Monday, March 23, 2009

Saturday, March 14: Devil's Punchbowl
4,740' elevation
1 mi loop trail [300' (down and back up) elevation change]

Lately I've been ordered to take it easy while we figure out what's behind some irregularities with my echocardiogram results. And I'm still experiencing trouble with seems like I'm just not getting enough; my leg muscles especially complain. Just bathing, dressing, brushing my teeth, and doing my hair wear me out; by the time you throw in laundry or yardwork; I'm really beat and my body gives out!!!

So recently a friend of mine from Connecticut was helping me gather rocks at Big Rock Creek when she told me she hadn't been in our local mountains before. She asked about Devil's Punchbowl, but it was nearing sunset --- too late in the day to head up there. Only later did we find out that was the night of another moonlight hike! Sigh.

I promised I would take her the following Saturday, figuring the one-mile loop trail (and that 300' elevation change) would be the perfect slow, easy workout for me right now. Since sleep is also an issue for me right now, we decided to meet at noon and set out to explore a bit of the local mountains, starting with Devil's Punchbowl.

DD decided to tag along, so we waited a bit on her before we actually got out the door. There was quite a crowd already there when we arrived; the beautiful weather had brought people from all over SoCal to enjoy the Punchbowl.
We had fun on the mile loop trail; we went downstream to the former rope waterfall and had a nice little picnic. Of course we took pictures the entire's a few.

Arch rocks as we approach park.

Can you see the witch?

Manzanita's beautiful two-toned bark.

Little slide.

Little wading pool.

Punchbowl Canyon.

After we arrived back at the top, I decided to drive my friend west along the foothills and show her Littlerock Reservoir, known affectionately as "the Dam." It's a wonderful place to cool off on those hot summer days when the desert sun is really blazin'. And yet another surprise for her that our desert "backyard" holds! When we first arrived there, we followed a trickle of a stream back a little canyon to find a waterfall wall of moss.

Backtracking to the road, we decided to climb a ridge by the part of the reservoir that I call "the cove." I had to go slow, thanks to those screaming leg muscles. But you know me --- I just keep going, albeit slo-o-o-owly. We sat on top of the ridge awhile, enjoying the view, until the wind drove us off.

The cove (starting up the ridge).

She waits for me at the top (halfway up the ridge).

The view from halfway up the ridge.

Nope, not a mirage.

Now thoroughly worn out physically, we jumped back in BB and continued west along the foothills for a driving tour. I showed her Mt. Emma, then we turned southwest to head to almost-the-summit of Mt. Pacifico. We walked a bit of the forest road, which is closed to vehicles this time of year; but we weren't really prepared to go far. By then, a chill was really beginning to assert itself, and it's just too painful for my bones anymore.

We promised ourselves we would come back again another day to explore both Mt. Gleason and Mt. Pacifico, then headed back for our desert home.