Saturday, January 30, 2010

Rainbow Gardens - 1/30/10

The Around the Bend Friends Hiking Club has been very busy this week and today was no exception. Hiking Rainbow Gardens at the base of Lava Butte in the Lake Mead NRA, we numbered 45 strong, another record of attendance for the club. We descended on the small roadside parking area about one mile south of the Lake Mead Blvd. entrance to the recreation area, got our gear together and began hiking up the wash towards Lava Butte.

Just before we climbed a ridge to drop over into the small canyon wash beyond, we hiked through a junkyard of sorts. Actually, these old rusted antiques are remnants of a homestead of long ago. In fact, this area is still claimed by someone for mining but there hasn't been any action here for years.

We climbed over the ridge, dropped into the Lava Butte wash and were immediately surrounded by color. There were yellows, greens, whites, browns and pinks. Each color is a different mineral and put together, one might call it a "rainbow!" There were a few muddy places in the wash that are the results of the heavy rains we received last week. However, it was plain to see that the plants were very happy.

At around 2.25 miles, we sat for a snack where there was a small tributary ending with a dry waterfall. Just past this, another part of the wash drains in. The group broke up into a small group and a larger one. The small group headed back to the cars taking this new wash. The larger group kept hiking down-wash to the back door of Lake Las Vegas. A very large wash with a water pipeline lying in it led the way to a finger of the lake. Some of the hikers chose not to navigate the huge mudhole right before approaching the lake and waited for the others' return.

After viewing the lake and avoiding any security concerns, the group hiked back up the big wash to another dry waterfall. Then, we headed back up the Lava Butte wash and out the same way that the other group had gone.

It was a beautiful day. The air was cool in the shade and warm in the sun with little or no breeze. The first group of hikers to return to the cars did around 3.5 miles. The second group put 6 miles under their belt with minimal elevation gain.

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