Sunday, August 9, 2015

Bonanza Trail (partial) O&B - 8/9/15

Wildflowers on No Name Saddle

McFarland Peak from Bonanza Trail

One of Three Wild Horses near Bristlecone Trail

Starting Up No Name Trail
 It was an absolutely beautiful day in the Spring Mountains NRA! Nine hikers drove up to the Upper Bristlecone Trailhead to begin their hike up to the Bonanza Trail via No Name Trail. As we started up the Bristlecone Trail, music was already blaring from the ski slopes as the Music on the Mountain festival began to rev up. Three wild horses didn't seem to mind the noise as they lazily ate their way up the slope to the right. The coordinator's plan today was a few rules scenario. The hikers were instructed to hike at their own speed but stop at pre-determined well-known landmarks.

Climbing No Name Trail

Old Growth Bristlecones on No Name Trail

Gathering at the No Name/ Bonanza Junction
 Our first stop was the Bristlecone / No Name trail junction. The second stop was No Name saddle. The third stop was the No Name / Bonanza trail junction. We had no problems with any of that and it was very pleasant to hike at the pace that felt most comfortable. After our third stop, we turned to the left and began climbing the steps section of the Bonanza Trail. At the top of this section, there is a fork in the trail. The right fork trail peters out and scrambling is required to balance the ridge back down to the Bonanza Trail.

Climbing Steps Section of Bonanza Trail

Hiking Bonanza Trail

Passing Pine Cone Canyon Junction
 The fork misdirected the front half of the line and the back half of the line had to reel them back in. The left fork should be taken here if you want to stay on the main trail. Next, we passed the Pine Cone Canyon junction and moved on to the small switchbacks that lead up and around a small peak. This area is full of old bristlecone trees and views of Charleston Peak are very nice. As you round the corner at the top, South Sister comes into view on the other side of the Spring Mountains Divide.

South Sister from Bonanza Trail

Nearing Break Point

Relaxing above Bonanza Trail
 We dropped a little then climbed up and over the high point of today's hike. A little further and we arrived at the Bonanza / South Sister Saddle trail junction. We climbed up on the ridge to our right and sat among the limestone and old logs for our break. The views from this perspective included Pahrump, NV in the distance, and McFarland and Lee Peaks. There were many little yellow flowers blooming this week adorning the limestone slopes and outcroppings. After our break, we started back the way we came.

View Back toward Lee Peak

View of Pahrump

Heading Back on the Bonanza Trail
 Our route back was the same as our route out and we passed several Sunday hikers some of whom we knew. The descent down No Name was steep and slippery but we were no worse for the wear. When we got back down near the trailhead, it was obvious that the party was well underway on the ski slopes. Beer for everyone! The horses were gone and parking was at a premium. But, we had the better morning on the trails!

7 miles; 1650 feet elevation gain; 3.5 hours

Descent on Bonanza

Approaching No Name Saddle

Music on the Mountain Festival just getting Started

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