Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Pumpkin Parfait Canyon - 2/7/12

Only eleven hikers braved the morning chill under overcast skies and drove the distance of Northshore Road at Lake Mead all the way to around mile marker 40. We arrived at Rogers Springs dotted with non-native palm trees, crossed the bridge and began hiking up a trail. The view behind us was of Lake Mead covered in a canopy of clouds.

We hiked up to the top of a hill where we could see the canyon we would use during our exit later in the day. For now, we hiked down the hill and dropped into the upper portion of that same wash. Happily, we chose a pleasant pace and began an enjoyable scramble up the limestone and conglomerate filled wash.

There were many large caves along the wash that may have been used by the ancients. Today, we peered up at the circles of darkness looking for cat eyes glowing from their depths. At the first sign of color, seen below, we turned to the left and continued climbing.

Along the way, there were several interesting things to discover. In this part of the wash, there were many seabed fossils of creatures that seemed to have died and dried up right there on the limestone becoming part of the hard surface. We also found what looked like petrified wood and the dried skeleton of a bighorn sheep.

At the end of this box canyon, we came to the "pumpkin parfait" area; an area filled with layered orange colors protruding from the limestone sides of the canyon. The canyon is aptly named and we climbed up as high as we wanted to enjoy the colors and the view of Lake Mead in the distance.

After our break, we slowly and carefully climbed down off of our perch and began descending the now familiar wash. When we reached the point at which we had entered the wash, we kept going straight to find out what else the canyon had to offer. There were many dry waterfalls that we slid down as the canyon became deeper. Caves and rock formations decorated the canyon walls.

After coming out the other side of the deepest part of the canyon, the wash flattened out again. At this point, we climbed up to the right and crossed over land to our cars that were waiting at Rogers Springs not far away. The six mile hike with around a thousand feet of elevation gain is a very nice adventure with plenty of things to discover.


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