Saturday, November 12, 2011

Grapevine Spring - 11/12/11

In spite of our valiant efforts to reduce group size by offering two separate hikes on Saturdays, our hikers, today, numbered forty strong. A large contingent came from the southern part of the Las Vegas area and Henderson. We converged on the Late Night parking lot located off of Highway 160 in the Cottonwood Valley area of Red Rock Canyon NCA. Normally, this area is used mainly by bicyclists. Today, the two wheelers stared at us in awe ... or, maybe that was shock. Shock and awe, ... yeah, that was it.

We headed out of the asphalt parking lot on a trail that led up not far from the highway. There were two miles of hiking through the desert with views that became more and more gorgeous as the morning wore on. The clouds that had hung around for a couple of days were finally beginning to dissipate. The blue sky was slowly returning and we had a front row view. We hiked almost straight over to the mouth of the canyon lying between Hollow Rock Peak and Windy Peak.

Arriving at the base of Windy Peak, we found a fenced in spring. This area is like a large rock garden as there are many large dark colored boulders among the many healthy red barrels, and chollas. There were also many red barrels that had collapsed; evidence of the area getting more rain than it normally did. The red barrels that were still hanging in there were extremely plump with water.

Okay ... so, if there was so much rain that the cacti were dying, why was the water trough that is fed by the second spring in the area completely dry? Our hiking club has never seen this animal water source when it wasn't overflowing with water. What gives? Was there a break in the hose that feeds the trough from the spring above? This spring is difficult to get near as it is also fenced in.

Above, there are three petroglyph collages from the area of the second spring. The first two were arranged last spring. The third was arranged today with a few petroglyphs found off the beaten path. Also note the rock with the smooth concave indentation. Could this have been used by the ancient natives of the area? Anyway, we all sat for a few minutes to take a break.

While most of the hikers enjoyed just being there, several of the hikers wandered around on the hillside looking for petroglyphs. After the break, we returned to the cars on a slightly different route. The hike was five miles with minimal elevation gain.

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