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Sunrise reflecting on canyon walls in the campgroud.

HAPPENSTANCE AND SPONTANEITY ARE WONDERFUL TRAVEL COMPANIONS. It was nothing more than happenstance that we found Red Rock Canyon State Park (check the video with the link) in California on our way to Death Valley last year, so having no formal plans or time frame, we stopped for a few days before going on to Death Valley. Again this year we had warm, clear weather during the day (and 30’s overnight) and on a Wednesday, only two other campsites were occupied. As it turns out, the warm weather we experienced both trips was an anomaly. Normal temperature range for this time of year according to the park ranger, is usually is high of around 40° and low 15°! But luck was with us so we had two good days for hiking in the park.

This year we hiked over the ridge at the south end of the C.G. and west up the main wash behind the campground to its end (the cliffs just right of center in the photo above) in a box canyon. As we began our walk at the bottom of the wash we were treated to rivulets of running water that fell over a series of small falls before falling a hundred feet to a larger wash below.

Lots of colorful, sandy, eroded cliffs line the wash to the north and south. I named this area the toadstools for the way the rock has eroded. The ‘toadstools’ are more than ten feet tall.

The end of the wash or is it the beginning?

As we wandered back down the wash we did some detouring to see if we could find another way back to the campground and up and over some of the ridges. As we climbed up one small rise, Tom spotted a piece of paper rolled up and tied with ribbon snagged in a shrub. At the other end of the ribbon was torn and deflated balloon from a Red Robin restaurant (who knows where). We unrolled it to see the note:

Could it have been written around Christmas time? Sweet. Too bad Gian Marco did not include his address; we could have written to tell him where we found it. Kind of like a message in a bottle.

There were several tiny plants in bloom along the wash edges. This one I think, is mohave brevifolia, the flowers no more than three-sixteenths of an inch across.

A view to the northeast, the big wash below (where the water was headed) and amazing color and variation in the landscape beyond. Next trip we’ll hike this area. There is no end of opportunity for hiking and exploring here and this is one reason we are drawn to Red Rock Canyon. If our luck holds, next year we’ll encounter good weather too.