Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Anniversary Narrows Loop - 2/26/24

Club Members hike into Anniversary Narrows

In Lovell Wash at Rainbow Canyon Junction

Closed Mine and Ore Car Track through Tunnels

The desert Crossover
The trailhead for Anniversary Narrows is located on Northshore Road MM 16. This is where 9 club members gathered for a beautiful loop that culminated at the top end of Anniversary Narrows. The trailhead parking lot is not far from Lovell Wash. 
     About two miles up the wash to the north is the Anniversary Mine, one of several mines in the Muddy Mountains that produced borate from deposits of colemanite in the upper part of the Horse Spring Formation. In this area, in addition to borate, the Horse Spring Formation contains thin layers of algal mats (fossil organic material deposited through the action of algae), fossil animal tracks and ripple marks indicative of a mudflat environment.

Cryptobiotic Soil

Heading into Rainbow Canyon to visit the Mine Shaft

Looking down into the Mine Shaft - Appears Bottomless!

Hiking and Talking
     The Anniversary Mine colemanite deposit, in Lovell Wash, was discovered by F. M. Lovell and G. D. Hartman of St. Thomas in 1921. The deposit was acquired by West End Chemical Co. and production began at the Anniversary Mine in 1921. The operation closed in 1928 due to competition from California mines.
--- Geologic Tours in the Las Vegas Area (Expanded Edition with GPS Coordinates), Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology Special Publication 16, University of Nevada, Reno, Mackay School of Earth Sciences, 2008, Bear Printing, Sparks, NV; page 69.    (paraphrased)

The group of nine hikers began their loop hike by climbing up and over the berm bordering the parking lot. We caught a trail that crossed over to wide Lovell Wash and dropped into it. Turning right, we could see Rainbow Canyon entering Lovell Wash from the left. On this cloudy day, the colors were naturally rich. We turned into the canyon and hiked up a short distance to the leftover mine shaft of a different dig. It's very deep and we took care not to become a victim of the hole!

Turning back into Lovell Wash

Greenstone in Lovell Wash

Scalloped edges in Lovell Wash

Following Lovell Wash to Narrows
The next 1.5 miles was hiked up Lovell Wash where the red and yellow colors petered out and greenstone colors were added in. Since the wash was slightly damp, it was easily hiked. We passed the junction where the mine road came in from the right and climbed the hill up to the left. The road to the left led to the old mining camp. Years ago, we would include the camp ruins in our hike but since then, the land was repurposed for someone's financial gain. We continued up the wash and came to the original adit used for Anniversary Mine, called the Ore Car Mine. Just outside the adit, an ore car track was built to carry the ore through two short tunnels and around the corner. The trail left by the track can still be hiked and some of our hikers did so.

Approach to tunnel Curve

Grand entrance to the Narrows

Slalom through the Narrows

White rocks in an open Area
A little further up Lovell Wash, we could see the entrance to the narrows. We had several newbies on the hike and the wondering was palpable. No need to wonder longer. We entered the slot and photos ensued. Slowly, we hiked up through the 1/3 mile of amazing results of water tearing through rock. Thousands (maybe millions) of years of flash flooding had cut through this rock and created a masterpiece of sculpting. Although I have been through this slot many times in the past, I still felt honored to be able to enjoy it at least one more time. Due to annual flooding, the gravel level had changed since last year and the scrambles were ... again ... different. A little easier this year.

Obvious water Sculpting

Gradual Ascent

Abundance of Photo Ops

Taking our break at the top of the Narrows
We took our break at the top end of the narrows enjoying each others' company. Afterwards, we started back down through the slot at the same slow speed we took on the way up. Not far after we exited, we took a left turn into a small canyon sometimes referred to as the "Backdoor" to the narrows. This is a steep little canyon with a few slanted walls that leads up to its saddle, the high point of the hike. From there, we hiked down through the following wash, crossed over an area used for previous mining equipment and headed in a 2 o'clock direction to drop into a bordering wash. We found the use trail into the wash and continued down. On down, we kept our eyes open for the exit trail on the left side that angled uphill.

The most difficult Scramble

Sue climbs up the backdoor canyon Exit

Club Members arrive at the top of the backdoor Canyon

Down from the Saddle - Into the Desert Terrain
The exit trail was a mess from winter rains. It brought us up to a ridge where we turned to the right and followed the ridge as far as it would take us. In the distance, we saw the small red wall beckoning us. Making it down to the wall, we followed its wash to the right and out to the mine road. A left turn on the road brought us all the way back to the cars. This is a grand loop for most levels of hikers. And, we certainly all had fun!

