Monday, March 24, 2014

Escarpment Base Trail - 3/24/14

Colorful Sandstone on Dale's Trail

Flowers on Arnight Trail

Twenty-one hikers participated on a leisurely Escarpment Base Trail hike today. This is a point-to-point hike located inside the scenic loop at Red Rock Canyon NCA. We dropped off a set of cars at the Lost Creek Trailhead, then transported all the hikers down to the Oak Creek Trailhead with another set of cars. The hike begins on the Arnight Trail that led us along the base of Juniper Canyon and on down to the Pine Creek Trail. We passed the old Wilson homestead after crossing the creek and hung a left onto Dale's Trail.

Wilson Homestead on Pine Creek

 Dale's Trail is one of Red Rock's most beautiful trails in the springtime. There are many wildflowers framed by large colorful sandstone boulders. It is like one giant rock garden. We stopped at Skull Rock for our break half way through the hike. Skull Rock is a large brown sandstone rock that has indentations that make it appear as a human skull. The juniper tree that has grown up in front of it now hides the skull appearance.

Snack Break at Skull Rock

Early Spring at the Escarpment Base

 Dale's Trail has several arroyos that it crosses. Therefore, there are several times that we had to hike down and up hills as we went. Each time we gained another hill, our fearless leader, Nancy, allowed hikers time to catch their breath. The weather was beautiful but when the wind wasn't blowing, the sun tended to heat things up a bit. We continued across Dale's Trail passing the park bench and junctioned with Ice Box Canyon Trail. Getting through this area can be tricky but we forged ahead and kept our route as straight as we could. Soon, we knew we were out of danger and were well on our way on the SMYC Trail.

Dale's Trail Rock Garden

 The SMYC Trail had a few more ups and downs but, mostly, it afforded nice views out to the valley floor. When we stopped one time for a rest, we saw three healthy mule deer below us in the wash. Luckily, we didn't notice any mountain lions ...! Eventually, we were finally finishing the hike at the Lost Creek Trailhead. Pleasant outing.

5 miles; 1145 feet elevation gain; 575 feet elevation loss; and who cares how long it took!

Three Mule Deer were seen from SMYC Trail

Finishing at the Lost Creek Trailhead

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