Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Up Muffins / Down Boneshaker - 10/21/15

Calico Hills from the Muffins

Calico Hills from Boneshaker Hill

Red Rock Escarpment from Boneshaker Hill

Red Rock Horse Corral
 It was a gorgeous day to view Red Rock Canyon scenic loop area from the North Blue Diamond Hills. Ten hikers gathered at the Cowboy Trails parking lot and began their hike up to the Muffins passing a full and "fresh" corral of trail horses. (Did I mention air?) The horsey air was cool and there was a small breeze throughout the hike. We hiked the horse trail that led straight over to the bottom of the hill where the Muffins and Skull Canyon Trails come down. After dipping down to cross the wash at the mouth of Skull Canyon, we began our climb.

Crossing the Mouth of Skull Canyon
 A few switchbacks took us up to where the trail forked off for Skull Canyon. We took the left fork to the Muffins.

Morning View of Red Rock Canyon
 The views out toward the Calico Hills were undeniably fantastic! With clouds painting the sky and morning sun shining through, Red Rock Canyon was a sight to behold.

Climbing the Muffins Trail

 The climb up to The Muffins is forgiving. Just when the climb is leaving your legs wobbly, the trail flattens out for a short distance. The rest is welcome, then you start to climb again. Recent rains did not touch this trail unless you count a few times where the rocks seem to be missing a couple of inches of dirt at the bottom. Stepping up onto the rocks on the trail seemed to be higher steps than before but it may have been the imagination of a hiker lady that was feeling a bit slower this morning!

Arriving at The Muffins
 When we arrived at The Muffins, there were already a couple of hikers sitting up under the rocks enjoying the view. The huge conglomerate rocks provided good foreground for landscape photos.

Las Vegas Skyline from The Muffins
 In the distance, we could also see the Las Vegas skyline. The rain had washed away all the hazy dust and pollution that normally hangs over the bowl-like valley.

Plus Kay

Chert and a Fat Barrel Cactus
After a short break, we continued up the hill following the trail that led up and over this ridge. At the top of this ridge, we were at our high point then we dropped down to a saddle area where a well-worn trail crossed our path. We took a left here and dropped down further, only to climb once again up to the edge of the cliff that borders the east side of the North Blue Diamond Hills. Sometimes called the "old" Las Vegas overlook, this perch presents a full view of the city of Las Vegas. We sat here and took our morning snack break. Nearby were remnants of a hitching post made of steep cables. This was dismantled sometime last year.

Crossing Over to the Las Vegas Overlook
 We could see the Sienna Ridge that our club will be hiking in the near future. This was a good spot to make some plans for that hike.

View from Las Vegas Overlook
 When we finished our break, we returned to the end of the Muffins Trail saddle on a crossover trail and continued straight from there.

Taking the Crossover Trail Past Skull Canyon

Skull Canyon as We Passed
 We passed the top of Skull Canyon (aka Bob Gnarly Trail). For many years, Skull Canyon was named for a horse's skull that was found there. Not sure who Bob Gnarly is. Should we? Anyway, the crossover trail continues over the next ridge and dips down to cross Mystery Woman Canyon. It's pretty much a straight shot from the Muffins saddle to Mystery Woman Canyon but, then, the trail begins bearing off to the right as it climbs the hill up to the Boneshaker ridge trail.

Climbing Up from Mystery Woman Canyon
 Here, we began noticing that all the cacti and succulents that we had passed (and were still passing) were very healthy looking. Fat and happy!

All of Red Rock Sandstone from Boneshaker Trail
 The Boneshaker Trail took us down the ridge between Mystery Woman / Skull Canyons and Cave Canyon on the left. There are a couple of different levels to the ridge as we dropped over cherted limestone. (Hmmm. Is that a word?)

Taking a Break on Boneshaker Trail

Boneshaker Hill with Skull Canyon Below
 Our final coup de gras was the descent down Boneshaker Hill itself. This is a steep descent with a lot of loose rock made slightly easier because of the somewhat wet soil. At the bottom, we retraced our steps back by the horse corral. We stopped by to give Jackson, the burro, a rub for which he politely, albeit loudly, replied, "Thank you!" We also noted that the before mentioned Clydesdale was saddled and ready to go on a trail ride with ten of his new friends. Very enjoyable morning.

6 miles; 1400 feet elevation gain; 3 hours

Diving Down Boneshaker Hill

Jackson wants some Love

Clydesdale King of the Corral

No comments: