Thursday, February 25, 2010

La Madre Spring, Cabin, Mine & Above - 2/25/10

There were seventeen hikers this morning who parked at the Willow Springs Picnic Area off of the Red Rock Scenic Loop and started hiking up Rocky Gap Road. At the La Madre Wilderness sign, we turned right onto a trail that used to be another road. Passing two old home foundations out of the 1930's or 40's, we soon found ourselves at the spring pool where a lot of bamboo grew in the area. The word is that this is the "coffee house" many mornings for big horn sheep.

We continued up a smaller and steeper trail which followed the spring water for a distance. At the top of an approximate 1200 foot climb (and 2.34 miles), we came upon the old miner's shelter. It was still decorated for Christmas with ornaments and tinsel.

Here, we took a break and split into two groups. One group stayed and waited at the cabin; the other group climbed the even steeper hill up to the mines, perhaps another 200 feet of elevation gain. At the mine, we saw that it was a large horizontal tunnel that a person of average stature can easily walk into for a distance. At this point, we, again, split into two groups. One group began their descent back to the cars; the other group of two decided to climb up the hill even further.

The point of the last climb was to locate and learn the trail up to the ridge where a viewpoint of Kyle Canyon in the Spring Mountain Recreation Area can be attained. The hill became steeper again but after about a quarter mile, the views became breath-taking. There was snow in the upper altitudes of the mountains all around us. The trail was not travelled often but it was marked by many cairns.

We reached the first ridge after climbing a critical point in the wall which fortressed the top.

Climbing through a lot of brush that had fallen with the rains, and losing the trail and finding it again a few times, we hiked to a point where we could clearly see the following ridge. The final ridge above us was still another thirty minutes away and we decided it was for another day when a longer hike was planned. Still, nothing ventured, nothing gained and this was a part of the La Madre Wilderness that was worth exploring.

When the last two hikers returned to their cars, the GPS read 5.64 miles for a four hour hike up around 1800 feet of elevation. The weather was beautiful with a little nip in the air.

This elevation graph represents the climb to the cabin only.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Calico II / Red Cap Loop - 2/23/10

Fifteen of us began at Calico II and headed to Sandstone Quarry.

From there we scrambled up Red Cap.

The tank found behind the approach was frozen over and the ice did not reflect well!

The sundial was peeking over the surface of the larger tank to the right.

We visited all the tanks which were full to the brim with water.

The sky was blue and the air was nippy but still warm in the sun.

There were a few snow patches and icy spots.

Climbing over the Calico Peak (seen above), we reached the main Calico Tank and scrambled straight down to the Calico II parking lot. There were many emergency vehicles to greet us as there was a rock climber who fell about 15 feet on his/her climb in the area. Las Vegas' finest were on their way.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Black Mountain Henderson With Snow - 2/22/10

Just wanted everyone to see what Black Mountain Henderson looks like today!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Canyonlands of Las Vegas - 2/18/10

Twenty- three hikers followed Ann south this morning to a place she calls Canyon- lands. Nestled in the southwest part of the Las Vegas area, are beautiful limestone canyons where a six mile loop hike takes the hiker up, down and around. It was reported that this was a good scrambling type hike.

To the left is part of a tortoise graveyard found in this area. A mystery of sorts, the tortoise shells are scattered with some broken and some intact.

Break time was taken at a cliff's edge with gorgeous views. Perhaps someone who was on the hike would like to make a few comments below.

The weather was warm today. Las Vegas hit the 70's for the first time this year. Our guest photographer, today, is Kay Komuro. Kay's pictures show that this was a great hike.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Calico / Gateway Loop - Photo Essay - 2/16/10

The south end of Calico Hills arriving from the Red Springs parking lot.

After picking up the Grand Circle Trail, we hiked through the Calico I Scenic Loop stop.

We hiked through Calico II and Sandstone Quarry. We took a break after 4 miles beneath Red Cap on the sandstone with gorgeous views.

Turtlehead Peak loomed above.