Stats: 6.4 miles; 900' gain; 3.75 hours

Drop into Wash

Between gypsum laden Walls

Along the ridge to the small red wall at the End

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Redstone / Jean's Canyon Loop - 2/24/24

Inside the Redstone Slot

View from Jean's Saddle

Jean's Canyon


Newly engaged John and Deborah
Nestled between the Bitter Spring Valley (named for the bitter taste of springs in this area) and the Hamblin Bay Fault just north of Lake Mead and the Black Mountains, is a place called Redstone. Redstone lies on the south side of Northshore Road between MM 25.5 and MM27.5. It is an area that is filled with Aztec Sandstone and, subsequently, many petroglyphs from ancient native occupants ... if you can find them. There is a picnic area and restroom that lies near Northshore Road MM 27 but today's hike with 15 hikers began by parking at the MM 26 turnout to hike up a nearby wash toward the redstone. During this hike from beginning to end, we passed several tortoise burrows. Be aware that those wonderful creatures are trying to get some sleep!

Canyon wash leading to Mushroom Rock

Mushroom Rock (right)

Mushroom, Elephant, and Eagle

Hiking through Redstone
Nearing the redstone, we found a use trail leading up toward Mushroom Rock. As we wandered around the redstone, we took on small opportunities to scramble and name redstone animals; including an elephant arch and a resting eagle seen across a wash to the east. Next, the route turned west and we began a cross trek over a couple of ridges following game and use trails. The group was strong and welcomed the exertion. Finally, we perched onto the last and highest ridge. This ridge had a trail that runs the length of the ridge so no matter where you come up to the ridge top, you can easily maneuver to the right place to begin your descent down the other side.

Descending to the Redstone Slot

Tight Squeeze in the Slot

Petroglyphs pointing to the Slot on Left

Bighorn Petroglyphs
Downhill in the distance, one particular space between walls can be seen from this vantage point. This is your target; the Redstone Slot. There is a small bit of a scrambly brushy approach to this canyon slot but about half way down, you get a clear view of the now brushless slot. One caveat: the trimmer you are, the more success you will have getting through the lower portion of the slot! Most of us had to remove our pack! As the fifteen hikers exited the slot, we each began observing the petroglyphs on the wall to the left. We noted that one man seemed to be pointing to the slot! As we continued along that wall, we noted several other petroglyphs which included eight bighorn sheep and a possible coyote!
Climbing up from the Slot Area

Descending off of the Plateau

Keyhole Arch

Scrambling through Cut Wash
Turning up to the right at the bighorn display, we climbed a ramp to the top of the next plateau. The best way we have found to get down into the canyon to the north is found in a 2:00 direction from the top of the ramp. There is a slippery zigzag trail down then a scramble, a drop into the ramp wash to the right and we came on down! Some people have named this Kay's Drop! Anyway, we exited the canyon below to the left and went around the corner to view Pinto Valley from under a Keyhole Arch. From there, we continued our drop down to a desert plateau between two large washes. At the endpoint of the plateau, we dropped once again to hike through the Cut Wash on the left which leads to the Old Arrowhead Road. Our break followed!

Taking a Break on the Old Arrowhead Road

Following the Old Arrowhead Road

Mark inside Jean's Canyon

Stephen climbing through Jean's Canyon
Approximately 3/4 mile down the Old Arrowhead Road from our break spot, we junctioned with the bottom end of Jean's Canyon. This junction is marked with a small cairn. We turned right and began a winding ascent through the lower part of the canyon. Things finally get interesting  when we get to the famous Slip 'n' Slide dryfall go around. Some of the stronger hikers climbed up the Slip 'n' Slide but the rest of us chose to take the go around of the go around! After this fun spot, we reached the 3rd class dryfall further up. No one had any problems negotiating the climb that has many handholds and footholds. The climb up to the Bear Paw Poppy Saddle continued steeply. At the top, we found a way over the saddle and started down the other side. But, not before we observed a group of bighorns (females and kids) observing us from the top of the next ridge over. Most likely, one female and kid were the same we saw a week ago on the Jean's Peak hike.

3rd Class Climb

Climb Continues

Bighorns seen from Jean's Canyon Bear Paw Poppy Pass

Descending the other side of Jean's Canyon
The other end of Jean's Canyon has a few slanted obstacles then, after around 1/3 of a mile, we turned right onto the Jean's Saddle Trail. This route is worth the climb as you are able to take in the view of the second photo of this entry at the top. We took the trail down the other side and turned left on the Old Arrowhead Road. Another quarter of a mile on the road in the wash and the road led us up to the right and back to the cars. Not quite 6 miles, this is an interesting hike with a lot of things to see and do! A fun time was had by all great friends!

Stats: 5.8 miles; 1025' gain; 4.25 hours

A lot of slanted Terrain

View from Trail up to Jean's Saddle (Jean's Canyon Below)

Starting down from Saddle

Finishing out on the Old Arrowhead Road