Saturday, January 22, 2011

South Of Sheep Canyon

Wednesday, I had a few hours between dropping off my son at school and having to pick him up so I decided to go for a little adventure south of Sheep Canyon.  If you are unfamiliar with Sheep Canyon I am not surprised.  It's a small canyon south of Martinez Canyon in the Santa Rosa Mountains.  Not many people go there.  Access is difficult and if you ask me how I got there I would not be able to tell you.  I just drove down some dirt roads until I got to where I wanted to be.

The reason I wanted to visit this little side canyon is because the last time I was in the vicinity I thought I saw some palm trees in the distance.  If there are Palm Trees that means there's water.  Where there's water there were probably Indians and in places the Indians visited there are probably trails.  I love finding new trails.

This is Sheep Canyon.  Once I drop down into it I will take an old Indian trail into the canyon I want to explore today.

As you get back into the canyon the walls become tall and vertical.  I can only imagine the amount of water that was required to cut these walls so cleanly.  In places the walls are almost 40 feet high.

As the canyon narrows, I take off on the Indian trail on the left side.  I know you can't see it but trust me, it's there.

The trail is never very distinct but it is at least visible enough to follow.

As I drop down into the canyon I came to explore I can see the effects of the rain we got last month.  The Ocotillo are full of leaves and soon flowers will be blooming all around the desert.

This is the canyon I came to explore.  No evidence of a trail down here.

But there is evidence of how remarkable the desert is.

After navigating a canyon filled with sand and rocks, it becomes chocked with brush and my legs are not happy.  Note to self: next time up here, wear long pants.

It turns out that those Palms I saw were, in fact, Cottonwood trees.  They are dead from winter but their green leaves are what caused me to think Palms were up here.  It really doesn't matter because Cottonwoods also require constant water so the possibility that Indians were here and trails exist is still valid.

But I run out of time and easy passage.

Looking further up the canyon I see a Palm Tree but oddly it's not a native but a Date Palm.  Intriguing.  There's no way I can get to it without long pants, a machete and more time.  But I'll be back because this canyon holds possibilities.

Lots of possibilities.

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