Saturday, April 20, 2013

Sandstone Quarry / Keystone Thrust - 4/20/13

Keystone Thrust Wash
Scenic Loop & Escarpment

 It was gorgeous day for nineteen hikers to hike in the desert. ... So, we did!

We started from the Sandstone Quarry parking lot off of the Scenic Loop of Red Rock Canyon NCA. Taking a sharp left at the bottom of the entrance hill, we began hiking on the Grand Circle Trail in a counter-clockwise direction. The morning was fresh and the sky was blue. We kept the pace slow so we could all warm up gradually. Everyone stayed together as we crossed over to the White Rock Springs Road and hiked the half mile on the dirt road. Taking advantage of the pit toilet in mid-hike, we took a small break then headed up the Keystone Thrust Trail.

Hiking Up to Keystone Thrust

Keystone Thrust Where Tectonic Plates Slide

 We dropped down to the Keystone Thrust proper where scientists are able to study one of the few places on earth that the sliding of two tectonic plates is seen above the surface of the ground. Here, we took a very pleasant snack break at 3.75 miles into a 7.13 mile hike. The views were clear as we gazed down the wash that we would be hiking. Cactus hill rose above us to the right.

Sights on the Trail

Dry Fall in Keystone Thrust Wash

 After the break, we tumbled down the quaint little wash with a nice dry waterfall and a culvert that took us under the scenic loop road. Finally, the wash intersected with the Grand Circle Trail and we turned left. The rest of the hike back to the cars was a bit warmer and our pace sped up a bit. Hawk said to say that the pace was "brisk." We completed our 7 desert miles in just under 4 hours feeling great!

Returning on the Grand Circle Trail

Approaching the Calico Hills

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