Saturday, October 24, 2009

Calico Tanks - 10/24/09

It was the Around the Bend Friends' first official hike at Red Rock; it was a be-'u-tiful day; the atmosphere was uplifting as volunteers around the park were giving things a facelift; and ... 39 hikers showed up for the 2.5 mile jaunt on the most beautiful trail at Red Rock! We would like to welcome several new hikers that we signed up this morning and, please, don't be strangers!

Our line of hikers stretched over the trail below the looming Turtlehead Peak as we started out. Some hikers were experiencing Red Rock Canyon through hiking for the first time. Yes, it IS rocky ... but that's the gorgeous desert! The photog hopes you will accept the long showing of photos presented here. It was just such an exceptional day!

The trail begins from Sandstone Quarry on the scenic loop hiking past the quarry signs around the bend to the right and up the canyon wash. The trail was augmented long ago with rock steps in several places. At several points, there is so much sand that you feel like you are on the beach. Eventually, you arrive at the top of the wash and you see below you a large area which usually has quite a bit of water in it. Today, however, it was still dry from last spring. In fact, all the tanks we saw today were dry as a bone.

Hiking past the dry water tank, we found a nice spot to sit on the overlook. From this point, you can see the Las Vegas Strip, Calico Basin, Red Springs, and the mountains surrounding our city. After the break, we organized a small group of 11 people to hike up the hill and see three more tanks while taking in a more inclusive view of Red Rock.

After taking one last photo of the fantastic view, we proceeded to the tight wash that leads up to the top of Calico II Peak. The first step is the most difficult requiring teamwork. So one by one, we got past the first step and on up the wash while battling scratching brush, steep steps, and dead logs across our path.

We reached the top of the short interesting climb and enjoyed the view for a few minutes. The summit itself was filled with unusual sandstone formations. The view around us was uninterrupted. The group was mesmerized by the sight, and then, much discussion was made about the descent. Each hiker was to choose whether he or she would go back down the way they came up or try the way with ...(wait for it) ... lots of exposure!

Well, as it turned out, 2 hikers went back down the wash, 7 hikers took a fright-filled yet exciting trip down the side of the mountain and 2 hikers began the "fright hike" and opted for another route full of exploration. The 7 of us that took the "fright hike" looked at our "segment coordinator" with doubtful eyes, made sure she had plenty of lead (if she fell off the mountain, they would not go there), and learned a few new tricks ... like, "don't look down!" We all got down safely not very long after the main group had left the big tank. As we hiked out for the next 45 minutes, there was plenty to talk about. Everything was said from "I can't wait to go back up there!", to "I'm glad I did it once but I won't do it again!"

Anyway, another wonderful day around the bend now showing at Red Rock Canyon!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great pictures, and an equally great article. Thanks so much for sharing. HowardnStella