A friend asked me to lead a hike up Milagrosa Canyon and then back via Aqua Caliente Canyon. I read a couple of reports about the hike and references to class 3 and 4 scrambling and thought better not do that one alone but also decided to check it out. The hike begins on Horsehead Road where residents have come up with....
….creative Christmas displays.
I follow an old jeep road and when it descends into a stream bed, I enter Aqua Caliente Canyon. However, rather than walk up canyon where there are many significant obstacles, I catch a trail that heads out of the canyon, to the left of the large boulder shown above. The trail rises and soon....
….I am looking down at Milagrosa Canyon to my left. There is a ridge that splits the two canyons and I am climbing on the left side of that ridge.
The canyon narrows and the walls are tall and steep. The rock climbers refer to this canyon as "5.11 Heaven" and I spot bolt anchors and chains at the top of this climb.
Curiously, the trail then descends into the left canyon, above a significant obstacle that from what I have ready, is difficult to get through. Hmmmm. I poke around a bit and studying the wall on my right, find a fault in it, shown above and begin climbing. Yeah.....
….I arrive onto a narrow ridge and get a good look at the next obstacle in the canyon from which I departed. Yikes, that is going to be a challenge when I bring a group here.
A few steps takes me to a spot where I can look down into the other canyon. Way cool but now what? I look.....
….ahead and the terrain looks passable so I bush whack up and through. Kind of steep in there and as always when alone, it gets a little creepy out here.
I take a look back to make sure I can identify my surroundings and be able to return to this point and head up.
Way on the right side is the ridge where I exited the canyon.
I kept going and the ridge between the canyons kept rising up moderately now. I assumed at some point the ridge would end with a cliff so....
...I explored a bit to see if there was a way down into either canyon from here but did not appear to be....maybe but don't try it alone.
I head back, reenter the canyon, find the original trail and about half way back spot a spur trail heading back up to the top of the ridge so away I go.
I reach the ridge and start down the other side but while the canyon bottom is close, it looks like I'll be cliffed out so I again retrace my steps, get back on the original trail, exit the canyon and.....
….Aqua Caliente canyon on the right and barely visible is La Milagrosa on the left. That will be an exciting hike when I return with reinforcements!