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.