Today was such a nicely cool day (abt 60°) that I wanted to get some trail work done. But I didn't feel up to climbing that mountain so decided to start on the South Rim Trail. I spent 3 hours clearing bushes out of the road leading up to the trailhead. It's an old road that we haven't really maintained. Since I'll be driving it a lot now, I need to protect the underside of my pickup. Just a few weeks ago I had to replace the radiator guard that broke out. Working under my pickup really kills my shoulder, so I don't want to rip off the radiator guard again. This view is headed away from the trailhead after I pruned and dug out all the bushes in the way.
Then after a short nap and lunch I went back and started on the actual walking trail. Couldn't stand to waste such a cool May day. Soon it'll be boiling hot out. I flagged a short distance of the proposed trail and started scraping grass, rocks, and stuff away, plus leveling it more, although it's a pretty flat area so far.
That flagging is on a Lotebush that has fruit on it.
I had been clearing dead sotol from the trail until I found this snake inside one. Now I'm making the trail go around the dead sotols. (A lot died during the 2011 drought and record cold.) No ID on the snake yet. I posted it online so will update when I get it ID'd. It was pretty traumatic for me to get a photo of it. Actually, felt sick to my stomach while I was carrying it in my thick leather-gloved hand (by its tail, of course) to the pickup where my camera was. Then I released it and tried to photograph it as is slithered away. Couldn't get the whole snake on one shot so here is part of it. It had a white underbelly and was between one and two feet long. I'm guessing it's a Mexican Hognose Snake.
Next is a very general idea of where the trail is going. It starts out relatively flat, then winds around to the right of that jagged outcropping, then up to a sort of saddle, then along the backside of that ridge up to the main saddle of the mountain that isn't visible on this photo, but in that general area. That will be the south route to the mountain top. Not sure yet if we're going to extend the Blue Oak Trail to the top on the west side or not. It depends on if this trail is an easier way to go or not.