Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Oak Creek Homestead Trail

The Homestead trail is a very interesting and difficult side trip off of one our favorite drives. We have taken most of the 9845 route before and it has some interesting scenery and it is close to town. We follow 9845 from 89A about a mile south past Upper Red Rock Loop Rd. At a junction of about 4 trails, we turn right onto 9845H. I assume the H is for Hard. In fact, this part of the trail is rated Extreme on my Red Rock Ranger District map. The trail winds its way up and down over fairly large rocks along a shelf overlooking a canyon below. I had to pull over to the edge of the shelf to let an oncoming tourist vehicle get by, which was a little disconcerting.

We had been to the beginning of the extreme section before, but opting not to try it as it was late in the day and I didn't expect anyone else to come by to help in the unlikely event that I might have needed assistance. This time the Kobeys were with us and Lynn urged me on. The road drops down a relatively steep ledge with huge drops between the boulders. It was short but sweet. Once down the ledge the trail leads to an old abandoned homestead. Here's Lynn checking it out.

At some point I'll get some photos of the crawl down and up the rocky ledge. But, in the meantime, the trail leads to a campsite along Oak Creek and the trail crosses the creek and picks up on the other side. Here we are contemplating the creek crossing.

Discretion got the better part of valor and we did not cross the creek. It really wasn't much a choice as we thought the creek must be fairly shallow but couldn't see the bottom. With no other Jeep to help us get out if we got stuck, it wouldn't have been a good idea to try it.

But there was beautiful scenery along the creek.


And a really cool rope swing that looks like it could be fun (for someone other than me!)

We have been back there one time since to have a picnic. We even bought some camp chairs at ACE even tho we have at least 3 at home. So we pulled up to the edge of the creek and unloaded and set up the chairs. Then I kiddingly asked Judy where the lunch was. After scouring the back of the Jeep we realized we had left it on the counter. So, what else to do but read for a bit and then go out to lunch at one of our favorite local spots, Nic's.

BTW, check out the color of the creek in the photo on the right. This was taken on our first trip here while the photo above were taken on the second trip. After the snow storms here a week ago, there is a lot of runoff that adds a lot of mud and silt to the creek and raised its level quite a bit. Interesting to see how quickly the creek can swell from snow melt and runoff.

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