Temperatures have been creeping up and this weekend’s hike to Devil’s Hole in the Las Trampas Wilderness was certainly a scorcher. With the thermometer inching past the century mark it will be hot days on the trail for the next several months.
While Devil’s Hole could be named after the heat it probably takes its name from the seemingly never-ending descent from the top of a ridgeline to the valley floor. the best thing about the hike is you have to make the climb twice. Starting out from the staging area it is a steep ascent tot he top of the park’s ridgline followed by a twisting plunge down to the canyon base. Once at the bottom and hiking to the park boindry you turn around and begin an arduous climb up a rock trail back to the ridgline in the midday heat.
On the first climb up I came across a rattlesnake looking for a break from the heat in the shade of a tree at the side of the trail. I did my best papparazzi impression stalking him with my Canon DSLR and iPhone cameras for about five minutes, always making sure to approach him tail first.
Even though the official start of summer is still nearly two week way the noontime temperature on the trail is sweltering. The Las Trampas Wilderness hillsides are already parched and dangerously dry. In some points on the trail I walked through waist high wild grasses, yellowed and withered by the lack of rain. Long gone are the lush green hillsides replaced by fields of gold waving in the hot breeze drifting across the canyon.
It will be tough on the trail for the next several hikes. Plenty of water and sunscreen will be just as import as the right lens and extra batteries in the pack.