Side Trail above Lake
When is an elevation a mountain, and when is it a hill? I’ve decided the definition is when you have climbed it. The mountain bordering the lake doesn’t look all that tall until you tackle it. This was one of the first strenuous hikes we had taken since Ron’s most recent foot injury. Foot handled it fine; the rest of our bodies was a bit tired by the end.
View from near the top:
At the crest, we could view the northernmost shore of the lake.
Looking back toward the office and campground of the park.
Another of our favorite hikes is along the old road above the lake. At one time you could drive from the east side of the lake to the west side along the lake. That road is no longer open. Although the west shore is still within the park (Las Tusas area), it is now a 25-30 mile drive by road to get there.
On our hikes, we often spot the tracks of the mountain lions that live here, although we have not actually seen one of them yet. The tracks are huge, resembling a dog’s, but the distinction is that the lion track does not have the claw prints and the back pad has a more scalloped edge. Can you imagine the size of the cat that leaves this track?
To the east of the mountain runs an arroyo and a meadow.
We were enjoying the walk through the narrow sided arroyo until we once again saw the tracks of the mountain lion, and realized that if one was around, we’d have no escape route.
As we began to get the summer rains, the grasses started to green and the wildflowers to bloom. The meadow was such a contrast to the surrounding desert. We decided it would be an excellent place for a home.
The recent rains have also caused areas to wash, leaving behind artistic patterns in the mud.
A canyon winds its way from the east side of the dam. A switchback trail leads from the campground down into the canyon. We found a whole other world down there, one with tall grass, wildflowers, and even evidence of beaver.
The hike down
A tree, recently felled by beaver
The dam stretches across the western end.
At our lunch stop, we tried taking a couple of pictures to Photoshop together.
On the climb back up, we encountered a large king snake. These snakes have the markings of the rattler, and often live in the same area, but are not poisonous. Although some have seen a few rattlers this summer, in all our hiking, we have not encountered any. The park has proven to be an excellent area for us to get back into hiking.