Friday, March 13, 2015

Calico Hills - 3/13/15

Tinaja and Calico Hills

Joshua Tree Bloom and Wilson Peak

The afternoon was warm with a nice cool breeze. Red Rock Canyon NCA was bursting with activity. It was a great day for a hike and fourteen hikers began at the fee booth parking lot with Nancy at the helm. Crossing the pavement, we managed to avoid cars driving in through the fee stations. It was a busy day for the fee station attendants!

Calico Hills and La Madre Range

Some of Our Hikers at Calico I

The first mile of the hike went from the fee booth parking lot to the Calico I turnout on the Grand Circle Trail. With conversations going full force, we arrived at the turnout quickly. The promised slow pace turned into a moderate pace. The group took the challenge with good humor. Next, we dropped down to the sandstone on the well worn path and turned to our left. At the bottom of the hill, we turned right and started climbing up the hill on the other side.

Rock Climbers on Calico Hills

Drop to Canyon Wash

We hiked along the top of the intermediary ridge then dropped back down to the canyon wash via the sandstone slab. Filing through a crack in the terrain, we began walking along the wash that was somewhat filled with water. The water dried up as we got a little further up canyon and we used the gravel wash to make our way past the Calico II turnout above us.

Canyon Wash below Calico II

Canyon Wash

As we passed some large boulders, we remarked on the petroglyphs written on their tops. It is difficult for the rangers to keep these particular rocks free from graffiti. Next, we climbed up and up to reach an area of white sandstone located just south of the Sandstone Quarry parking turnout. There were 3 large tinajas in the rock and we enjoyed our break "lakeside!"

Taking Our Break at Tinajas below Sandstone Quarry

Nancy Entertains

After a nice and affable break, we began our return. We hiked back to the fee booth using the Grand Circle Trail for the whole remaining 3 miles. The sun was lowering in the sky so the bright red rock colors came out as tourists busied around us wondering how they could have gotten onto our hike. Simple. Just show up and be able to keep up!

6 miles; 1200 feet elevation gain; 3.25 hours

Return Hike

Last Mile

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