Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Northshore Peak - 2/21/12

                                Back side of Northshore Peak

                                North Bowl of Fire

 Today's hike to Northshore Peak at the Lake Mead NRA was a wonderful adventure. Twelve hikers arrived at Northshore Road's mile marker 20 parking lot (complete with pit toilet) and crossed the road. Northshore Peak lies immediately across the road and our climb began accordingly.  The steepness was littered with desert flora and craggy limestone as we ascended the ridge of the up turned earth.

                                Lake Mead from Northshore Peak

We found our way to the peak by keeping to the left so that we wouldn't cliff out. There were a few gulleys  that needed to be avoided but, otherwise, it was a pretty straight shot to the tallest portion of the mountain. At less than a mile and a half, we had climbed 900 feet in elevation ... and that was just the warm up!

 Views from the peak were some of the best seen in the Overton Arm district. Comparing views from Hamblin Mountain that offers incomparable lake views, Northshore Peak offers views of everything else; including North and South Bowls of Fire, Mt. Charleston in the distance, Pinto Valley and Hamblin Mountain itself.

                                Descent from Northshore Peak

 After our break on the peak, we started down a steep descent and ended inside a beautiful wash lined with white and gray layered stone.  The dirty dozen stayed together easily and attempted to avoid the cactus spines, harsh desert grasses and velcro plants. The wash was simple to negotiate.

                                Wash at base of Northshore Peak

 We continued going down until the descent played out and we came to a decision point. Should we continue in our direction or turn back toward the cars? Making the executive decision, Chris turned back toward the cars which involved another steep climb up through a wash to a saddle. At the saddle, we waited while one hiker took a side trip to avoid the scree slope we were facing and then we took our dive down the short slippery slope.


 At the bottom of the slope, we entered a canyon that presented a few dry waterfalls, some that were not easily negotiated. As we needed to work our way to the left anyway, we headed in that direction away from the canyon. Arriving at one wash swale, we unintentionally flushed a covey of owls from their nesting bushes. We watched for a minute then went on our way ending the hike taking a beeline direction to the cars. Thus, Chris' Great Adventure came to an enjoyable end.


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