Friday, December 6, 2013

Queen butterfly

It's been already a few weeks since we ventured out on another hike but somehow I keep forgetting to write about it. So here it is.
This time we did the Rancherias Loop, another beautiful trail in the State Park.

The trail follows the Rancherias Canyon all the way to the end where
a spring forms the Rancherias Creek and falls down a steep cliff as the Rancherias Fall.
At least, we were told they did!

The hike is moderately difficult, it ups and downs a little but climbs only very gradually towards the end of the canyon.
It's not super well signed, you have to climb your way over some rocky and swampy areas and be watchful you stay on the trail and not wander off to far.

Most of the canyon was dry at the moment but in the rainy season a seasonal stream will form.

About halfway you come across a few natural springs. Although small you can spot them easily since it's where you'll find the only trees in this area, lots of grasses and even reeds.

It is also where you find the wildlife. Like this pretty Queen butterfy, family of the Monarch. Its larvae also prefer milkweed to feed on but they don't migrate (the butterflies, not the larvae):


And this Hackberry Emperor (top left) and whole clouds of Orange Sulfurs (bottom right):

I also made an impressive quick side jump for one more of these:

You better be careful where you set your butt during a coffee break!


a Buckhorn 'Cholla'

By the time we reached these steep cliff walls, about 5 miles into the hike, we were starting to feel a little tired.
We weren't quite sure where to expect the waterfall but to us it looked as if during the wet season something like a waterfall had to come down at the here at the 'V', since there's a lot of (white) mineral build up on the rocks. But apparently at the moment everything was dry.
Oh well, too bad, we thought, it must be one of those seasonal waterfalls, (geez, someone could've told us!) and turned around.

Later it turned out we should have walked just a little farther, maybe half a mile or so, and we'd have found the actual falls, the ones that that are there all year round! 
Gosh! I was pretty miffed about that I can tell you that! 

Nobody to blame but ourselves though since we didn't take any map with us and hadn't even so much as glanced at the sign at the trailhead. Hey, how hard could it be? You just follow the trail!
Just goes to show how much of a hikers we are!

On the way back it started to warm up, the canyon was almost in full sun now and apart from starting to break a sweat we were also starting to feel our feet!

Desert Prickly-Pears

All in all it was a nice hike despite missing the waterfalls but I have to admit I like my hikes a little shorter than the 12 miles this one turned out to be! Of course we haven't had any training lately (as in years) and my walks with Sadie have drastically gone down, and are much shorter than they used to be, now she's getting old.

All this walking around makes you thirsty so we headed over to the hotel's bar, theThirsty Goat Saloon, and treated ourselves to some well deserved Marguaritas. The pink one is a 'Prickly Pear' one, too bad it didn't taste any different from the regular, it just looked interesting!


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