We are fortunate to live in an area with many dog-friendly places to explore. This past week, my husband and I took Sugar on a day hike to an area we had not been to before. The directions we followed to the trailhead were a little… unspecific. As a matter of fact, the directions to the end of the trail, which features a rock arch, weren’t much better. Something along the lines of “Turn off on an unmarked road and park. Follow the wash to the left until it crosses a road. Follow the road around the corner and to the arch.”
After a u-turn to go back to the unmarked road, which we had accidentally passed, we got ready to hike. Living in the desert, we always carry extra water, along with food and some emergency supplies. Sugar was pretty impatient to get going, having never been on a hike that required car travel before, but she settled down after a bit.
In some areas, the wash we followed was a wide, slight depression in the surrounding desert. In others, one side or the other was a steep wall, undercut in places by flood waters.The floor of the wash was mostly sand, with occasional patches of sandstone. Sugar, who did not even react when she tore half a toenail off a few weeks ago, didn’t like when sand balled up between her toes and would hobble with that foot off the ground until the sand was removed.
The washes in our area tend to be dry, unless recent storms fill them with a dramatic rush of water, sand, and gravel. The wash that we wandered down had an area that was fed by a spring, and there was a fair amount of water around the area of the spring. The edges of these pools were surrounded with mineral crystals left behind as water evaporated. It made parts of the pool look like it was surrounded with a light dusting of snow.
Further along the wash, we came upon a wall of angular gravel, small(ish) bits of different kinds of rock and sand laid down in layers by water, and eroded into a wall by the smash of flash floods. It was all I could do to not spend the rest of the day looking at all of the rocks in the wall.
We followed the twists and turns on the wash, expecting to see the road after every turn. The wash started to branch off into smaller washes, none of which appeared to connect to the road. Finally, Sugar and I climbed to a high point for some photos and to try to find the arch. We saw the road, and took one of the branch washes to connect with it after climbing down off the high point.
The arch was not visible from the road, but my husband spotted a patch of sunlight surrounded by shadow on the cliff wall. After following the road and another wash, and some scrambling, we got to a spot where we could see the arch. It was not as dramatic as some arches in this area, but it was worth the hike out there.
We flushed a rabbit on the hike back to the truck, which got Sugar very excited (one of the reasons we keep her on leash). It was great to spend time with my little family and take advantage of the beautiful weather we’ve been having. After the three mile hike, the longest we’ve taken Sugar on so far, she was pretty tired. At least until we got home.