Thursday, March 28, 2013

Windy Peak - 3/28/13

                               Wilson Peak Framed by Windy Peak Tree

                                                    Flora Collage

 One of our standard Thursday hikes that is usually done twice each year is Windy Peak from the Mountain Spring trailhead. Eighteen hikers participated today on a very pleasant hike of five miles in three hours with 1712 feet of total elevation gain. The one mile climb that starts the hike seems to get shorter with each passing year! Without anyone provoking a race, we reached the Hollow Rock Peak trail junction in good time anyway.

                                     View From Trail to Northwest

                                    Descending to Windy Peak Bridge

Opting for a small detour, the group passed the second junction for Mountain Spring Peak without making the necessary right turn. In a few yards, we turned right and bushwacked up the hill peaking out on today's highpoint. From there, we dropped back to the trail and proceeded to cross the land bridge (seen in the photo to the left) to the sandstone peak which lies between Hollow Rock Peak and Black Velvet Peak of the southern part of the Red Rock Canyon NCA escarpment.

                                Escarpment Limestone / Sandstone Line

                                 Descending the Last of the Limestone

 As a group, we hiked along the bridge noting the limestone / sandstone line to our left. This is evidence of the older encroaching limestone that strives to cover the younger sandstone of the Keystone Thrust area. Still having some of the sandstone to "play" on, we crossed up onto the pink rock and scrambled over to the peak. Here, we enjoyed the fantastic weather, wrote in the book and explored out to the tip of the Windy Peak point. To our left, we saw the high point of the escarpment, Wilson Peak and, to the right of us, Mt. Potosi rose up across the way.

                 Eighteen Hikers Enjoying the Perfect Weather on Windy Peak

                                  View of Wilson Peak from Windy Peak

 Reluctantly, we gathered ourselves and began the return. Across the sandstone, up onto the limestone bridge and down the usual trail to the Hollow Rock Peak junction. Here, three hikers opted to descend on the ridge route and the rest of us chose to go back the way we came. We both reached the cars at around the same time and everyone except five celebrated with the required trip to the Mountain Springs Saloon, a bikers' bar which is "world famous!"

                                Dropping Off of the Sandstone Stretch

                     One of Three Hikers Who Opted for the Ridge Descent

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