Thursday, February 21, 2013

Hamblin Mountain - 2/21/13

                           View of Lake Mead from Hamblin Mountain

             View of Muddy Mountains from Hamblin Mountain Approach

It was a cold and somewhat dreary morning at mile marker 18 on Northshore Road near Lake Mead. Nevertheless, twenty-two hikers appeared from their corners of Las Vegas to hike Hamblin Mountain which would be the last Thursday hike in the Lake Mead NRA area for the season. We were, once again, bundled with layers while we headed up the wash taking note of the Bear Paw Poppy that was beginning to bloom. The long line of hikers immediately spread out but stayed within sight of each other. We turned off of the main wash before the Cottonwood Spring and headed to a right fork. In the photo to the left, we are climbing a short easy obstacle that we found very soon. After this, we climbed up out of the wash onto a trail which took us up and over a small saddle and into another wash for the beginning of the main part of the climb.

                                       Scrambling Up a Small Wash

                              View of Virgin Peak from Hamblin Mountain

The main ascent to Hamblin Mountain begins in a wash that requires an initial scramble up a dry fall. From there, the trail leads up to a ridge coming from the peak. At the ridge, the hiker gets his/her first view of Lake Mead. During the approach, the view behind you is just as colorful as you can see the North and South Bowls of Fire.

                                  Three Hikers in Front of Pinto Valley

                                 Trail on Knife Edge of Hamblin Peak

After gaining the ridge and continuing up the trail, we came to an overlook where we could see all of Pinto Valley. The trail leads on up the ridge until it reaches a saddle that connects the ridge to the peak trail. The peak trail then takes the hiker out along a knife edge until it stops at the end where there is a log book and endless gorgeous views.

                       Mike Contemplates His Surroundings From the Peak

                               Twenty-Two Hikers Atop Hamblin Mountain

Amazingly enough, we managed to get all twenty-two hikers in a photo on the peak. (The peak isn't very big so some of us found rocks to stand on in the back!) While we waited for the last hikers to arrive, bighorn sheep were spotted some distance away and a few photos were taken.

                                         Descending the Peak Area

                                Hiking Down Wash to Arrowhead Road

Finished with the break, we began our descent and immediately got spread out again. No worries. We re-gathered at a previously appointed place where the trail begins the partial loop on the return. We hiked down a neighboring colorful wash until we junctioned with the old Arrowhead Road. There is some information on Wikipedia about this "auto trail" as follows: The Arrowhead Trail or Arrowhead Highway was the first all-weather road connecting Los Angeles to Salt Lake City by way of Las Vegas. Built primarily during the auto trails period of the 1910s, prior to the establishment of the U.S. numbered highway system, the road was replaced in 1926 by U.S. Route 91 and subsequently Interstate 15.  Small portions of the route in California and Las Vegas, Las Vegas Boulevard, are sometimes still referred to by the name, or as Arrow Highway.

                                  Nearing Arrowhead Road Junction

                                          Arrowhead Road Junction

Anyway, we hiked down the old road that appears more as a wash now. The partial loop connected with the beginning trail of the morning just after Cottonwood Spring where there is a dry fall as seen to the right. We hiked 7 miles in around 3.5 hours with overcast skies.

                                       Hiking Out Pinto Valley Wash

                                  Petrified Log Found Along the Trail

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