Thursday, February 13, 2014

River Mountain - 2/13/14

Hiking Bike Trail Toward River Mountain

Saddle Power Lines Below Peak

 Today's hike to River Mountain Peak was attended by seven hardy hikers. We began at the River Mountain Hiking Trails parking lot off of Highway 93 in Boulder City, NV. Our target peak is the highest point in the River Mountains Range and to get to it, you have to hike up and over the saddle between Red and Black Mountains before dropping down into the ancient caldera.

 We started up the old trail to the saddle. The colors were beautiful in the morning sun. The beginning took us through gravel but it didn't last long. When we started our main ascent to the saddle, we enjoyed the trail and switchbacks for easy hiking. Conversation was lively.

Las Vegas Strip from Bike Trails
 We took a small break on the saddle then began a gentle descent down the other side. There was a great view of Las Vegas beyond a vast caldera type area.

Bike Trail Steep Descent

  We were in biking territory now and there were plenty of bike trails to choose from. We took the bike trail that headed off to the right near the bottom of the hill. It turned out to be a very serpentine trail that wiggled in and out at the base of the surrounding rocky hills. We short cutted across a couple of the wiggles heading toward the power lines that were strung across the caldera and continued up into the hills to our right. River Mountain lies adjacent to the power line road.

Hiking Up Power Line Road to Saddle
 Somehow, we missed the road. The power lines apparently come in from the west and then up the desired road. Anyway, we found our way back to the road and climbed to the saddle where a large view of Lake Mead awaited us.

Lake Mead with Bowls of Fire Beyond

 At the saddle, one hiker (moi) decided to rest there while the others climbed to the peak. Four of the photos that show the peak climb in this entry are from a previous hike. The six remaining hikers seemed to enjoy their summit and took a nice long rest up there in the wonderful weather. (A note: Beware of a suspected beehive inside the power line tower on the saddle.)

River Mountain Peak from Ascent Trail
 After a while, the hikers began their descent off the peak. It didn't take long for them to arrive at the saddle again.

Lake Mead from River Mountain Peak Trail

 We headed back down the power line road then decided on a more direct route back to the saddle between Red and Black Mountains. Crossing the desert, we passed very close to the landmark holey rock and turned left to go up the gravelly wash/road there. Cutting across washes and roads, we climbed up and junctioned with the bike trail that we came down on very near where we left it to take the serpentine route.

River Mountain Peak view of Las Vegas Strip through Lightening Rods
 The weather was beginning to get really warm and the simple small climb to the saddle seemed very difficult so near the end of the hike.

Lava Butte and Rainbow Gardens from Near River Mountain Peak

 When we reached the saddle, we divided into two groups as some of the hikers had a little more energy reserves. Our route down took us via the concrete culvert and water retention basin before we walked back into the parking lot. Great hike. Great day,

10 miles; 2200 feet elevation gain; 4.5 hours

Descending the Power Line Road
See Ya

Today's 10 Mile Route

No comments: