Thursday, March 8, 2012

Lost Maples SNA, Part 2

When we last saw our intrepid heroes, they had just reached the summit of an approximately 2200 foot hill. The terrain at the top of the hill is much different from that below in the canyons along the river and creeks. Much of the trail on the ridge is rock, similar to what I expect the Appalachian Trail is in Pennsylvania. The trees are generally shorter, and there is more grass. The views looking east are wonderful.

Trail atop the ridge; lots of cedars; usually more embedded rocks than shown here. There is a patch of large trees in one area.
At the trail junction atop the ridge, we choose to go look at the Scenic Overlook (see map). It is three-tenths of a mile to the overlook, making it a little over half-mile round trip for this look.

View from the scenic overlook. Those are park buildings in the valley. Sabinal River is the line of trees to the right of the buildings.
After returning to the main trail, we then continued our hike along the ridge. There are several good views just off the trail, and the following pictures were taken from the ridge.

Rock outcropping along the ridge. The trail follows this ridge. At the far end, it begins its descent; trail down can be seen in the left of the picture.

This is the Pond; it is formed by Can Creek. The trail down the ridge is to the right.

Trail follows the valley back to the trailhead. Note Pond in lower-right of picture.
What goes up must come down, so after enjoying the views from the ridge, it was time to begin our trek down the hill. This part of the trail is actually an old ranch road, but the loose rocks can be treacherous.

The trail goes down . . . .

. . . and down . . .
. . . and down . . .
. . .and down . . .
. . .and down.

Once at the bottom, we were next to the Pond.

The Pond
The remaining hike to the trailhead was about a mile and every uneventful. It consisted mostly of a level trail and 2 or 3 low-water crossings, like the one below.

Low water crossing over Can Creek near trailhead.
Lost Maples remains one of my favorite hikes. The elevation changes provide a good workout. If you hike the entire trail system, it is about 11 miles or so, with 3 opportunities to go up and down high hills of approximately 400 feet. The trees are beautiful, and there are plenty of places to enjoy the water. After hiking a few miles on a hot summer day, there is very little more enjoyable than taking off your shoes and socks and soaking your feet in the cool waters of one of the creeks. The carvings formed by the water erosion throughout the park are works of art, and the views from the hill tops are lovely.

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