guess who strayed, fell or skidded into them more than anyone? Yes, the pilgrim from Ohio, me
ravine where some of us paused to climb this rock and pose. Yep, the views were, as always, fantastic.
The way down to the Finger Route trail, two canyons from where we stood, had not previously been scouted by our leader. We could see where we wanted to go but discerning the route was difficult as we sought to avoid getting cliffed out with no advance possible. We traversed a steep slope while I thought often how Mark Clingan, my Ohio off-trail hiking buddy, would have loved this experience. The terrain was very tough and at some point my feet slid out from under me and predictably, my back fell into a patch of shin daggers and spine injecting plants. The good news is I guess your rear end doesn't have the nerve endings that the rest of your body has, otherwise I would have screamed like a 5 year-old child. I also benefited from a very kind fellow hiker, Wendi, who immediately ordered me to stop while she patiently picked out the largest of the daggers.
The way down to the base of the canyon was challenging, a very steep drop scrambling over boulders, slick rock, just wild stuff really. We took turns breaking the trail and at one point, Tess walked into and then emerged from a thicket of cat-claw, legs covered with rivulets of blood. The rest of us sought a workaround. We finally reached the bottom and looked upward at a notch in a ridge over which we still had to climb, before dropping into another canyon where we would hike out via the Finger Rock trail. OR, we could just hike down the canyon in which we stood, reach a gated community and hike to the parking lot. While the down
canyon route was off trail and undoubtedly tough, I had had enough of the shin daggers and friends and so joined Brian, Wendi and Jo for the scrambling route to....