Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Muffins - 11/14/15

From The Muffins to the Escarpment

Boneshaker Hill at Skull Canyon Junction

Hiking Past the Horse Corral

Starting Up
 The Muffins are what we call a grouping of very old conglomerate type boulders perched on the point of a hill in the North Blue Diamond Hills of Red Rock Canyon NCA. They make a great hike destination because of the views that can be seen from there. Twenty-six hikers decided it was a beautiful day for a hike up the hill and we parked at the Cowboy Trails parking area off of Highway 159 about half a mile from the Red Rock scenic loop fee booth turnoff. After making sure everyone had made it to the trailhead, we started hiking up past the lower horse corral.

The Muffins Above
 We could see The Muffins above us and knew clearly how far up we had to climb. To get warmed up, we did the first flat half mile at a moderate pace.

Hiking in and out of Shadows

The Trail Up
 We circled around the base of Boneshaker Hill and came to the Skull Canyon wash crossing. Here's where we started to climb and the pace slowed down. As promised, we climbed slowly and took many rest stops for this leisurely hike of the week. Twenty-six hikers make a very long line of climbers so each time we stopped in the front, we had to make sure that all hikers would be standing at a comfortable place to wait for the end of the line to catch up. We hiked in and out of shade and sun all the way up.

Red Rock Wash seen Behind Us
 Each time we stopped, we had a chance to take in the gorgeous views that this hike has to offer. The day's temperature was pretty close to perfect for hiking and there was very little wind. High winds are predicted for tomorrow!

Arriving at The Muffins
 It seemed like the hike had gone by very quickly and soon we turned the corner and saw The Muffins very near. The final push brought all the hikers who had divided into around three different groups to the huge boulders.

Last Climb

The Muffins to Calico Hills
When everyone had made it up to the clearing among The Muffins, Rick brought out a tray of muffins cut into small pieces to serve to all the hikers. Views were splendid. The air was clear and the Las Vegas skyline was seen unobstructed. The large group spread out making use of all the different places to sit and enjoy the views. We spent around fifteen minutes there and finally, it was time to go back down the way we came up with the understanding that the trail was pretty slippery and it would require a slow pace.

Taking a Break at The Muffins
 Following the leader, the group took baby steps all the way down the hill. There were no mishaps and, at the bottom, we waited for the last two hikers to arrive.

Las Vegas Skyline from The Muffins

Starting Down
 As we hiked back to the cars, the pace picked up again since it was easy terrain. We returned on a slightly different route just to change it up. This was a very successful albeit ambitious outing for the Saturday leisurely hikers. There's a lot we can all do if we just do it slowly enough! A fun morning.

4 miles; 900 feet elevation gain; 3 hours

Circling the Contour

A Particularly Rough Section

Almost Down to the Switchbacks

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