Monday, October 31, 2011

Up Muffins & Down Boneshaker Hill - 10/31/11

There were only eight hikers, today, as we climbed up to the Muffins on the North Blue Diamond Hills and expected to descend via neighboring Skull Canyon. As the hike unfolded, we changed our plans and chose a route of descent via Boneshaker Hill. It was a beautiful day with a fabulous temperature and no wind. We were enjoying the day so much that adding another half mile or so was just fine with us.

We began at the cowboy trails parking area where a few horses were being saddled up for a ride. We passed the corrals, crossed the desert floor then began a steady climb up to the Muffins. The trail was in the shade for all of this climb. Nearing the top where there is a sharp turn in the trail because of a crossing wash, we found where someone had built several cairns. (Maybe fifteen or so.)

Finally, as we entered the sunshine, we reached the Muffins, huge caliche boulders that sit on the edge of the hill overlooking Red Rock Canyon on one side and the Las Vegas Strip on the other. We simply took in the views. No one wanted to climb the boulders today.

We took a small break here before continuing up to the top of the ridge. The trail then descends to a juncture with another trail that takes the hiker up to the old Las Vegas overlook. At the overlook, we took our main break. We each found a place to sit and we simply enjoyed the view while we ate a snack. (Maybe it was just Monday.) Soon, we began to back track to the last trail juncture where we continued straight down to the source of Skull Canyon.

It was here that we changed our plans. We decided to continue straight and cross over the next canyon (an arm of Skull Canyon) and meet up with the Boneshaker Hill Trail. We began a steady casual descent on the ridge between Skull and Cave Canyons. We peeked over the edge to the right and saw the trail that we had been scheduled to take. The view in front of us was colorful and magnificent ... the Calico Hills and Red Rock escarpment. Below, find a view of the Boneshaker Hill as we approached its crest.

You know they don't call it "Bone- shaker" for nothin'! We chose the steepest trail (there are two) to descend. There are many rocks to slide on and step down off of. It is a respected route for bikers to challenge themselves on but we learned that it is almost as tough to hike down. Not sure what the views were ... concentrating too much on where to put my feet. Anywho ... we made it down and hiked back over to the horse corrals on a different trail. Quite a workout!

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