First Hike of 2016

Armed with the knowledge that I wouldn’t be able to hike until 7, I got to the trail head just about 7, hefted my pack and started out. Lots of people seemed to arrive at about the same time, but all disappeared out into the wilderness.

I passed an older, limping fellow. He looked like he was having a lot of trouble walking, and he had a cane strapped to his day pack. But he was out there. Maybe a look into the distant future?

Then I passed two guys younger than me sitting by the trail having a break. They had large came packs that looked kind of tactical. They looked kind of tactical. Of course, usually when you work at looking a way, or sounding a way, you aren’t. I commented on their large packs and they said they were hoping to stay a night.

Just as I turned off the Dutchman’s Trail onto the Boulder Canyon trail, at about 4.5 miles, I passed a couple. The guy had taken his jacket off (I think it was still in the low 40s) and I was ably to clearly see his chest holster and a large semi automatic pistol. If everyone else out here carries, or asks me if I’m not scared to hike alone, should I bring something with me? Mug money at least?

Boulder Canyon, I think, gets its name from the surface of the trail, not the scenery. The trail south of the junction with the Cavalry trail, all of which I had hiked earlier this year, was very difficult walking. In addition to the boulders littering the trail itself, due to the extra wet year, all the cacti were overgrown and needed to be brushed back from the trail. Many places people were now stepping around the trail because you couldn’t get between the cacti without touching them. And 4 days later, I was still tweezing barbed spines out of my
musculus biceps femoriss and musculus tibialis anteriors.

Walking / rock-hopping / boulder-hopping up the trail, I tried to remember walking this portion last spring. I walked by one campsite (really, just a fire ring) where someone had assembled 4 flat rocks to make 2 chairs - each having a seat and a “back.” I did remember this spot for my earlier hike, but that was about it. I focused my mind on watching for cairns in between watching for footprints and manager to stay mostly on the intended path. When I walking by the intersection with the Cavalry Trail, which I had hiked
March 11-12, I did not remember the spot.

I took this photo looking upstream from just south of the Cavalry trail intersection. Just north of here I found a spot suitable for hammock camping

North of the intersection the trail was left bouldery and easier to walk. I hiked along and saw and heard a group of people up near the summit of Battleship Mountain. You can’t really make them out in the photo below, but they were there. I could see and hear them.


I got a bit off track at the end of the Boulder Canyon trail where it intersects with Second Water trail. There were lots of pools of water to investigate. No shortage of water here. At this time anyway. I turned left and headed back south on the Second Water trail. I met a few people, some sitting, some hiking. I walked past this critter right on the trail. I think it’s some sort of muskrat, but I’m not sure. My only clues are its foot with 5 toes/claws and it’s round, rat-like tail.


Anyway, I finished the hike with plenty of water, no issues, and no blisters. 2016 is off to a rousing start!

20160102Loop Elev

Here is my plan:

Park at First Water Trailhead. Hike this loop counter clockwise.

20160101 Loop Map