Thursday, March 15, 2012

Hollow Rock Peak - 3/15/12

                                          Hollow Rock Peak

 The second of a trio of Thursday hikes was visited by seven enthusiastic hikers today. Hollow Rock Peak is the southernmost peak on the Red Rock Canyon NCA escarpment. Accessed at the small parking lot off of Highway 160 near the summit of Mountain Spring Pass, the trailhead is the same for Windy Peak (last Thursday), Hollow Rock Peak (today's) and Mountain Spring Peak, to be hiked on the first Thursday in April. Other hikes that could be reached from this trailhead include Black Velvet Peak and the Escarpment Rim Trail.

                                At the Sandstone / Limestone Line

 We began the tedious climb up "Heartbreak Hill" while the sun was still making its appearance in the surrounding mountains. Because of the hardiness of the seven hikers, the hill was climbed in record time, a testament to the fitness offered by our sport. (The small number of die hards who showed up this morning was a testament to the allure of March Madness!)

                             One last Down and Up before the Peak.

 We took the scenic route from the trail junction to the sandstone / limestone line as we chose to round the intermediary peaks on the left side instead of the traditionally trailed right side. The views of Windy Peak were fabulous on a cool clouded day that was soon to be quite warm in the valley. After crossing the line from gray to deep red underfoot, we scrambled the standard route over beautiful pink, gold and white sandstone to the peak which is adorned by a large knob of rock.

             View from Hollow Rock Peak down to Cottonwood Valley.

 View from Hollow Rock Peak back toward the mountains behind the escarpment.

 Two hikers climbed the rock knob and found the log book. They signed in for everyone (!) and we took a nice break. Conversations ranged from basketball to computer networks. Eventually, we decided we should continue the hike before our muscles got completely cold. The descent began with the trek back over the sandstone.

                                Hiker climbs up from peak area.

 After just passing the pink and gold section of rock, we almost reached the limestone line. Here, we took a left where the sandstone channeled us down into an interesting wash. At first, the wash was easily negotiated but, as we got deeper into it, the dry falls became higher and the sides of the wash became steeper. Nevertheless, it was a fun route for the return.

                                Descent to sandstone wash below.

 Near the bottom of the wash, a trail led up the bank to the right and, shortly, we found ourselves junctioning with an old dirt utility road. We turned right and after following the road for around a mile, we finished the hike at our cars. This morning's trek was around five miles with approximately 1200 feet of elevation gain.

                                Following the dirt road back to cars.

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