Sunday, January 25, 2015

Lone Palm - 1/24/15

Lone Palm at Colorado River - Photo: Kay Blackwell (2009)

Lone Palm Waterfall into Colorado River - Photo: Kay Blackwell (2013)

 Saturday, Joan and Chuck Hawkins took a group of hikers down to Lone Palm. John Ward offered a few photos, Keith Lane provided the GPS track and Joan wrote a narrative of the hike. (A few photos were taken from Kay's archives and added by the writer.)

 Fourteen hikers took on the challenge of hiking to Lone Palm on the Colorado River.  The original palm tree has died and been replaced by a few new palm trees.  Most of the hikers had never been to Lone Palm before.  We started at the gravel parking lot to your right when you take the Kingman Wash exit after crossing the bridge into Arizona from Nevada.  Soon after heading down the wash, we took a left into an area of big rocks and followed a small trail up on the left taking us over the rocky area to a trail on the other side.  It took us to where the Lone Palm hike started before the widening of US93. 

Old Etchings
We continued up the wash and flat area until we reached a small area of interest.  Just off the route to the right is a rocky area. At the entry are several etchings of the past—R.P. Walker 1955 and U3O8 among them.  Looking up U3O8 on Wikipedia defines it as Triuranium octoxide.

Steep Downhill into Wash

  The rocky area ends in a tall dropoff showing where we would eventually be.  We continued on to a small rocky sheep trail around to the right of the hill next to us.  We followed sheep trails along the side of several steep hillsides.  Eventually, we had to head straight down toward the wash below.  We took a small detour over a hill to the left which gave us a good view of Liberty Bell Arch in the distance.  We had a few small dry falls to negotiate and then arrived at “The Eye” area for a short break.  “The Eye” is a white marking that looks like an eye that is toward the top of a tall rock when you enter the wash leading down to Lone Palm.  After our short break,we headed down the wash toward Lone Palm.  The wash starts as a flat easy wash, and then has a few small rocks/falls to negotiate before narrowing to a trail for the final descent to the Colorado River. 

John at Guillotine Rock
 John posed for a picture near the “guillotine” rock and we climbed an “escalator “rock before arriving at the Colorado River.  We climbed to the flat overlook next to the Colorado River for our lunch.  A few hikers went to the side of the lunch area to see the small hot spring waterfall next to the Colorado River.  

Warm Springs Area with Tamarisk - Photo: Kay Blackwell (2009)

   There is a way to get down to the river by scrambling down on the left side of the overlook. If the river is not flowing high, you can make your way upstream about twenty yards to the waterfall that flows from the hot springs to the river. The waterfall is seen in the second photo of this entry.

On another note, efforts have been made to rid this area of the non-native tamarisk plant.

The Group Arrives at the River
 After lunch, we retraced our steps a very short way and then took a short steep trail down to the stream bank to our left.  The stream was narrow and we all crossed it without problem.  John had walked down the stream from our lunch area and was already on the other side.  We then had to climb up the steep area before us.

View Up River at Lone Palm - Photo: Kay Blackwell (2013)

Photo: Kay Blackwell (2013)
 Once we got to the top, we found a trail around the corner that took us across the top for a while until we had to climb over a small rock wall to our climb down to a wash on the other side of the lone palm area.

 We were only in this wash for a very short distance before turning to our left into a small wash.  At its end, we went to the left and climbed out the “rock ladder”.  At the top of the “rock ladder,” we found another trail area leading across the high area to our final climb down to the wash leading us most of the way back.  Everyone negotiated their own way down the steep hillside and we regrouped at the bottom. 

Taking a Break above the River
 We turned right heading up the wash, only to soon hit a dry fall blocking our way.  Some of the group decided to climb the fall at that point.  Others in the group went back to the left and climbed the side of the fall, walking out over the top.

