The Beauty of the Catwalk — Part 1


The Catwalk

The Catwalk

This hike along the Catwalk Trail offers absolutely stunning views and photo opportunities.  New formations lurk around every corner, and current views change to reveal totally different perspectives and sights with a mere change of just a few short feet.  Indeed, the following sight revealed itself to Ursula only through a break in the trees above:

Man wearing a miner's helmet?

Man wearing a miner’s helmet?

It’s definitely a good thing that the federal government recognized the Catwalk was something worthy of preservation.  The efforts to convert the Catwalk from a support for a lumber operation waterline to a recreational hiking trail began as a Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) project way back in the 1930s.

A history of the Catwalk

A history of the Catwalk

Unfortunately, this early CCC effort focused on converting the existing wooden structure using the original supports rather than taking into account the vulnerability to the area’s floods and wildfires.  Consequently, the Catwalk was destroyed several times over the intervening years.  In 2013 the remnants of the Catwalk washed away in a massive flood, and for a while it looked as if the Catwalk would not be rebuilt.

Catwalk above Whitewater Creek

Catwalk above Whitewater Creek

Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed and funds were allocated to place new supports higher up the flood-prone canyon, and convert the trail from wood to metal.  The new Catwalk reopened to the public on Memorial Day weekend of this year — 2016.  Ursula had wanted to visit this area for years, and now that the trail reopened, this was the year.

Rust-red cliffs

Rust-red cliffs

The geology of this area is igneous, as you’ve probably surmised from the photos of the reddish rock formations and their rough texturing typical of magma.

Igneous cliffs

Igneous cliffs

It’s a dark and alien landscape dotted with contrasting sprinkles of green vegetation.

Cliffs

Cliffs

Beyond the canyon the landscape changes to something a bit more familiar, at least to those of us who live in the Desert Southwest.

The countryside beyond the canyon

The countryside beyond the canyon

Now for a little gallery of images.  Click on any image below to enlarge and bring up today’s slide show of the Catwalk:

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