Thursday, December 5, 2013

Bird Spring Range - 12/5/13

Snow Dusted Bird Spring Range with View of Las Vegas Strip

Snow Capped Mt. Charleston Behind the Escarpment

 Fifteen happy hikers hungry for a hike showed up for a seven mile hike on a morning with below freezing temperatures. The temperature never reached above 40 degrees but the clear sky allowed maximum sun and, though bundled with layers, we were warm and comfortable. We turned off of Highway 160 to the south where there is a pit toilet visible from the road. After following the dirt road a short distance, we turned left into a small dirt parking area where we began our hike in the Bird Spring Range.

Mt. Potosi Rising Behind Bird Spring Range Hill Top

Las Vegas Strip from First High Point

 We started up the Badger Pass Trail and the hardy group of hikers enjoyed the warm up, climbing the hill and down to the pass. After taking a water break at the pass, we turned left to begin a long climb up the adjacent hill. The top of this hill would be our first high point of the morning. We could see the Las Vegas Strip in one direction and Mt. Potosi and Bird Spring Range cliffs in the other (as seen in the photo to the right).
Cliff Edge Littered with Fossils

Hiking the Cliff Edge

 Next, we began hiking along the cliff edge to the south finding many shell fossils in the limestone and chert from the pre-cambrian era. The views from the cliff were large and beautiful under the blue sky. Continuing along the cliff edge, we descended to a saddle where we saw a new seismic instrument along with a solar power pad. Interesting that scientists would choose this ridge to monitor for seismic activity. We ate our snack at the saddle after locating the wrecked car that was once stuck in a crevice below the cliff and has since tumbled down to the valley floor. This is also the area where the Wilson Tank is located below.

Seismic Instrument

View of Goodsprings, Nevada (center, 2/3 from bottom)

 The hike continued up the next hill to a point where we could see Goodsprings, NV in the distance. We turned to our right and descended a long gentle slope and connected with the Dead Horse Trail. This trail led us all the way back to the cars as we hiked among joshua trees. The seven mile hike had 1500 feet of elevation gain.

Hiking Dead Horse Trail

Passing By Agave Roasting Pit on Dead Horse Trail

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