Saturday, December 22, 2012

Anniversary Narrows - 12/22/12

                                   The Entrance to Anniversary Narrows

                                                 Narrows Light Play

 Today's hike is, perhaps, one of Las Vegas' best kept secrets from the outside world. Anniversary Narrows lies north of Northshore Road at mile marker 16 where there is a newly graded dirt road for easy access down to the large wash containing the slot canyon. The narrows were closed off last year since the new owners of the land on the approach wanted to keep the mining area to themselves for a while. Now, the narrows, which lies on wilderness land, is accessible to hikers hiking through the private land.

                  Climbing the Road Up to the Old Mining Camp Foundations

                                       Old Mining Camp Foundations

 Some of today's seventeen hikers parked at the Northshore Road parking area and hiked in. Others drove the dirt road to the regular parking area where there is a sign welcoming visitors to the Ore Car Mine ... a new name for what we will always call the Anniversary Mine. The group gathered at the second parking and continued in the very brisk weather of the morning. We soon separated into two or three small groups as we excitedly climbed the hill to the old mining camp to sight-see the foundations from long ago buildings.

                    Ridge Descent from Camp to Wash and Mining Dam

                                             Hiking Into the Narrows

 We took the small trail with a bit of exposure down to the wash where there is a newly dug mine and two old tunnels that were used back in the day. The small trail between the two old tunnels has deteriorated and use of a broken ladder is required to reach the first one. This area is geologically very interesting because of a fold in the rock that has dipped down to the level of the floor of the wash. Passing the dam here, which appears to have been rebuilt, in the wide curve, we continued up to the Narrows entrance.

                                                 Hiking the Narrows

                  This year, there is a couple of feet of sediment in the narrows.

  Walking into the large slot canyon, one feels as if he/she has entered another realm of reality. The walls curve, contort and sag on each side. The sculpture was created when torrents of water repeatedly ran through the narrow space from the top of the wash down ... or from where we faced to where we had been. The recent rains had left a deep layer of sediment on the floor of the slot and puddles of water remained. The colors of the slot added yet another dimension.

                                   The Winding Passage of the Narrows

                                    Water Worn Walls Resembling Drapes

The other end of the slot is always colder than the entrance and today, there was frost on some of the rocks. Three hikers took a short exploratory further up the wash then after a short cold break, everyone headed back the way we came in. The whole hike was around 7 miles with a gross elevation gain of around 1100 feet. By the way, on the way up to the trailhead, this morning, we watched as a small group of bighorns, complete with two kids, scrambled across the highway and up the steep bank on the other side. It doesn't get better than this!

                                         The Hikers Hike Through

                Frost Appearing on the Rocks on the North Side of the Narrows

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