I was last out this way in Feb 2014 so I figured it was about time for a return trip.
I began at the Bulldog Blue Point gate following my return route from the last time, which was as straight as possible without having to climb any steep slopes. I stayed high as I rounded the corner and headed in the direction of the Gateway. While traversing the slope I scared up a small javelina, which, as usual when shooting video, it would not move. As I moved forward it wheeled and shot away so the video very little action... so I merged it into a video with the next wildlife I encountered. (See below)
When I turned into Rhyodacite Canyon the route finding was pretty simple... it appeared someone had been there yesterday. I say that because where there was grass it very recently matted, which I first thought meant it happened today, but in some areas there was frost on it so it must have been yesterday.
Anyway, between the matted grass, footprints and cairns it was pretty easy going. A few times I had to bushwhack to avoid deeper pools (there was plenty of running water) until I reached the farthest point I had reached in 2014. Things slowed drastically from there as the tracks simply disappeared and the cairns became few and far between so I didn't go much farther before stopping for an already late lunch. Wouldn't you know it, the first spot I chose happened to be within 50 feet of a hives of bees in a mass of desert mistletoe in a Palo Verde, so I moved on another hundred yards or so.
After lunch I began the return leg, figuring it would be a breeze now that I knew the trouble spots to avoid. And of course, a couple detours presented other issues of their own, one of which is where I believe I picked up a hitch-hiker. (More about that later)
On previous trips I had visited three large caves, two of which had evidence of longer term human habitation but I didn't waste the time taking any side trips to visit them. (I took one zoom photo from across the canyon of the largest but that was it.)
As I approached the largest cave I caught a glimpse of something bushy zip behind a boulder, which reminded me of a gray fox encounter in the same area when I was out here last with Tracey. And whadda'ya know, here comes a gray fox around the boulder toward me! Which had me wondering if it could be the same one. Unlike the javelina, I was able to get a decent face-on photo along with some video. It couldn't seem to make up it's mind if it would move closer or turn and run, which is what it did. That would be the last 'action' of the hike.
0:58 - Trickling water in Rhyodacite Cayon
2:25 - Javelina and Gray Fox medley
Whoops... almost forgot to mention the unwanted hitch-hiker. Several hours after I got home I felt something on my neck. When I asked Tracey what it was she just about freaked out, It's a tick!
Thankfully is was moving so it was easy to remove it post-haste. We had to wonder how it was still on me after a shower and change of clothes... maybe it had dropped off me when I came in the house, then maybe latched onto my shirt several hours later was when I was laying on the kitchen floor changing the water filter under the sink. Whatever... it's gone now.