Saturday, April 30, 2011

Calico Tanks - 4/30/11

Seventeen people took a hike today ... or, rather, scrambled ... to the main Calico Tank. We set off from the Sandstone Quarry parking area on the Red Rock NCA scenic loop and stopped by the quarry leftovers and the agave roasting pit (seen in the photo to the left) to talk a little about this area's history. A few of the hikers had not been introduced to the rich culture found in the Las Vegas surrounding area before today.

As we hiked up through the white and red sandstone canyon, we noticed that many of the flowers have begun to bloom. Among them are the banana yuccas, firecracker penstemens, red bud trees, Indian paintbrush, desert marigolds, globemallows, and evening primrose. After the hike, we also saw that the cliffrose is blooming over on the other side of the loop.

The scramble up to the tank proved to be every bit of a moderate hike that it was billed to be. A few of the hikers were surprised by the toughness of the challenges. However, almost all of us made it to the main tank and climbed up to the overlook just beyond. We huddled out of the cold bite of the wind or explored around the area while we took our snack break.

It was a clear day and the view of the Las Vegas Strip was great. It has been a while since the air has been clear. The wind has been blowing quite a bit as is normal for the spring time. Sometimes this stirs the dust but, today, the wind has taken the dust away for a while. Unfortunately, along with the wind came a lot of cold air. We were just getting used to the arrival of warm weather previous to this.

On our way back to the other side of the tank, we saw a few dogs taking the plunge in the tinaja. The dog seen below waded out until his legs no longer reached the bottom then began to swim back. He/she had a lot of fur and maybe this felt really good to him/her. However, we suspected that the water was very very cold to those without the fur coat.

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