Thursday, January 28, 2010

Beyond Mouse's Tank - 1/28/10

Today, thirty hikers made the trek up to Valley of Fire where Brian promised a great hike of 6 miles (which "will feel like 8 miles") that leads you beyond the small popular trail to Mouse's Tank. Yes, it was somewhere between 5 and 6 miles; and yes, because of the up, down, over, under, around and through features of the hike, it felt like at least 8 miles!

Throughout the entire hike, we were surrounded by the red sandstone that makes up most of the Valley of Fire. It was a beautiful day and photographers of the group were everywhere. We would like to thank Brian for showing us this fantastic hike. Although, it is doubtful that it can be described in detail after only one time through, an attempt will be made to generalize.

The hike began with a bit of serious scrambling. There was one place, in particular, that required instruction. After about a mile or so, we began hiking down the Valley of Fire wash. It was full of sand that was still damp from the rains we have had recently. We saw many footprints from a huge coyote and a few big horn sheep.

We were in the wash for around another mile then after passing around an interesting yet unreachable slot canyon, we climbed for another mile up to a plateau where we took our much needed break. Here, there were views of snow-capped mountains in the distance.
Throughout most of the hike, the white peak called Silica Dome was in view. The first and third pictures above show the peak as it "peaked" out from behind a lot of red rock. The plateau area was expansive and was the high point of our hike.

To the right is a picture of some remains of a big horn sheep. It remains hidden from view when the right people are not around so that future generations may enjoy it. We saw very little wildlife on the hike. A raven and a chipmunk about summed it up.

After the break, we continued scrambling for a while heading back in the direction of the cars. The loop hike began to the left of the Mouse's Tank Trail and ended by coming up behind Mouse's Tank, past the petroglyphs and out. Six miles in the heart of Valley of Fire turned out to be quite a workout.

                                        Mouse's Tank ... and beyond!

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