11 June 2015

Pine Valley Mountain: Anderson Valley

Dixie National Forest

DAY 1 | DAY 2 | DAY 3

(Day 3 of 3) After an amazing light show and rain off and on through the night, I make a lazy start in the morning. The nearby meadow area lets in some sun to try to dry everything and it is mostly there by the time to pack up. Crossing the meadow, there is a deer path to follow downward, at least at first. It does not drop very fast, so I make my own way getting my shoes wet in grasses along the way. The trail is easy to locate again just on the other side of the creek. I still do not see the extra trail indicated on my map. At the sign for Anderson Valley, I turn down the third trail. It crosses a narrow arm of meadow and runs into trail leading both up and down the edge of the meadow. Perhaps this is the rest of the indicated junction. If it is, the right side will go back to where I was and the left will go where I want to go. It does not feel right, though. I head left, which is entirely the wrong direction. Tree cuts show trail maintenance as it climbs a short way to a saddle and starts down on the wrong side of Dam Canyon. An old switchback heads down, but most of the trail usage continues around. I head around the corner for the view before heading back.

Mill Flat
Back to Mill Flat and pondering the extra and missing trails.

Dam Canyon
Looking down Dam Canyon, which is quite a vast hole to be on the wrong side of.

Dam Canyon
The upper section of Dam Canyon, which is burned down the north side.

The trail to the right is indeed the correct one and curves around to the south side of Dam Canyon. The views over the canyon are not as common with all the nice trees around. At first the trail travels the canyon side, climbing rock outcrops to views and then dropping into trees again.

tall narrow rocks rising among the trees
There seem to be monoliths down among the trees.

burn across the canyon
Looking back across the canyon to the burned side.

rocks among thinner green
One of the rock outcrops along the way.

fins of rock cutting through the trees
Fins of rock in the valley ahead.

After a short drop, there is a junction with Leap Creek flowing through Anderson Valley. The valley is a fenced in meadow, an effort to close it to grazing to protect the quality of water. I head up this side trail for a short way, passing a few water control features with unknown purpose. As the trail starts to climb out of the valley again, there is a well established trail continuing upstream. This trail ends in an old cabin. The door is barred and the building is looking like it is a good idea to leave it that way. The windows are not blocked by anything but surprisingly well preserved glass, so it is easy to see inside.

fence and sign at the start of the meadow
Coming into Anderson Valley, which is fenced off from grazing and includes a sign to explain that.

lots of green grass
Looking across the meadow with its assortment of water control features.

red shingles above a log cabin
The cabin just above the meadow.

After some poking around near the cabin, I turn around and head back. Below the junction, the trail continues down the valley a little way as it gets ready to turn into Anderson Canyon, then climbs out before it does.

green grass with a track of dirt and a track of water
Continuing down the valley.

The trail proceeds through a series of small canyons that are just a bit damp. This might not be so annoying except that it seems to have no travelers except those that are stock actually having to walk on the trail. Again, there are long sections of slushy mud as trail with very little hiker trail giving a way around it. It is an effort, but I largely keep my feet high and dry. All the while, it is threatening to rain.

burned trunks and a burned canyon beyond
Getting back into burn zone.

trail along the wide canyon side
Walking along high in the canyon.

grouse in a tree
I managed to startle a bird that looks like a grouse into a nearby tree.

There are a couple plastic troughs along the way, filled by one of the small streams, and below this things start to dry out very quickly. They do not look like a very good water source if you are not a horse, so I am glad I got some at the last stream. Views actually open up a bit as I go down because the canyon blocks less and less of it. Off in the distance, rain is falling hard on some peaks. Nearer, the rain is just a few drops. For a little bit, I watch as rain falls over, but not on, New Harmony. The rain over places in the valley looks to reach a particular layer and evaporate.

canyon rocks
Other parts of the canyon are extremely vertical.

distant rain
Rain over some distant hills.

Kolob Canyons
Kolob Canyons, not quite so red, but looking very good in the light of this day.

Below, I can see many switchbacks and before too long, I am on them. I have gotten too low for the little bit of rain to reach. The vegetation changes a lot as I drop. On this side, the edge of the wilderness is signed.

little red trumpets with flare
A sudden bit of color.

New Harmony
Looking out over the town and the many switchbacks to get there.

Once down to the area near the trailhead, there are moments when it seems like a garden. There is milkweed blooming beautifully in many spots. There is water again in a series of regularly spaced ditches that the trail often has bridges over. The water I got at the second to last little stream is not quite sufficient for the long downhill, but it nearly lasts.

bright orange milkweed
Milkweed found growing near the trailhead.

One last rattlesnake while poking around near the trailhead.

Total number or people seen this whole trip: zero.  I am not sure why, it is quite nice, especially before the cows get up there for grazing.

©2015 Valerie Norton
Posted 11 July 2015

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