Thursday, January 15, 2015

Camel Tracks & East North Bowl of Fire - 1/15/15

The Red Mound - East North Bowl of Fire

Raven's Balcony from Large Peak Trail

View from Ridge Trail

Climbing Up to the Ridge Trail
 One area that the club has yet to explore completely is the east side of the North Bowl of Fire. Today, nine hikers had a sampling of this area and found it to be different, beautiful and interesting. Even though we ended up in a frustrating section of the red rock, we still had fun trying to find our way to the Red Mound. We parked at the mile marker 20.5 parking lot on Northshore Road.

Following Ridge Trail
 This is a nice parking area complete with a pit toilet. The sign says "Northshore Summit Trail" and that's where we headed.

From Colorful Canyon (L) to the Desert Colosseum (R)
 This trail took us up along a ridge that had fantastic views in all directions. Eventually, we began to drop down on a steep section of the trail.

Following the Wash out to Callville Road

More Vehicle Obstacles
 The steep and slippery slope slowly became more gentle and soon we followed the trail right into the wash below us. We turned to the right and followed this small winding wash until it dead ended into another slightly bigger wash. Here, we turned to the left. There is a cairn that marks your direction.

Callville Road
 It's not far down this wash that we intersected the Callville Road, an old 4WD road that is used to access the Bowls of Fire by vehicle. We turned to the right on the road and began hiking up the road around a mile. Just before the road ended at an impassable narrows in the wash, there are some fossilized camelops tracks found in large rock slabs on the embankment. Along with those, there are also some bird tracks in a slab nearby.

Site of the Camelops and Bird Tracks (10,000 years old)
We almost missed the fossil site and had to backtrack a little to search for them.

Up and Around a Large Puddle

Our Left Fork Wash
The camelops is the last prehistoric camel to be indigenous to North America (until it was hunted to extinction by human settlers) about 10,000 years ago. The fossilized tracks are surprisingly small for such a large animal that would have stood at least ten feet tall at the head. But, pictures of the creature's skeleton show that they stood on their hooved toes, ... sort of.

Paul Enjoys the Red Rock View
We continued up the wash and had to scramble a bit to get around a large puddle. Taking a left canyon fork, we again scrambled up a few small dry falls. Before the canyon took us all the way to an area called Sea World, we took a trail up the embankment on the left. We should have waited for the second trail opportunity but, nevertheless, we found our way around the large canyon that we encountered and headed up the proper trail into the red rock.

Cyclops Rock
One of the first rock formations that caught our attention was Cyclops Rock! We couldn't understand how the rock on top of the monolith could have just "ended up" balanced like that. It seemed to not be attached yet it also seemed to "belong."

East North Bowl of Fire
Unsure of how to "eat this elephant," we followed cairns and small trails around. This turned out to be unproductive and we found ourselves in a frustrating area of canyons and cliff-outs!

The Eye of the Elephant

Searching for a Way to the Red Mound
We chose a large Red Mound of rock to see if we could get to the top for a snack break. After trying three different ways, we decided that the best place for a snack break was where we were! We sat for our break within this area that seemed to be almost untouched.

Triple Delicate
The formations were fragile. There was evidence of mountain lion and other smaller animals taking cover in some of the red rock holes and windows. Many fragile fins were protruding from the rock. It is an area that we hoped would stay pristine even if hikers decided to explore it further. It is likely that we will be back.

Snack Time
Some day, it would be nice to find how to get to the corner peak that sits above the canyon that is normally used for the North Bowl entrance. Next time, we will continue up the first wash that we came to when we reached the red rock.

Exit Route

View from Exit Saddle
To exit the area, we passed by Cyclops Rock again but, this time, we veered to the left. There was a tidy way to get from here to the exit saddle (between our area and the Large Peak next to us). At the saddle, we found the trail that can be seen from the satellite. It is a decent trail albeit rocky that hangs on the side of the Large Peak hillside.

Starting Trail from Exit Saddle
We followed this trail to the next saddle then followed the trail on the other side of the next hill. It wasn't until the end that the trail became a little scary slippery! We made it through then decided to go all the way out to the end of the little ridge and drop down through some rough conglomerate stone. We dropped all the way down to the next saddle.

The Lateral Trail on the Large Peak
This last saddle was criss-crossed with trails. Not far away on the right side, we could see the large pink rock that we have climbed on while hiking the North Bowl.

Dropping of the End of the Small Ridge
Our route turned to the left on the saddle and we found a trail that took us overland and around to the right. Eventually, we found an easy way down into the wash we were paralleling.

Into the Wash

Following Exit Wash to Callville Road
Turning to the right in the wash, we followed it all the way out to Callville Road. To complete the loop, we turned left on the road and soon came to our wash junction that is marked by a "No Motor Vehicles" sign. From here, we retraced our steps back to the cars which included the most difficult part of today's hike ... the climb back up the steep trail to the ridge. Bunches of fun!

6.5 miles; 1400 feet elevation gain; 4.25 hours

Our Route Back from Ridge Trail

Returning to the Ridge

North Bowl of Fire from the Ridge Trail

Today's Route in Purple / North Bowl of Fire Route in Blue

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