the springtime. Can't wait to go back. It's BLM-managed public land, and quite extensive. Lots of exploring to do. Further up the canyon were some plastic tubes from the marijuana growers that were busted up there in 2005. I'd like to lead some cleanups back there in the future.