Saturday, April 28, 2012

Blue Diamond Bike Trails with Cactus Garden - 4/28/12

                                               Spanish Trail Marker

 Today's hike around the Blue Diamond Bike Trails morphed into an additional 2.5 miles with a jaunt out the ridge to the Blue Diamond Cactus Garden. Thirteen hikers politely followed the coordinator with varying amounts of enthusiasm for the lengthened morning. Although the hike ended at 7.75 miles, the easy terrain made the moderately paced hike only 3.25 hours long, beginning and ending in the parking lot at the top of the Blue Diamond, Nevada community.

 We started the Blue Diamond Bike Trails hike on the usual route passing by the Spanish Trail marker as we made our way over to Highway 160. Rounding the bend, we began our zigzaggy climb up to the ridge above Blue Diamond. With Don's help, we found the trail that leads along the ridge to the cactus garden which turned off around the 3 mile mark. Don led the way over and up to the garden.

                            Scenes from the Blue Diamond Cactus Garden

 By the time we got to the cactus garden, a break was well deserved so we meandered among the cactus barrels and craggy limestone while munching and drinking and photographing. Soon, it was time to return to the main trail and find the cars. We hiked back over the ridge with magnificent views right and left, then turned left onto the loop again. Right away, we saw a collared lizard pictured to the left.

 To return to Blue Diamond, there is a route north of the wash and one south of the wash. We took the sourthern route that is high up under the cliff. Very often, there are burros in this area. Sadly, there were no brayers within sight. Finally, we came down the hill and worked our way over to the cars. The net elevation gain for this rolling hike reached 1300 elevation feet on a gorgeous warm day with a fair amount of cool breeze.

                                         View from the ridge.

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