Friday, March 29, 2013

Angel Pass to Red Springs Peak Loop - 3/29/13

                               View North on the Southern Calico Hills

                                        The Guardian Angel Carving

 It was Jim's turn to coordinate the Friday hike today as thirteen then eleven club members followed along. We began our hike at the Red Springs Picnic Area Boardwalk in Red Rock Canyon NCA by hiking past a cute couple who had laid out a table and chairs and were happily munching a breakfast of cereal right there on the trail. Around the base of the southern section of the Calcio Hills, we hiked. Near the bottom of the Angel Pass climb, we came across a lady who was taking her two pet goats out for a morning stroll. Can a hike begin any more interestingly than this?

                                             Daphnie, the Pet Goat

 So, we began the climb up to Angel Pass with energy but as is usually the case, we got quite separated and reached the top one by one. It was a beautiful morning and we were already getting warm in the sun. Occasionally, there was a slight breeze that cooled us off. Scrambling down the other side of the pass, we found the angel carving taking several different trails. Two hikers got behind a bit and decided that they would escape the hike at Calico II which was coming up. Yep. This hike is a tough scramble from beginning to end.

                                Forget-Me-Nots at the Top of Angel Pass

We climbed up over the large rock area and dropped back onto the trail that leads up to Calico II. Jim showed us a rock "throne" where we took turns posing for photos as seen below. After the queen photos, Jim posed on the throne with a roll of toilet paper while reading a newspaper. That photo didn't make the blog!

                                           Queen Jan and Her Men

 Here, we dropped into the wash below then hiked out along the regular route taken on the hill above the washes. This is a nice trail that takes the hiker away from the crowded Grand Circle Trail that is closer to the scenic loop drive. Climbing down into the wash again at Calico I, we hiked down to the slot seen in the photo below and climbed over the obstacle at the end.

                                                 The Calico I Slot

 Just before we would drop into the wash again, we turned our attention to an uphill climb that would eventually take us up to the top of the Calico Hills above us. But, before we did that, we took our snack break in the shade. It was a beautiful place that few of us had ever seen.

                                   Diane Takes a Break in the Shade

 The small canyon or chute that we used for the climb to the top of the hills began with a slither through a colorfully decorated partial tunnel as seen in the photo below. It is nicknamed "The Red Rock Wave." From there, we saw a seemingly brush filled canyon that opened up into a nice scramble after we climbed up to the right side of it. The scramble went steeply up, however, all the obstacles were easily overcome.

                                               The Calico I Wave

With Jim leading the way, we climbed the sandstone for a while. We climbed with determination and sticky shoes! We made one or two dog leg turns to the right and came to a clearing. Still not at the top, we continued climbing until we were at the high point of our hike which we called Red Springs Peak.

                                                A Little Exposure

 On Red Springs Peak, we enjoyed the tremendous views around us and picked out our cars in the parking lot way below us. On the other side of the peak, we could see the hustle and bustle of the Red Rock Scenic Loop at Calico I on this Spring Break holiday of Good Friday. The first photo in the entry was made as we hiked south across the hills to their southern edge.

                                       Scramble Down the South Side

 We found a couple of landmarks that Jim went by (Helen's Tree and the triangular rabbit hole) then proceeded to start dropping at a very steep rate. The scramble down was precarious at times but, again, met with determination by the remaining eleven hikers. On our way down, we met up with a chuckwalla who lives on this side of the hills. Although one or two hikers have seen him before, he or she is now on record with a close-up photo seen below. The hike finally came to the bottom of the descent at the Red Springs Boardwalk where we hiked backed to the cars along the fence.

Totals for this hike were as follows:
- Just under 4 miles
- 1302 feet in elevation gain
- Just under 4 hours

                                      Chuckwalla Finally on Record

                         Finishing the Hike at the Red Springs Boardwalk

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