We hiked down to Gateway Canyon and started down. This water was flowing into the canyon from a wash to our left.

The gateway of the candy cane sandstone which is prevalent in Gateway Canyon.

The candy cane sandstone is one name for the calico sandstone that decorates so much of the Calico Hills.

More calico sandstone.

This is one blockage within the canyon which we hiked around to the left in the picture.

Due to the heavy rains of late, this pool resides at the foot of another obstacle in the canyon. There is a way to get around this pool to the right in the picture. It is estimated that this pool is between 5 and 6 feet deep.

The hike was 8.18 miles with approximately 1000 feet of elevation gain. The weather was perfect.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Black Mountain in Henderson - 2/15/10

Black Mountain rises as the tallest peak behind the town of Henderson, Nevada. This morning, the sun rose at 6:27am. Thirteen hikers from the Around the Bend Friends gathered to hike this 5000 foot mountain at 9am on an absolutely beautiful day in the valley. We began by climbing up past the water reservoir located in Anthem Sun City and turned right onto a trail which was posted with a sign indicating the Black Mountain Trail.

Black Mountain is covered with black igneous rock, red barrel cacti, silver cholla, hedgehog cacti, creosote, ephedra, and a few joshua trees. For three miles up and three miles down we hiked on its steep slope through the colorful landscape passing the turn off for Fracture Ridge at a large joshua tree. The first third of the hike was mildly steep which we took slow as a warm up. The second third of the hike was steep with two saddles interspersed. In this section, we found our legs and hiked at a decent clip. The last third of the climb was extremely steep and we each climbed the high rock steps at our own pace with twelve of us making it all the way to the top.

As we sat on the top of the mountain in the wind- break ring of rocks, we inspected the metal box of goodies where there is, among other things, a sign-in book. Chris entertained us as he read the interesting things written in the sign-in book and pulled out other assorted things from the metal box such as business cards and a schedule for the metro in Australia.

The view from the peak is an unob- structed 360 degree panorama. You name it, and we could probably see it! After our break we had to face the steep descent ... slowly and carefully. Everyone was concentrating very hard as the rocks and dirt were slippery as well. After we got down off the top third of the mountain, it was easier to breathe and the group began to spread out.

We passed several women who looked like they hiked up and down the mountain on a regular basis. They were accom- plishing the task at a fast rate. For us, it took 2 hours to go up the 2200 feet of elevation gain and 1.5 hours to go down. We had a lot of fun and it was a great way to spend the holiday.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

South Bowl of Fire - 2/13/10

The South Bowl of Fire is an interesting little pocket of red rock situated between Anniversary Narrows and the North Bowl of Fire which we visited a few weeks ago. Guy, our intrepid coordinator of the outing, led us to mile marker 16 on Northshore Road at Lake Mead and headed down the dirt road/wash to the right. We blindly followed Guy through a wash that had been rippled by recent rains and stopped at metal posts which indicated a trailhead.

Along the trail (which was another wash) thirty- three of us hiked. Coming to a blockage in the wash, some of us climbed up the rocks in the wash. Most of us climbed the hillside to the left of the boulders to get a little scrambling in while bypassing the blockage. It was great fun as Guy led the way. Continuing down the wash, we came to the most gigantic cairn we've ever seen! No, it was just a precariously settled boulder landmark which assured us that we were in the right wash. (See below.)

At the top of the wash, we arrived at the "bowl" itself. Suddenly, all around us was the red rock filled with interesting holes and tunnels. We spent several minutes enjoying the entrance to this amazing wonderland. Several hikers climbed up on the red rock and explored. Some hikers, which you see to the left below, found themselves in places that they could not get out of .... Nah! These guys were just clowning around!

We hiked around a large section of the bowl, took our break, intersected our original trail then returned the same way we came. The short outing was only 2.5 miles with around 400 feet of elevation gain. But, the weather was absolutely beautiful with a high in the low 60's. Everyone's mood was elevated with the sunshine. We wondered if the rain is done yet!