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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Search for Toquerville Falls

The closing of the roads past the gravel pit threw a few big boulders into my plans to find the back road to Toquerville Falls. Yesterday, Terry brought us out to his little overlook off Highway 9, and Reinee and I hiked across country toward the road I had seen from the gravel pit area. It was interesting to see Grotto Cove from above.

Several wildflowers attracted our attention - the reds of blooming paintbrush and mammilaria, and the gentle pinks of Mojave paintbrush. I slipped on some loose rock and my hand came down on a mammilaria. Pulling out the spines was no fun. It drew blood!

In the distance, I could see the gravel road which I thought might take us to Toquerville Falls. Unfortunately, there's no way to get to it without going down into the area near the gravel pit. Using any other route, the final descents are dangerously steep, almost vertical. We'd have to go back out Highway 9 and up past the guard rail section to find a way across. But I could see another way in, from Highway 17, and Terry was willing to explore it, so we went back out and gave it a try. After navigating a half-completed housing development (Those fireplugs looked so lonely!) we wound our way along a steep and narrow gravel road that our little 2-wheel drive pickup could just barely navigate. We were finally able to turn around near the Toquerville water tank. The ride down was scary. Loose gravel created poor traction and there were steep drop-offs on both sides. But we did see a side road that led off to the north, toward Toquerville Falls.

Today Terry took us out and dropped us off at the beginning of that road. It was quite windy, with rain threatening. When it was almost time to turn around, we took a steep road to the right, which led us around by the water tank and back to the car. Reinee insisted on sniffing around near the almost vertical drop-offs. I had to call her back several times. The wind was very strong. Luckily it was blowing away from the steep drops. When we rounded one curve, I could lean into the wind and feel it supporting me. It reminded me of walking over the Nuuanu Pali in Hawaii. Reinee wasn't crazy about the wind, but we pushed forward. The wind was getting into my ears, and I can imagine, with her huge ears, that it was much worse for her.

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