Like any good conservative I don't trust my government so I completely disregarded their warnings that this trail was difficult, strenuous, and dangerous. Caution? Caution is for Democrats... 5 hours later I found myself on a barren hill side thinking that the rescuers could find me by following the circling vultures.
Couple of hints here...definitely go clockwise on the trail. There is a lot more shade and a lot less difficult up after you are tired from boulder climbing. The distances and heights are very deceptive. It says it is 8.6 miles but my pedometer said it was closer to 17. That is a lot up, down and short steps. The listed vertical is also only 1300 but it felt like triple that. Bottom line don't take this one lightly!
Hiked the loop clockwise around the crater. A front moved through but it was still fairly warm at the bottom of the canyon. It rained for the last couple of miles.
I gave myself heat stroke on this trip (was confused, feeling drunk & vision was going in & out). I carried far too much weight, not enough water and grossly underestimated the heat. Had to collapse in the shade of an overhang in a dry wash, strip down to my skivvies and rest while sipping water and eating prickly pear that I skinned (for extra moisture).
I learned a lot on this trip.
Super pretty area. I'll return someday better prepared. The desert is nothing to fool around with!
An incredibly varied and beautiful hike, almost ridiculously taxing even in November.
It was 28 degrees F when I started at 7:15 a.m. Was in the shade most of the time but felt comfortable. ended at 12:50 p.m. and 45 degrees F.