Saturday, January 23, 2010

Red / Black Mountains (Boulder City) - 1/23/10

One could not ask for a more gorgeous day for a hike to the top of Red & Black Mountains in Boulder City.

After a rainy, hikeless week in Las Vegas, thirty-eight hikers came out for a 6-mile hike. The weather was beautiful. The air was clear. The snow on surrounding mountains was fresh. And, the sun was in full bloom. Las Vegas was doing its best impression of Salt Lake City with snow as a backdrop covering all the way down to the foothills.

We immediately divided into two groups. The first group went out at a fast clip with intentions to climb to the saddle between Red and Black Mountains then up to the peak of Red and back then up to the peak of Black to meet with the other group who intended to only climb to the peak of Black. Follow me?

Red Mountain approach.

The trail begins in Boulder City on the River Mountain Trail system. It is a well- maintained trail which gradually climbs about 1000 feet up the side of Red Mountain with switchbacks to the saddle. As the second group of hikers began climbing up the switchbacks, they could see the first group already nearing the saddle as seen to the right.

As the second group neared the saddle, the clear picture of Black Mountain's peak came into view. To the right, if you enlarge the picture, you can see the park bench and information sign on the peak. In the foreground, you see a clear difference in colors of terrain. I guess you can deduct for yourself why they named these mountains Red and Black.

Crossing the saddle towards Black Mountain is when Las Vegas comes into view.

Arriving at the top of Black Mountain, Lake Mead can be seen on the other side from the Strip. It was a beautiful blue color today and, in the picture to the left, you can see Hamblin Mountain sitting prominently in the center. Remember, Hamblin is the hike we cancelled two days ago due to very rainy weather.

The first group of hikers who climbed Red arrived from their adventures a few minutes later. We took our leisurely break on top of Black then proceeded back down the switchbacks escaping a chilly wind that had kicked up on the peak. We descended as a group, albeit a very spread out group. There was a rumor that two very large big horn sheep had been spotted by the hikers near the end of the line. Unfortunately, the camera was somewhere in the middle of the long line!

The lake seen past the relaxing hikers is what is usually the playa which is used for recreation purposes between Boulder City and Henderson.

A slightly better attempt at stitching together a panorama than the one that was attempted last summer.

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