Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Painted Pinnacles - Valley of Fire - 2/9/11
Today's hike in the Valley of Fire State Park of Nevada was a Lone Mountain Hiking Club event to which the Around the Bend Friends were invited. In attendance were twenty- two members of the Lone Mountain Hikers and six members of the Around the Bend Friends. Brian led us into the heart of the park to see a beautiful area of colorful sandstone in the vicinity of the Silica Dome which he has named the Painted Pinnacles.
We hiked from the Silica Dome Trail parking lot through a small desert wash and arrived at the "Ooh Aah Point" of the hike. Peeking over the lip of the surrounding desert, we were presented with the photos above. After taking several moments for all photographers to find their photos, we scurried down into the sandy floor of the pinnacles.
There had been some talk about the discovery of ticks in the park during our last visit. Therefore, everyone was on the lookout for the ugly little critters. Brian found a tick on his clothes when he returned home this afternoon and took this photo of it. He said it is possibly a male bighorn sheep tick. If it is, it likely does not carry any diseases.
We hiked through the pinnacle area and entered a main wash which had very deep sand from beginning to end. Seen in the photo above are coyote tracks in the sand ahead of us. We had to leave the wash once to make our way around a particularly non-negotiable dry waterfall. We also saw the first brittlebush blooms of the season. The hike was around 4.65 miles but the sandy wash and the steep climb out at the end of the hike made the hike a doozy of a workout.