This morning I joined several members of my community hiking club for a popular lollipop loop in the Madera Canyon Recreation Area in the Santa Rita Mountains. We parked at the Madera Trailhead Picnic Area and began our hike on the Bog Spring Trail. As we stepped out of the car our ears were treated to the magical sound of running water in Madera Creek across the road.
We chose to hike the Bog-Kent Springs loop in a clockwise direction, Bog Spring first. Although the spring box was full and overflowing, there was no water flowing in Bog's canyon despite all the recent rain. However the forest was as lush and green as I have ever seen it.
As we hiked from Bog to Kent Spring and rounded a corner on the first ridge we could clearly hear water running below in Kent Canyon. Upon arrival at Kent Spring we found only a trickle of water in Kent Creek's north fork, much to our surprise. Where was all that water that we heard earlier from above? Below the spring the north fork was virtually dry.
However, the south fork of Kent Creek was a different story with a robust flow coming down and out of Fern Canyon. The water made for delightful hiking along the middle portion of the Kent Spring Trail. The rain-saturated ground made for good footing while going down the steep and usually loose Kent Springs Trail.
We caught a glimpse of Kent Falls from the trail and quickly decided it was worth a visit this morning. So at the lowest of the Kent Creek crossings we took a short (maybe 500') detour up a route on the left (north) side of Kent Creek to Kent Falls where we took a relaxing break. The amount of water coming over the falls was exceptional for this early in the monsoon season.
Hiking conditions this morning were ideal. Although the air was damp the cool temperature mitigated the humidity. The recent pesky deer flies were nowhere to be found and the damp soil made for good traction. We had shade most of the way thanks to an early start and cloud cover as we hiked out. And except for another small group at Kent Falls that left shortly after we arrived, we had the whole loop to ourselves.