Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Ash Canyon / Gateway Canyon - 3/3/09

On this Tuesday, twenty-four hikers came out to join Chris for a Red Rock hike up Ash Canyon, a rather formidable canyon, I might add.

We met at the Red Springs parking lot and began our hike as if heading toward the Red Springs climb. Nearing the climb, we veered off to the right and headed to Ash Canyon, the next canyon climb. After reaching the end of the trail proper, we began bouldering. For those hikers unfamiliar with "bouldering," the upcoming climb provided a quick class in Bouldering 101 (and 102 and 103).

Because many of the hikers were seasoned Red Rock hikers, the group became very spread out at a couple of points during the hike. (It's tough to herd cats sometimes!) At any rate, many people chose the climb that they wanted to do and Ash Canyon cooperated in providing many options.

Nearing the top of the canyon, the wind kicked up like gangbusters. At times, it was difficult to stand, much less climb into the wind. Finally reaching the top of the canyon (and, out of breath for a few of us), we were met with this beautiful view of Turtlehead Peak.

Attempting to escape the wind, we again got separated as we hiked down the connector trail to Gateway Canyon. This canyon is one of the most beautiful canyons in Red Rock. There are red rocks, candy-stripe rocks and white rocks accentuated by the gray limestone gravel floor of the wash.

The rock formations on either side of the canyon were rounded and towering about 100 feet above the floor.

The obstacles that Gateway Canyon provided were as challenging as the Ash Canyon obstacles except for one thing, gravity was now on our side. The sitting and sliding method became useful a few times. I was assured that Gateway changes its obstacles every year. This was backed up by visual evidence of powerful water drainage showing 10 to 20 feet up on the canyon walls.

After exiting Gateway Canyon, we followed the trail back to the cars. Again, we became separated and two different trails were taken. Along this portion of the hike, one hiker spotted this small desert tortoise. There was some speculation that the poor thing might be dead.

It was a beautiful day ... just a little windy. Krafft Mtn. was showing its colors. The hike totaled around 7 miles with 900 feet in elevation gain.

1 comment:

Las Vegas Cockapoo said...

What beautiful scenery. The red rock really stands out. Wished I could have been there.