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Flat Cat Canyon Day Hike
At first, this less-defined route may feel as if you’re cutting a bit aimlessly across open desert. But don’t worry; you haven’t fallen down Alice’s rabbit hole. Although you may glimpse the long ears of a jack rabbit loping among the cholla cacti, and the silver-green mounds of chuparosa. Also watch for small, shallow depressions in the sand. These are the dusty “tubs” made by kangaroo rats that roll in the sand to bathe.
You’ll cut across a sand wash, channeled out by floodwaters, and turn to the right for a short distance. Tracks are usually plentiful in this area. You’re likely to see the hoof prints of big horn sheep, along with coyote and fox tracks, which are difficult to tell apart. The coyote’s claws are usually more defined on an imprint than a fox’s.
The (southern) ridge of Flat Cat Canyon will be on your left. At its rocky end point, take a look at the interesting metamorphic rock that looks like enormously magnified phyllo dough, with its many layers baked a deep brown. Head north again for a short distance then southwest into the ravine’s opening. The trail will be what you make of it at first, picking your way through cacti and rocks.
Generally, the best way to start heading up the canyon is on the right, where a gently ascending sand wash makes for fairly easy stepping (heading more to the left requires more difficult rock scrambling).