Thursday, April 9, 2009

Sandstone Quarry/White Rock Hills Loop - 4/9/09

This morning, we hiked the 7 miles of the Sandstone Quarry / White Rock Hills Loop. Ten hikers set out from the quarry parking lot off of the Red Rock scenic loop drive and began hiking on the Grand Circle Trail towards the White Rock Hills. The weather was perfect for a hike and the morning light showed beautifully on the Red Rock Canyon Escarpment which we faced for around 3 miles.

After making our way over to the White Rock Hills, we headed up the road towards Keystone Thrust. The climb from the beginning of the hike to the peak of the hike was around 1400 feet in a distance of a little over 4 miles. It was quite a workout but, with a few rest stops, we all stayed together. The pace was reasonably fast and light-hearted conversation centered around the possible tastiness and nutrition of the many caterpillars we saw along the way.

About half a mile before we reached the peak of the climb, we passed by the trail leading down to the Keystone Thrust area which is featured in the foreground of the picture to the left. In the distance past the ridge, you see the calico hills and even further, you can see the valley of Las Vegas. Our hike took us to the other side of the ridge in the picture where we followed a main wash back down to the quarry area.

Before reaching the large main gravel-filled wash, we climbed down through this smaller wash which was a favorite part of the hike for many of the hikers. It was filled with small, medium and large boulders which are always fun to negotiate. Then, we hit the wide main wash lying underneath Turtlehead Peak. We found a couple of places where we could substitute the Turtlehead Trail for the wash which was a little easier on the feet. We completed the 7 miles in about 3.5 hours.

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