Sunday, June 21, 2015

No Name / Bristlecone Loop CW - 6/21/15

Krummholtz Bristlecone on No Name Ridge

Lee Peak from Bristlecone Trail

 With most of the active club hikers at Sequoia National Park this weekend, we were very pleased to have ten club hikers gather for a hike around the No Name / Bristlecone Loop in the Spring Mountains NRA. We traveled up Lee Canyon Road to the very end and started hiking up between the fencing which is meant to keep errant hikers from trampling on some of the Mt. Charleston Blue Butterfly habitat. The air smelled of smoke but there were no forest fires nearby, only camp fires. Soon, quite a bit of wind whipped up and blew the smoke away.

Starting Up No Name Trail
 We hiked up the Bristlecone Trail for a mile then came to the No Name junction. Forest and Wilderness officials have tried to make the No Name Trail appear forbidding. True, it isn't a trail for novice hikers.

Rear View on No Name Trail

 The No Name Trail is an abandoned section of the Bonanza Trail. It is steep and, in some places, slippery. But, it is also a very beautiful section of trail and worth the effort. No Name divides when it begins heading up a rocky wash. The No Name trail continues zigzagging up and across the wash. The trail that climbs up to the left of the wash leads to Wallace Canyon Saddle (also a beautiful destination). We continued our climb up No Name Trail huffing and puffing. It always feels great to get the old lungs moving.

Almost up to No Name Saddle
 Finally, we reached the saddle and climbed up to the high point to our right to take in the views and enjoy a longish rest.

McFarland Peak from Saddle Area

 This was a loquacious group of hikers and the rest went on until the natives got restless. The trail continues across the high point and into the forest of old bristlecones beyond. This part of No Name is one of the most beautiful sections of trail in this area. With very little elevation change, hikers are free to enjoy the wooded scenery of krummholtz trees for almost half a mile. A ridge was not too far up to the right and a steep canyon dropped down to the left.

Trail Through Old Bristlecones
 The forest trail dead ends into the newer Bonanza Trail right where the Wilderness signs mark the occasion. There are many sizable logs outlining the Bonanza Trail here and they are often used for seating during a snack break ... like we did today.

No Name / Bonanza Trail Junction

 For the next part of the hike, we turned right onto the Bonanza Trail and proceeded down half a mile of four switchbacks that junction at the end on the Bristlecone Trail. The junction arrives at the point where the Bristlecone Trail changes from a hard packed single track trail to the remains of a gravel forest road known as Lower Bristlecone. The sun was relentless, today, so we didn't stop here long for lack of shade. The summer solstice allowed for very few shady spots.

Bonanza Trail / Bristlecone Trail Junction with South Sister in Background
 We made our turn to the right and joined several other recreational hikers for the trip back down the single track trail.

Bristlecone Trail with Mummy Mountain in Background

 Hikers, bikers and trail runners passed or joined us as we wound our way around the limestone, bristlecones and aspens of the Upper Bristlecone Trail. We passed the No Name junction that we had taken earlier and continued down through the best of the shade in the aspens. South Sister watched us from the north. We love this hike!

6 miles; 1100 feet elevation gain; 3 hours

Switchback on Upper Bristlecone Trail

Nearing the Upper Bristlecone Trailhead

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