Thursday, December 9, 2010

Las Vegas Overlook via Boneshaker Hill - 12/9/10

Frisky horses in the Red Rock Cowboy Corrals began our hike today to the Las Vegas Overlook. These two playful horses were very rambunc- tious as twenty- one hikers hiked by on their way to Boneshaker Hill, the route we climbed to the top of the Blue Diamond Hills. The cowboys were preparing a large group of horses for an upcoming trail ride and as we passed them they gave us a hearty "Hello!" and "Have a nice hike!"

We crossed the desert to the left of the corrals and turned right to begin our climb. Boneshaker Hill is a steep hill that the mountain bikers have named presumably because of the rough ride it presents. First thing in the morning, this climb is quite challenging. That's not to say that it is less challenging otherwise! However, it is nice to get this part of the hike over with in the beginning when we are fresh.

After achieving the hill and gathering all twenty- one hikers together again, we continued to climb on a much more gradual slope for the next mile or so. We passed the Boneshaker sign (which is falling apart) and the fenced in utility station then arrived at the new Las Vegas Overlook where we could see the whole valley from Henderson to Gass Peak.

The day was overcast and very cool to begin with. As the hike progressed past the snack break, the sun made its debut and things began to warm up a little. The panorama photograph seen below was taken at the overlook showing clear air underneath the clouds. There was little to no wind. Below, these hikers were smiling so great on their way up the hill, that the photo just had to go on the website!

Above, this photo is of the Brownstone Canyon area as seen from the overlook. We stayed here for a snack but returned to the hike before our muscles got too cold. Hiking along the ridge to the left, we began heading back toward the Calico Hills which we could see across Highway 159. At the Old Las Vegas Overlook, we took more pictures.

The trail dipped down and back up to a saddle just before Skull Canyon then climbed up to the right to begin descending the ridge that would take us to the Muffins. Another mile of hiking brought us to the "Muffins." These large rock outcroppings are squarish in form and stick up from the ridge where one can see them from the highway below. Some hike leaders have fun with the name and bring muffins to eat when the participants reach the rocks.

Today, there were a few spirited adventurers that tried their hand ... er, hands and feet ... at climbing one of these "muffins" of around ten feet tall. The view from here is fantastic even when the skies don't completely cooporate. Ready to begin the last leg of the hike, we started down the steep hill. After descending halfway, we got a sort of respite of flat trail as we circled around the hill towards neighboring Skull Canyon. Eventually, it was necessary to finish the descent down to the area where we had cut off to go up Boneshaker Hill earlier.

We quickly hiked back to the horse corrals where we saw a huge bus parked in the tiny parking lot where we all had parked. A group of school children were being treated to a field trip at the Red Rock Cowboy Stables with the guidance of two of Red Rock's finest (Aaron and Kate). The kids were happily assembling to re-board the bus when we hiked out and the huge bus easily drove out of the lot before we needed to leave.

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