Taking a Break above the River

 We made sure to stay to the right when the wash split to the left.  If you go to the left, it is a difficult climb back up to the cars.  We chose to continueto the right and climb to an old road to the left when we got to a small rocky area.  It’s a steep climb up the old road, but much of it is on old cracked pavement.  The road ends at the wash leading to the cars and we turned right and returned to the cars.    ~ Joan

5 miles; 2600 feet elevation gain; 4.75 hours

The Rock Steps - Rear View

Taking the Wash Up

Monday, January 19, 2015

Red Mountain Loop via Ten Trails - 1/19/15

Red Mountain from Girl Scout Trail

Lake Mead from near Red Mountain Summit

Starting Up the POW Trail

 Sixteen hikers used a total of ten trails in the Bootleg Canyon Bike Trail system this morning, to hike an 8.5 mile loop up to the summit of Red Mountain in Boulder City from the Veterans' Home trailhead. It was a cold morning with a bit of wind and remained so until we were halfway back to the cars. Cold hands, warm hearts. We started up the POW Trail from the parking lot.

One of Many Bike Trail Dips
 Bike trails tend to have a lot of dips such as the one seen in the photo above. They are both steep going down and steep going up. Hikers each have a way of dealing with the undulation. Running down then, using the momentum, run up the other side as far as you can usually works.

Mother Trail
 The POW Trail brought us all the way up to the Mother Trail where we turned to our right and hiked for almost half a mile. Next, we turned to our left onto a Connector Trail. This trail connects to the West Leg and Girl Scout Trails on the other side of the saddle above.

Mother Trail with Boulder City in Background

 Reaching the other side of the saddle, we dropped down on the Girl Scout Trail and followed it as it wound around near the Bootleg Canyon dirt road. We could see the West Leg Trail up above us to the left and the East Leg across the dirt road to our right. The Girl Scout Trail took us around a mile and a quarter before we came to the next trail junction.

Starting Up Boy Scout Trail
 This trail junction offered several trails to choose from. We crossed a large dirt area and dropped down onto the Boy Scout Trail. The Boy Scout Trail is named Bootleg Wash Trail on the satellite map below.

Boy Scout Trail Junction
 There were a few recreational bikers out on the trails today but they were not zooming around like they were yesterday during the bike race. We also saw a couple of dogs with their people.

Climbing from Caldera to Saddle

 The Boy Scout Trail gained elevation on the back side of Red Mountain. Eventually, we found ourselves climbing up to the saddle between Red and Black Mountains. From there, we began the climb up Red Mountain by turning to our right. The trail crossed the parking lot at the top of the Bootleg Canyon dirt road. Then we continued up the rest of the Summit Trail to reach the top of the zip line and the peak itself.

Climbing the Summit Trail
 When we peaked out, we sat to enjoy our break. The views were beautiful even though the clouds stubbornly remained, blocking out the blue sky.

On Top of Red Mountain
 Still, the wind had died down quite a bit and we were comfortable. A little unusual for Red Mountain in the winter.

Group of Four Female Bighorn Sheep from Skyline Trail

 We dropped down off of the summit by retracing our steps to the parking area. From there, we started down the Skyline Trail. Immediately, someone spotted a small group of bighorns below us. As we hiked around the trail, we spotted the bighorns four more times. They were not in a hurry to get away from us but, in the end, we had gotten so close that they decided running was in their best interest.

Skyline Trail
 We continued around the Skyline Trail enjoying the Las Vegas skyline as the sun started to make its appearance.

Las Vegas Skyline
 Finally, jackets were removed just before we junctioned with the East Leg Trail. The East Leg Trail is a colorful trail that circles near the base of Red Mountain.

Red Mountain from East Leg Trail

 At this point, the coordinator was very interested in shortening the return leg to the cars as much as possible so we began looking for a good way to drop down to the dirt road and cross over to the other side. When we got to the ramp where bikers practice their downhill skills, we followed this trail down to the road. Crossing the road led us directly to an unofficial trail that took us straight up the hill where we found the Connector Trail that we used earlier.

Hiking the East Leg Trail
We crossed over the saddle and dropped down to the Mother Trail. We jogged to the left and took a right down into an easily accessible wash.

Return Over the Connector Trail
 The wash was large and the footing here was easy. Now, we just had to have a good nose for direction.

Dropping into the Wash from Mother Trail

 This first wash started leading us around to the left so we jumped over to the next wash on the right and followed it. This wash had excellent direction so we followed it all the way down to the River Mountains Trail at the Veterans' Home. Here, we picked up the dirt road that led back to the cars. Excellent hike!

8.5 miles; 1550 feet elevation gain; 4.25 hours

Colorful Terrain

Smaller Wash after Jump to Right

Following the Wash all the Way Down