Friday, April 27, 2012

Our Lexington Arch Adventure

 Last weekend the weather was perfect for our first camping trip of the season. After spending a good part of the day with friends, we set up our camp, which coincided nicely with Desert Girl's nap. Once she woke up, I was itching to explore, so the kids, our dog Henry, and I went off to explore an abandoned road.

 It went toward this intriguing looking canyon. Oh, the fantastic limestone to explore! The old road branched, and we went uphill.

The track eventually stopped, right near a pile of snow. I told the kids they shouldn't sit in the snow, but they did anyway. The are still excited by snow! They were even more excited by the candy snack I gave them--a real treat.

 When we got back to camp, it was time to start the much-awaited fire. Here's my one-match fire, nothing artificial added.

 The kids were enthralled. I saw how fast the old sagebrush wood was burning and went to gather more!

I didn't manage to get many photos of the campsite, I was just ready to relax. Sleep was so-so, as it usually is in a tent! Henry started howling in the middle of the night, and we guessed that a mountain lion was close by. Fortunately it wandered off eventually and Henry stopped howling.

 The next morning it was time to go for a hike, and as it had been years since we had gone up to Lexington Arch, that's where we headed (it's actually a bit farther than what the sign says--and 800 foot elevation gain, so it's not a super fast hike).

 I liked this little plant. (Still need to look it up!)

 The views were great, with the layers of mountains stretching out towards the valley.

 Here are my husband and Desert Boy on one of the many switchbacks. I carried Desert Girl most of the way on my back. That was a good workout! Finally we arrived at the scenic overlook.

 The mighty 75-foot tall limestone arch. Someday I want to come photograph it at dusk or dawn, and had even thought about it for this trip, but sleep took priority.

 Desert Boy was happy to get to the overlook, as it was our designated snack stop.

 The clouds were building, but no rain was predicted so we continued up to the arch.

 We found more snow, but it was a warm day (especially for April), so it was welcome.

 We stopped at the bridge to take photos. In big snow years water flows under the bridge, but not this year.

 The last few switchbacks were tough, but we made it!

 It's thought that an ancient cave was at the site, and the arch is all that remains of it. I found what looked like old broken-off cave formations in the rock. It's fun to imagine what the cave would have been like.

 We tried for a family picture with the self-timer.

 I like the spire off to one side of the arch. It gives it some extra character.

 We had the arch all to ourselves. It felt really remote.

Then I had the bright idea that instead of taking the regular trail back, we could take the old trail back. It hasn't been used for about 25 years, but I had found parts of it a few years back. And I had conveniently forgotten how hard it was.

 The first part was really steep, but the views of the arch were great.

 We had some nice hiking through sage and forest alongside the snow-covered ravine. We had to go around big trees and fallen trees that covered the trail.

 But then it got really tough, with thickets of rose and willow that forced us to go up on the hill and do more bushwhacking, which was a real challenge with little kids. Fortunately my husband was able to wrangle them through the worst of it.

We kept hoping we would get to the end, but the canyon kept going and going. We were tired!

Finally we got to an old mine that was near the end (my photos didn't turn out so well).

 Desert Boy managed to catch a lizard, which was a highlight.

 Here, mom, check this out!
We went by this old cabin, which was really cool. It was built lincoln-log style, without nails. That gives you an idea of how old it is! I wonder how long it took the miners to build and how long they stayed in it. We were feeling remote, but they must have really felt like they were out in the boonies.

 Finally we got to the end. We won't be coming down from Lexington Arch that way again!

Seeing the truck gave Desert Boy and my husband a second wind and they rode their bikes back to the campsite, which was another adventure involving crashes. But all ended up well, and all our rose thorn scratches have healed and we can start planning our next camping trip!


The Incredible Woody said...

I always sleep so soundly in a tent while Vol Fan always sleeps fitfully. Maybe knowing he is on watch is why I sleep so good! :)

John Mosley said...

Might the old limestone with cave deposits suggest a possible solution valley?

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