Saturday, September 6, 2014

Rocky Canyon Trail Revisited

Today before work I hiked Rocky Canyon Trail with my buddy Mike for the first time in a few years and possibly in five years if THIS was the last time I was there which is quite possible. I noted one major change since I was last on this trail which is the diversion around the main seat of the quarry operation in order to keep the public out of that zone of heavy equipment and such. The following 40 images are shown in the order they were taken (20 going and 20 coming). 

This gate is typically locked when the quarry is closed.
This warning is a multi-decadal joke intended to keep unwanted swimmers and fishers out of this pond with a nonsense chemical name that sounds ominous.
Because I took photos throughout this walk I was nearly always walking behind my buddy Mike.
At this point the trail turns right where it used to proceed forward into the quarry proper.
View of the diversionary path.
At least there is shade along part of this diversion... well as plenty of unshaded stretches.
At this point the trail diversion rejoins its original route turning right at this intersection.
The experimental test plot of native vegetation continues to grow.
This is the only part of the trail that still traverses any part of the original quarry zone.
This creek is bone-dry and shows no recent evidence of the last time it ran with water.
Praise God for the shady stretches on a hot day like today.
And yet there are plenty of unshaded stretches of trail, too.
This used to be the road bed for the primary road between Atascadero and Creston.
There is profuse growth of chaparral in Rocky Canyon as this area has not burned in a long time.
In fact, the last time this area burned was in 1989 and that was one ridge over from here in September and a month or two before that was a much larger wildfire (Chispa Fire) which burned over 10,000 acres not far south of here.
DO NOT veer to the right or you will end up out in heavy fuel beds of chaparral growing on low-flung hills.
Bird nest
The hippy commune property is all cleared of all signs of the neo-hippies who once had a commune on the property to the right.
The Rainbow Ranch side of Rocky Canyon Road and Trail has a trailhead and road block.
The view back west from the east side trailhead of Rocky Canyon Trail.
Again, on a hot day like today such shady zones as this one are a godsend.
The top (head) of Rocky Canyon with my buddy Mike about to plunge down into the canyon proper.
This part of Rocky Canyon Trail is rather strenuous but does not last long.
Below this spot is the wreck of an old car that went over the side back when this was the main road east to west in this area.
Tequila was pooped by this point in the power walk.
This riparian stretch of the path is a pleasure.
Vernal pool
Some late summer color is starting to manifest itself here.
The quarry equipment detracts from the tranquility here but is rather interesting to observe in operation.
My late paternal grandfather used to sell conveyor belt systems such as this to quarries and mines on behalf of Continental Conveyor.
Even with the new diversion of the trail here there is plenty of quarry excitement to observe.
Headed west one veers left at this point to follow the trail instead of straight forward as in the past.
This part of the new trail route is fairly ugly.
This stretch of newly diverted trail is rather bleak and unshady.
The right-most structure there features a small collection of interesting mineral specimens which have been collected by employees at the quarry.
The bleak and unshady sections of newly-diverted trail are offset by the riparian zones such as this one.
Fresh gravel falling onto the new trail section: note in the distance where this path rejoins the original route.
Dirt biker damage per usual at right.
End of the trail and that was fine as far as Tequila was concerned. All photos by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).

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