Greg and I headed out to the eastern Gorge for some exercise on Sunday. We parked at Rowland Lake and headed up the Labyrinth. We were hoping for sun and warmth. But it was overcast and 40 degrees when we left the car at 11:00, and overcast and 50 when we got back to the car.
Walking west on the old highway and passing the waterfall:
We picked up the trail heading uphill and we immediately ran into a WTA group doing trail work. Here is a picture I took at the end of the hike, showing the new trail on the left and the decommissioned trail on the right going straight up the hill.
They told us we were the first hikers to walk on the new trail they had just re-routed. Thanks for your hard work, WTA!
I had never hiked this trail before and was pleasantly surprised that it more or less followed a creek with a number of little waterfalls. Fun!
Unfortunately waterfalls aren’t photogenic in winter because of all the leafless vegetation detracting from the scene.
We saw several different kinds of wildflowers, especially desert parsley and gold star. We even saw the very first balsamroot of the season! The grass widows are on their way out.
The higher we got, the better the views became.
We reached a viewpoint where we had a rest and a snack before continuing.
The last push before reaching the junction with the old road.
Crossing the rickety bridge on the old road.
Some more photos:
We looped down through the Coyote Wall area, where we encountered dozens and dozens of cyclists going up. Then after awhile we encountered dozens more going down. You can’t usually hear them coming and I felt like I needed a rearview mirror on my hat!
We did about 5.75 miles with 1300 feet elevation gain.