Thursday, July 10, 2014

Calico Hills - 7/10/14

Rainy Morning at the Calico Hills

Heading Back Along the Calico Hills Wash

 There were a fantastic twenty hikers on the trail today as, once again, rain and the threat of lightening kept us down in the lower elevations of Red Rock Canyon NCA. A scheduled hike to Bonanza Peak turned into a 6 mile romp at the base of the Calico Hills. However, Chris made sure to lead us on a fast paced route that gave us a decent workout nonetheless. We started at the RRCNCA fee booth parking area and began our hike along the Grand Circle Trail. Our first stop was at the Calico I turnout.

Grand Circle Trail Approaching Calico I
 The morning was overcast and we were sweating as soon as we got out of our cars! As desert rats, we aren't used to such humidity. But, we are very grateful for the rain.

Climbing Up to the Upper Trail

 We dropped down from Calico I then climbed up to the inner Upper Trail on a hill that separates the Calico Hills wash from a canyon in the sandstone hills. This trail took us across the length of the hill then dropped us back down to the wash. Near Calico II, we crossed the wash and climbed up on a network of trails situated just below the turnout.

Approaching Calico II on the Inner Trail
 The pace of the hike challenged us while we continued to gain elevation. It was fun being back on the sticky sandstone slabs.

Grand Circle Trail Near Calico II

 We continued on the Grand Circle Trail but were majorly disgusted when we found the trailside petroglyphs destroyed with etched-in graffiti. Made recently, the carvings even had their names etched clear as day! We took photos of the destruction and, later, reported it to a passing ranger. If they find who did this, they will be looking at a huge fine and possible jail time for defacing ancient artifacts on federal land ... or something like that. ("THINK, kids.")

One BIG Rock at the Petroglyph Site
 For most of the first half of the hike, a smidgeon of blue skies peered out from behind the clouds. But, when we began looking behind us, we saw the development of rain clouds as they got thicker and thicker and darker and darker.

Trail Between Calico II and Sandstone Quarry

 We reached Sandstone Quarry and took our break on the white sandstone next to the parking area. Theatre seating for all! Afterwards, we headed back while keeping a pretty good pace. The first two photos were taken on the way back. As you can see, rain was in the forecast! We took the Lower Trail that ran next to the Calico Hills wash between Calico II & Calico I, then high-tailed it back to the cars.

6 miles; 1200 feet elevation gain; 3.25 hours

Approaching Sandstone Quarry

Enjoying Our Break at Sandstone Quarry

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