Thursday, November 12, 2009

Red Cap - 11/12/09

Nineteen hikers climbed Red Cap today. Red Cap is a hike long in scrambling and short in distance. To add to its exciting features, there were 40 mph wind gusts to add to the constant strong winds that had been predicted for the morning hours at Red Rock Canyon NCA. (Begging your pardon for the blurry pictures added to this blog which were taken in windy conditions without a tripod nor a handy image stabilizer.)

The trail begins at the Sandstone Quarry Parking Area on the Scenic Loop. Taking a left soon after beginning on the Calico Tanks Trail, the Red Cap Trail heads quickly up the sandstone mountain with several steep scrambles involved. The views from the side of the mountain are unmatched. All around are colors and shapes of natural beauty framed by wide open space.

The wind became a huge factor as we neared the top. To be safe, we were all reaching for the nearest rock to hug! There were several lightweight women in the group who threatened to take flight a few times! In the distance, we could see the Las Vegas Strip which was about to be enveloped by a huge dust cloud coming in from the south. We sat on the top of Red Cap for a few minutes before climbing down to take our break.

We climbed down to the water tank level which was more protected from the wind. Here, we took our break and chatted for a few minutes. Afterwards, we explored three tanks which were bone dry. Inside one of the dry tanks, someone had built a rather substantial cairn which we can only assume was pointing out the directions of the compass. They built it tall enough so that when the tank fills with water, it will rise above the surface.

We didn't mess around on the tank level much longer before we headed down to the very large tank that stays dry most of the time. We had to drop down into it then cross the length of it where one solitary yellow flower held strong. From here, we climbed out the other side and headed down the side of the mountain where the winds of Hades hit us square in the face.

We each negotiated the mountain- side carefully. There were a lot of "holding on of hats." Mass Production Wall seemed the best route to take hoping that it would provide some protection from the wind. At the bottom, we were home free on the Calico Tanks Trail.

Collection of Smiles

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