Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Northern Calico Hills Low Elevation Wander - 9/4/13

Ash Canyon Overlook

From Northern Calico Hills to Escarpment

 Twenty hikers arrived in the wee morning hours to hike a moderate hike in the northern section of the Calico Hills. The best word to describe the hike is a "wander" around and through the sandstone as we hit several points of interest in the 4 miles with only 700 feet of elevation gain. We parked at the Sandstone Quarry parking lot on the scenic loop at Red Rock Canyon NCA and started hiking out the Calico Tanks Trail. Recent rains have dug trenches in the washes that cross the trail.

Hiking Through Small Slot
 We turned left on the small wash that leads around to the north side of the sandstone hills, went through a small red canyon then turned right into the small white slot seen in the photo above.

Scrambling Up to the Northern Side

 There is a small arch in the rocks to the left and from there, we scrambled around and up to an overlook that showed the morning sun rising on the escarpment from the still shadowed sandstone on which we stood. Just for fun, we climbed up the sandstone in front of us and ended up on a trail named Rattlesnake Trail. This trail led us up to the base of Red Cap and on down to the top of Ash Canyon.

Passing By Turtlehead Peak
 We took a small break at the Ash Canyon overlook while passing around someone's bag of chocolate candies among us.

Taking In the View at Ash Canyon

 Next, we hiked back up to the base of Red Cap via a slightly different trail beneath Turtlehead Peak. Picking up Rattlesnake Trail again, we continued up and over the washed out washes behind the white sandstone hills. This part of the hike was completely in the sun which was really hot by this time. The humidity was bad but still a little better than on recent hikes. The small fading trail led us to an entrance to a large sandstone cove.

Hiking Rattlesnake Trail
 We hiked through the large cove and started up some rocks on the other end.

Scrambling Over to See the Petroglyphs

 Circling around a little sandstone peak, we then dropped down to view some petroglyphs and have a snack break. We were staying together as a group very well today even though sometimes we had to wait for several minutes for one or two slow hikers. We enjoyed our break in the shade then retraced our steps back out to the Rattlesnake Trail.

Hiking Down the Turtlehead Wash
 Not far from the sandstone cove entrance is the wash that comes down from Turtlehead Peak. We dropped down into this wash and enjoyed a little scramble through a beautiful slot canyon.

Sliding Down Into Turtlehead Slot Canyon

 We hiked out the wash and connected with the small red canyon that we had hiked through near the beginning of the morning. This time, we came out the other end of the canyon and went the other direction toward the Calico Tanks Trail. After reaching this popular trail, we turned right and finished the hike avoiding the mud and water by hiking up on the side of the trail in the sandstone. Another beautiful morning at Red Rock Canyon NCA.

Hiking Out on the Calico Tanks Trail

Finishing the Hike at the Old Quarry

1 comment:

Jerry Thomas said...

I like the new image viewer that activates when you click on an image. I used to have to right click and click open in a new tab to get a full resolution view of an image.

Good work!