Day 3 (Click
on photo to look at photos)
Again a contrast in weather - today started wet and rather dull, so I
decied to drive down Maxwell Scenic Drive, stopping off where there
were side trails or loops.
I drove out to the Oak Spring trailhead, and the road was fine, but it
started to rain, so decided to leave that until later (hopefully) and
carried on down the Drive. I managed to see, between rain showers,
Burro Mesa trail, Mule Ears loop, Tuffs Canyon, and reached Castelon
Historic village a little after 2pm. I'd visited St Elena Canyon on my
previous visit, and with so much wetness, thought that I didn't need to
do it again. So with the weather improving, I drove back up and decided
to hike to Cattail Falls. I'd been told that this was off limits owing
to drought and the danger of upsetting wild-life, but the ranger on the
park entrance that morning said that with all the rain it should be OK.
And it certainly was. The trail was quite well marked, and went up and
down over small ridges, with many cacti and other plants. Though I
didn't take any photos the Echinomastus plants, sticking up like eggs
on a thin stalk were remarkable.
As I neared the end of the trail, the canyon narrowed quite a lot, and
the path was little more than scrambling over rocks. It was so
different from a few hundred yards outside the canyon, with moss and
very different ferns and plants growing around. The falls themselves
were in full spate, as the photograph can attest. I took a photo of an
Echinocereus plant, which isn't one that I immediately recognise, and
of which I could only see a few specimens.
It was just starting to rain again as I neared the parking area at the
trailhead, so considered my day somewhat lucky.