Military Road Trail – Two Hikes!

Last week coworkers, Chris, Jari, Greg and I decided to hike the 9 mile trail from the Military Road trailhead to Grapevine campground. The trail kind of faded out and we had to turn around and go back to our starting point. The afternoon storms were building and we got caught in a huge storm complete with hail! Sorry that our cameras were packed away to keep them dry and we did not get any photos of the hail piled up along the roadways. What a scare! Chris, her dog Spike and I huddled under a low juniper tree to put on rain ponchos but Jari and her husband made a run the last 1/3 mile or so to the car. We all got soaked to the bone but none of us got struck by lightning – thank God!

Today, another coworker, Jeff, and I decided to hike the same trail and managed to get to our destination!!! Jeff suggested we follow the fencelines. So combined with my compass to keep us going the right direction we made it! No lightning storms either! By the time we returned to the visitor center at 3:00 p.m. though the entire cliff dwelling area was a huge mass of lightning strikes. They had closed the trail to the dwellings at about 1:30 today and were not able to reopen due to the lightning and driving rain at their location. Jeff and I really lucked out today!

First last week’s photos:

s-1a-Big Tree s-1b-Greg-Jari-Chris-M s-1c-Morning Glory s-1d-Scenery s-1e s-1f s-1g s-1h s-1i s-2a-Storm Brewing s-2b s-2c s-2d

I forgot to mention that the last two photos above are of mushrooms. The red one was about 4″ in diameter and the little white one was less than 1″ in diameter. Here are some of the photos from today:

s-1a-Flower s-1b-Flower s-2a-Butterfly s-2a-z-butterfly1 s-2b-Butterfly s-2b-z-butterfly2 s-2c-Butterfly s-3a-Mushroom s-3b-Grub Tiny s-3c-Caterpillar s-3d-Grasshopper

Below is a photo of Jeff showing the way the fence builders have used boulders suspended from the fence wires to hold the fence in place at some locations:

s-4b-Rock Holding down fence

The funniest part of the day was right before we got to the only two river crossings as we approached Grapevine campground. It reminded me of when I stepped over the gopher snake when I was hiking a couple of months ago. Jeff was in front of me and all of a sudden he yelped and jumped a few feet over to the right. Then he started laughing when the snake just lay placidly! It is a desert striped whip snake and it truly did not move at all:

s-6a-Desert Striped Whip Snake s-6b-Desert Striped Whip Snake s-6c-Desert Striped Whip Snake

At the tail end of the trail we hiked through some lovely forested area and a bald eagle startled out of a tree and flew away. We changed into water shoes and made 2 easy river crossings and were elated as we wound up where we were supposed to be – Grapevine campground where my car was parked!! Yippee! A great day!

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