Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Mother Loop - 12/27/11

The Super Tuesday hike for the Around the Bend Friends of Las Vegas was an eleven mile modified version of the Mother Loop biking trail in the area of Bootleg Canyon in the River Mountains of Boulder City, Nevada. Presumably, the trail is so called because it is the main trail from which many other biking trails spur off. Fifteen members began a search for the Mother Loop from the River Mountain Trail paved parking lot on Highway 93.

We headed up the concrete drainage and connected with the trail that leads to the saddle between Red and Black Mountains. This part of the trail was very familiar with us and we made short time climbing up the switchbacks and over the saddle. As we made our way down the other side, we got the view below of the Las Vegas Strip on a fairly clear morning.

Dropping off of the trail, we headed down to a wash and followed it a short way. Crossing over a couple other washes / trails / 4WD roads we finally found a clear trail to the left on which we settled. This was the Mother Loop.

Before we got very far, we stopped to wait for people to catch up. The pace was very fast ... not an easy pace to keep over the course of eleven miles. During our small break, Chuck pointed out the tortoise burro at our feet. In the spring, the tortoises come out of their burros but, right now, they are hibernating in burros like seen in the photo above.

View towards the west from the Mother Loop at snack junction.

At the six mile point, we finally stopped for a much needed snack break. The cairn in the photo above rested at the trail junction here. The weather was beautiful even though the light wind blew consistently. After the break, following the ins and outs of the lateral trail, we came upon a view of the back side of the Cascata Golf Club, a very well- maintained exclusive golf course of the stars.

Beyond the resort, we could see the traffic on Highway 93 going into Boulder City was backed up. Smugly, we continued through the gorgeous reds and yellows of the rock around us. In this section of the hike, around every corner, there were vibrant colors and interesting trail layouts that zigzagged in and out and up and down.

Eventually, the colors settled down and the wiggly trail straight- ened out somewhat. Then ... there ... up on a small peak stood a magni- ficent bighorn sheep. We watched in awe as she began running with her girl friend and kid following behind. Back to the fast paced hike, we went. Not much time for dilly dallying!

We finally reached the Bootleg Canyon trailhead where the zip line excursion begins and ends and stopped for a bathroom break. We chose to finish up the hike on the paved River Mountain Trail. A choice that we payed for on sore and beaten feet. Only two more miles and we were back at the cars. This hike had its beauty and its tediousness but it seemed to satisfy our need for speed.

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