Thursday, September 29, 2011

White Rock Hills Loop - 9/29/11

Everybody loves a good hot hike ... right? Well, thirteen members of the Around the Bend Friends tested that hypothesis today on the White Rock Hills Loop in the Red Rock Canyon NCA. We began at the Willow Springs Picnic Area and began our hike in a counter- clockwise direction passing by the hand print pictographs and the ancient agave roasting pit nearby. We hoped that we would get to the Keystone Thrust area before it got terribly hot.

At around a mile and a half, one hiker decided to turn back. Yep, it was going to be a scorcher! Never- theless, the rest of us marched onward. After reaching the Keystone Thrust area and passing a second agave roasting pit, the hike continued climbing and, at the high point, we had ascended 1000 elevation feet without any descent at all. The sun had risen fairly high and our brains were cooking! Everyone chose their snack break location carefully. Some hikers sought out the paltry shade provided by small trees along the trail and some boldly climbed down to the rock slabs where a cool breeze was blowing through.

After the break, we quickly hiked over the high point of the morning and began our descent on the back side of the White Rock Hills in the La Madre Wilderness. Temperatures were a bit cooler on this side. The foliage was different and there was much more shade. Although only around a mile separates this side of the hills from the first side, the difference in climate of the two sides makes for a completely different type of terrain.

We made our descent quickly with no water breaks. Some of us caught some water from our bottles "on the fly." Finally, we passed a third agave roasting pit when the hike had connected with Rocky Gap Road. It was just so hot that everyone wanted to get back to the cars and the almighty AC! What on earth did we ever do without air conditioning? Anyway, it was nice to hike even if it was hot but we are still not so sure that everyone loves a hot hike!

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