24 February 2017

Ladder Canyon

The boys and I have had a fun and tiring week of big hikes that we've been waiting to do for some time until the weather was cool enough for these locations. On Wednesday we had a grand adventure as we hiked Three Sisters Falls, today we ventured to Painted Canyon (aka Ladder Canyon Trail), and tomorrow we've got permits to go to Cedar Creek Falls (aka Devil's Punchbowl). 

So Ladder Canyon was today. I've been itching to explore this series of slot canyons connected by ladders since I read about it online last summer. But we haven't been able to go until now, because we not only needed to wait until the weather was cool enough and there was no chance of rain, but we also needed to have a whole day to devote to it because the drive is 2.5 to 3 hrs both ways. (Luckily we went when there wasn't much traffic, so it ended up being a little closer to 2.5 hrs than 3 hrs each way this time).  

We did the 5 mile loop hike up through the narrow slot canyons with all the ladders, onto the trail along the top of the canyon ridge, and back down into the wider canyon, down a couple more ladders, and back to the cars.  

We got to see a view from the top of the ridge of the cool dessert hills and canyons, with the Salton Sea beyond that. And there were so many different kinds of cool rocks (rose quartz was the only one I knew the name of), but there was such a variety of colors of rocks scattering the ground, and in the canyon walls. We only had one casualty -- unfortunately Kolby scraped up his same knee that he had hit on a rock at the previous hike, but it didn't slow him down too much until near the end of the hike. 

We also really wanted to explore another side canyon back near where we parked, but we had already spent 4 hours there and still had to grab dinner (the Costco food court in Palm Dessert was the perfect inexpensive/quick place to stop), get gas, and drive home on some dark and rather windy roads after a long day, so we'll have to save exploring that other canyon for another time. (The boys said we should camp there sometime, which sounds like a great idea to me to get more out of it with such a long drive to get there). 

The narrow slot canyons were great fun, and there were lots of little side canyons that could have kept us busy for a lot longer. There were also lots of cool rocks that the boys had fun collecting, and some pretty yellow California poppies that I enjoyed (the orange ones are one of my favorite flowers). 

The boys enjoyed jumping, climbing, finding hiding places, and bouldering. And we decided it would have been a great hike to take our dogs along on, except that a few of the ladder spots were too steep for them to climb up the side on their own, and we don't know how well the dogs could do getting up (or down) ladders???  We did see someone else there with a dog, and wondered how it had done with the ladders (but I did see that it had a little harness on it's back, and wondered if they just lowered it up and down?).  

Anyway, it was a fun hike, and a fun place to explore. The boys were starting to get worn out by the end (especially after our long hike the other day). Hope they're not so worn out that they don't enjoy the hike to Cedar Creek Falls tomorrow. I, for one, am getting tired and am rather sore after doing these longer hikes in a row, but am loving it (and I would love it if there were any way to get in one of these long hikes to cool locations once a week). 

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