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.

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