Riding up Lime Kiln Canyon into Parashant Grand Canyon is grand any time you take it. And if you've been there enough times to remember specific plants and/or animals you've seen (or hope to see again) the search for growth or other change generates great anticipation and enjoyment — almost like a "new" ride every time.
The stock tank at the trailhead was still pretty much barren of the foliage we saw the last several years. We did find one of the fish still alive and hiding, but it looked quite sick – some white thing on its side. We still don't have a clue what has devastated the tank but Gordon said he noticed that it had happened before he left last spring. [It was OK on our last ride in mid-March.] If any of you know specifically what happened I'd appreciate you leaving a comment down below.
It was the Thanksgiving weekend so one would expect to see a few other people; but my word, I lost count at 12 different campers and campsites along the canyon. Additionally, while we were having lunch a "gaggle" of over 25 motorcycles roared down the road. The one on the tail-end better have been wearing a respirator with oxygen!
In the post of our last ride I told you about the "ass tracks" that we saw. We have found that there are several "species" of "asses" in the desert. Unfortunately, with the BLMs (or whoever it was) "relocation" of the four-legged kind, the two-legged genus is more commonly seen. This expensive, multi-colored, carved wood sign was used by an "ass" as a target sometime between Apr and Nov '09.
We mentioned that all the stock tanks and natural "pockets" were pretty much devoid of water. They are still empty. However, unique to this ride was that we had some new sturdy "legs" who could climb up the cliff by Lime Kiln Mine to see what was in the caves we had been wondering about for three years.
Concerning the difference between man and the jackass: some observers hold that there isn't any. But this wrongs the jackass.”
The bottom cave, was pretty much just an alcove; but, the upper one, although smaller, had a rock at the entrance and a very flat, sandy floor for several feet back into the rock. A great place to get out of the rain, if you can get up there.
On the way back we took the "kicker" to the ride by going on the connector trail across the flats to Cabin Canyon. The Yucca Brevifolia forest (Joshua Trees) is still there. We hope they bloom this spring. I sure wish I understood what controls their blooming – not one of them did the deed last year.
Learn A Little More
Some of you probably don't know about the free Google Earth files which I make available on each one of these rides we take. The new version of Google Earth makes it a very interesting "virtual ride" if you want to do it. If you have already loaded Google Earth on your computer (who hasn't these days) why don't you see how it works? Just click on the link up at the top. That should automatically pop up a screen asking if you wan't to "Save or Open" the file. Select "Open" and sit back. Your computer should open Google Earth and then automatically load the trail file into it. It also should zoom down to show you the trail and any waypoints that I have included.
Then, all you have to do is to look at the trail, zoom around to all the places you would like to see, click on the labels to see pop-up ride and waypoint descriptions and visit to your hearts content. Google's new images for the Mesquite-Bunkerville area really make it nice.