Thursday, April 18, 2013

Tank Discovery Scramble - 4/18/13

                                   Turtlehead Peak from the Calico Hills

                               Turtlehead Canyon from Phase III of Hike

                                       Escarpment from Phase II of Hike

 Twenty hikers came out for a good old fashioned scramble today as we explored the northern Calico Hills of Red Rock Canyon NCA. There were only five tanks on today's hike that had water in them but we were there for the fun that scrambling brings. And, fun is what we had!

We started out from the Sandstone Quarry parking lot off of the Scenic Loop and headed up the wash by the old quarry.

                                           Arch Area from Approach

                                       The Redbuds are Now Blooming!

 We hiked into the sandstone on the right and found the big arch. After confirming that the redbud trees were blooming in the canyon on the other side of the arch, we continued climbing up the hill on past. We made our way up to the summit of this area and briefly enjoyed the view of the escarpment. Returning halfway down the hill we turned to the right and scrambled down to the Calico Tanks Trail. Phase I was completed and we headed up the trail to begin Phase II.

                                        Texting While Hiking ... Hmmm!

                                          Up Again in Phase II of Hike

 Just after passing the "Sitting Hen" rock, we turned to climb up the sandstone on our right. We wandered around the hill above looking at the tanks then dropped down into the brush on the other side. This is the traverse that takes you toward Calico II Overlook Peak. After checking out one more tank, we climbed up to the peak and took our break trying to find a place out of the cold wind.

After the break, everyone was up to the exposed descent off of the peak and down we went. We then crossed over to the other side of the Calico Tanks Trail and climbed up to see another dry tank and drop down into a wash area that paralleled the trail down. Passing by the "Sitting Hen" rock, we completed the Phase II Loop.

                                       When Do We Get to the Exposure?

                                            Color of the Calico Hills

Some more scrambling brought us to Turtlehead Canyon and the old Gateway Trail. The trail took us to a pocket of sandstone that is seldom traveled. Here we made one more ascent to the last tank. Finally, we came down to the Turtlehead Trail and returned to the cars. A great time was had by all in less than four hours!

                                     The Tank in Phase III of the Hike

                                     Descending from Phase III Tank


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