Thursday, September 10, 2009
No Name Trail - 9/10/09
The drive up Lee Canyon Road was beautiful as the rabbitbrush was beginning to bloom in the upper part. By the time we arrived at the trailhead which is located just past the ski area, the temperature had dropped to 52 degrees. The mountain air was fresh and clean and we began with no clouds in the sky up through the aspen forest.
There were six hikers on the hike up No Name Trail this morning and eight hikers coming down! The hike up to the summit of this trail requires effort as the elevation approaches the 10,000 foot mark. After passing through the aspens and reaching the turn-off point on the Bristlecone Trail, the six of us began the climb up the wash through brush and rock.
This is not a maintained trail and the regular Joe & Jane Public does not know of its existence as the forest service prefers it that way. Serious hikers of Las Vegas respect the trail's features and learn of the route through other seasoned hikers of Las Vegas. The No Name trail is actually an historical route of the Bristlecone and Bonanza Trail as part of the Spring Mtn. Divide.
Perhaps the route of old was given up for the modern route in interest of saving the integrity of the bristlecone forest through which it passes at the top of the climb.
Just after the six of us arrived at the trail's summit, two more hikers who missed the meeting point by a few minutes, joined our group. There is something about the comraderie one feels when meeting friends in the forest on a trail seemingly so far from anywhere that just makes you feel good.
The bristlecones which began their bloom and crop of new cones in the beginning of July are now well on their way to making the six inch seeds and foodstuff for forest critters. These trees are protected and it is unlawful to disturb even the dead limbs lying on the ground much less to use the deadwood as campfire fuel. This has been happening around the Spring Mtn. area as careless hikers attempt to warm themselves or cook while spending the night under the stars. People! Just come prepared with a cook stove and a really warm sleeping bag!
Pinus aristata can be thousands of years old and can produce pine cones of varying colors. Even though I read that the color of cone depends on the species of tree, these two cones were found on the same tree. (There blows that theory!) Just after blooming, the cones release their seeds. Therefore the small spray of fibers seen at the end of the red baby cone above.
The aspens have just begun changing their color. In a couple of weeks, the leaves will be completely yellow in color. The club plans to hike some of the more colorful trails in the Spring Mtns. during this time. Hopefully, we will get some good photos of the fall color coming up.
After walking through the old bristlecone forest on the summit of the hike, the trail meets with the Bonanza Trail seen to the right. We used this trail to connect with the new Bristlecone Trail below and hiked two miles back to the parking lot. Even though a large black cloud hovered above us for much of the hike, it never threatened with a single drop of rain. It did, however, intercept the sun's warmest rays and the hike was cool and pleasant from beginning to end.