Monday, February 17, 2014

Blue Point Springs Redstone Loop - 2/17/14

Redstone Arch

Blue Point Springs to Valley of Fire Red Rock

Starting Out at the Springs Area
 It was a long but beautiful drive up Northshore Road, this morning, for twenty-four hikers of the Around the Bend Friends. We didn't stop until we reached mile marker 41 (or so) at Blue Point Springs. The area was marked by several palm trees along the small stream. We started our morning by hiking up the stream and crossing over it. We continued up the hill next to the stream until we connected with a game trail that was clearer than any other around. There are burros and bighorns in the area that use these trails regularly.

Blue Point Springs

Hiking a Burro / Bighorn Trail Toward the Redstone

Hiking the Trail Through the Washes
 We followed the good trail that led toward red rock in the distance. Every time we had to cross a wash, the trail led us down and up in a mostly gentle fashion. Our first meeting with the redstone gave us the first arch photo of the entry. It was a stately arch through which you could see a sliver of Lake Mead. We all had cameras and we all got our photos! Moving on, we passed one of the largest pack rat nests ever! Yep. Plenty of burro poop to build with, I suppose. At this point, we had all warmed up to the fun that our imaginations could create.

A Very Large Pack Rat Nest

Exploring One of Many Cave Shelters

Hiking Through the Redstone
 The next grouping of redstone had a nice stand-alone triangular arch through which you could see Virgin Peak. Again, we all got our photos. From here, we began meandering around the area where there were many arches, caves, tunnels and "what not." They all needed to be photographed! We hiked carefully over the rocky sand going up a little and down a little continuously.

Virgin Peak Arch

Hiking Among the Many Arches of the Area

Posing in an Arch
 When we finished our little circle among the many arches, we climbed up to the high point and had our break. It was a very warm February day and we were ready for some refreshments. While we took our break, one hiker injured her ankle. We helped her wrap it up, then she and three others began their slow hike back to the cars. The remaining hikers continued their tour of the redstone.

Coffee Kettle Arch

Redstone Landscape

Valley of Fire Wash
 Chuck took us down a wash and out to a plateau where we overlooked a huge wash emanating from Valley of Fire. This was the main wash in the state park. We turned around and hiked down and up and down some more. Shade was becoming valuable and we used it to our advantage.

Down Climb

Up Climb

Exploring the Crevice
 We passed several really cool rock formations. A two-toned column and the window wall come to mind. We also found a large elephant arch. Two hikers climbed up on top of it to try to appear as if they were riding the elephant. We also found a bighorn skeleton ... He was a BIG one! There was also a wall that appeared as if it was a frozen ocean wave.

Interesting Column

Elephant Arch

Small Tortoise Shell
 Nearing the end of our loop, we started back in the direction of the cars. There were many washes to cross through so the best thing to do was to go back up to the trail that we used to get to the redstone in the beginning. We found it and proceeded back to the springs area.

5.5 miles; 750 feet elevation gain; 4.5 hours

Large Male Bighorn Skeleton

Starting Back Toward the Springs and the Cars

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