Three years ago, when we began the tradition, nearly every time we went up the Canyon we had it pretty much to ourselves. This year we met over 15 people. And three different campers parked back in the bushes.
Almost all of them were "senior" types, and most of them were on some sort of "tandem" (two and four seaters) rigs.
In addition, the fish are gone! Even though we don't see scorched ground around the stock tank in the corral at the trailhead, it seems like more trees and bushes have been burned this year. The tank, which has always contained over 100 breeding "gold" fish of varying sizes and colors, is devoid of life - except the bottom pond scum!
There is no vegetation on the fence to provide the fish cover and it seems like there isn't as great of water flow either in or out.
A bit further up the canyon the cement water trough is completely dry - remember last year we attempted stocking it with small gold fish?
We went up over the pass and down into Parashant. Remember how we talked about the many different types of tracks in the desert last year in reference to the wild burro's down on the butte?
Concerning the difference between man and the jackass: some observers hold that there isn't any. But this wrongs the jackass.”
This year the "ass tracks" have spread up to Lime Kiln in the form of the once beautiful carved wooden "Lime Kiln" sign which has now been completely severed in two by some brain-dead rednecks bullets! It must have taken an entire box firing down toward the lower trail.
We decided to take the side trail up to Red Pocket Tanks. Both of them were nearly empty! The large bull and his herd were gone and nothing but a dead cow remained in the corner of the decaying old corral.
The red slick-rock is a great place to walk about and there are still many outcroppings where you can stop and set a spell.
We didn't stop at Lime Kiln Mine this trip but noticed that the trail to it is a lot wider and compacted this year. Obviously, there are a lot more riders than there used to be.