Thursday, July 1, 2010

Griffith Peak - 7/1/10

Today, the Around the Bend Friends hiked Griffith Peak, the third highest peak in the Spring Mountains. The blogger did not attend due to knee issues, however, it was said in the news that the Kyle Canyon and Lee Canyon roads were closed and evacuations had begun at 11:00am due to a forest fire with the added danger of high winds. Since the hikers made their approach to the Griffith Peak trail by way of the long winding Harris Springs Road, they may not have been affected by the road closures, etc. We invite any hiker who attended this hike to make a comment below and tell us the story or email me.

Chris offered this recount of the Griffith Peak hike via email:

Fifteen members of Around the Bend Friends met at Santa Fe Station Thursday morning to hike to the top of Griffith Peak. Our original route was supposed to be a loop starting from the top end of the community of Rainbow, heading up Rainbow Canyon and on to the peak using part of the Harris Springs Trail, and descending on South Loop Trail to the cutoff. Utility construction in Rainbow prevented us from parking at our regular location, so the decision was made to do the hike as an out-and-back from the Harris Springs trail head. This required driving up a rather nasty gravel road for about eight miles, which turned out lucky for us because of the fire in Kyle Canyon later that morning. One of the drivers, who had never been up the road before, got out of her vehicle and kissed the ground after we got to the parking area.

The hike flowed along toward the peak and the group started to gain the summit a little after noon. At the top, we were greeted with the distinct odor of smoke and could see it billowing below us in Kyle Canyon. As the smoke cloud continued to grow, we decided not to stay on the peak long as the winds could have shifted, sending more smoke toward the peak. Descending the steep meadows with the snow bank that is visible from Highway 95, we were fortunate not to be affected by the smoke on any part of the return. Getting back to the vehicles, all that was left was the treacherous drive down the narrow gravel road. Pulling out onto Highway 157, we followed one of the Clark County fire trucks back to Highway 95. Kyle Canyon Road had been barricaded to westbound traffic and we virtually had the road to ourselves. All in all, the day proved exciting and everyone was tired by the end of the 10-mile trek.

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