Saturday, January 28, 2012

Ejection Seat Ridge - 1/28/12

                                Mt. Charleston from Ejection Seat Ridge

                                Lake Mead from Ejection Seat Ridge

Today's hike over Ejection Seat Ridge was short but challenging. Twenty- four hikers began the loop hike from the pull- out at mile marker 14.5 on Northshore Road at the Lake Mead NRA. We dropped down into the wash that ran parallel to the road and hiked up to mile marker 15. Here, we rounded a bend and began a sharp climb up to the ridge.

Upon gaining the ridge, we could see Mt. Charleston to the southwest and Lake Mead to the south.  It was a windy morning but the wind only hit us at certain points in the hike. Otherwise, the weather was fine and got quite warm as the morning passed. We hiked south on the ridge and came upon the ejection seat for which the ridge is named. The plane crashed in a wash close by. Hopefully, the occupant of the ejection seat survived.

                         Guy tells about his work on ejection seats in the US Air Force

                                Airplane parts at the crash site

When we inspected the crash site, we found bits and pieces of a thoroughly mangled airplane. The largest piece was the complete tail section as seen in the photo collage above. The hike coordinator said that there was another crash site located further toward the lake.  After climbing back up the wash, we headed on up the next steep hill of the ridge then followed the ridge down to three large red sandstone rock outcroppings where we had our break.

                                                Snack Rocks

The hike continued down into the red rock wash area below us. This was part of a maze of red washes in the area. We enjoyed the easy hike through one of the main washes which led back to our cars. Although the hike seemed short, it was interesting and filled with color.

                                Red Wash

When we were signing out at the cars, a small herd of bighorn sheep slowly crossed the road about a quarter mile up. When a truck pulling a boat drove up, they scampered to both sides of the road then two ran back across in front of the truck that was politely waiting for the sheep to make up their minds! After the truck cautiously passed, the two separated sheep ran back across to where the others in the herd were grazing.

                                Bighorns racing across Northshore Road

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