Thursday, October 24, 2013

Brownstone Canyon Loop - 10/24/13

Brownstone Canyon Pictographs

Color in the Desert

 So, what happens when the photographer forgets her camera? Hikers to the rescue, of course! Susan, Scott and Mike contribute the photos for today's blog on an absolutely gorgeous 9 mile hike around the Brownstone Canyon Loop. Jon led thirteen hikers out to the pictographs from Sandstone Quarry and showed us a wonderful and picturesque new route over the sandstone from Upper Gateway Canyon to Brownstone Canyon.

Climbing Upper Gateway Canyon

Climbing the Sandstone Wash Between Gateway and Brownstone Canyons

 We hiked from Sandstone Quarry and connected with the Rattlesnake Trail. At Gateway Canyon, we turned left and began the limestone climb up numerous fun dry falls. At the top of the canyon, we met red and yellow sandstone decorated with foliage in fall colors. Above us, there were some darkish clouds but they covered the sun and we were very comfortable. After a small break, we turned left and climbed half way up the colorful wash. At this point, another sandstone wash turned up to the right and here was where the route took a new turn for many of us.

Fun on the Sandstone

Scott & Susan Pose in Front of Vegas View

 Jon led us up the wash then gently over the sandstone past the large tank. Next, he led us down to Brownstone Canyon on a round about way that eliminated the steep 3rd class wash above the pictographs. We took our long break there after also inspecting the petroglyphs down below. It was fun learning new routes and exploring the sandstone in this area.

Starting Up Wash of Brownstone Trail

Quite a Bit of Flood Damage

 From the pictographs, we trudged up the wash of the Brownstone Trail and found our way up into the hills on the left. There was some confusion about which hill to climb but we eventually found the correct saddle and began the descent down Limestone Trail, a series of washes that became larger and wider as we went. The evidence of flash flooding was abundant in these washes and the hike was precarious as we dodged large and small boulders. Finally, we hit the widest wash that flows below Turtlehead Peak and finished out on the Turtlehead Trail.
Washed Out Small Wash of Limestone Trail

Wide Wash of Limestone Trail
 8.5 miles; 2500 feet of total elevation gain; average speed of 2.4 mph - We don't mess around!

Today's Route Shown in Blue

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