Thursday, December 24, 2015

Boneshaker Hill / Echo Canyon - 12/24/15

Echo Canyon

Connector Trail

Calico Hills from Boneshaker Hill

Turtlehead Across the Highway
 Nineteen hikers gathered for a celebratory Christmas Eve hike starting at the Cowboy Trails parking area off of Highway 159 in the Red Rock Canyon NCA. The weather was cool but the expected wind had not arrived. The wind stayed away throughout the hike and we were happy campers! The group started out by passing the horse corral that enclosed only 3 or 4 horses and mules. The rest of the horses were saddled up at the upper stables waiting for their "Christmas Eve Parade." (At the end of the hike, we watched as the parade passed by the parking lot.)

Lone Burro
 There was one wild burro that we could see as we rounded the base of Boneshaker Hill and started up. The steep climb woke up all of us.

Climbing Boneshaker Hill

Group Waiting at the First High Point
 The group gathered at the top of the first high point of the hill to wait for the last hikers to arrive. The clear day showed off the beautiful colors of the Calico Hills and escarpment as we climbed. The low winter sun glared into our eyes from the top of the North Blue Diamond Hills. We made our way up, up and up some more at a moderate to moderately strenuous pace. Stops were made here and there for water and breathing time. Finally, we hit the flat area that passes two trail junctions. Then, there it was! The Boneshaker sign!

View from Boneshaker Hill
 The Boneshaker sign has only recently been replaced with new wood and fresh paint. The old sign had been pretty useless for several years.

Mt. Potosi and Red Rock Escarpment from Boneshaker Hill
 On our way up, we could see a sliver of a snowy peak in the Spring Mountains. Most likely, it was Griffith Peak.

Reaching the Boneshaker Sign

Connector Trail in Right Fork of Cave Canyon
 At the sign, we took the right fork onto the connector trail (aka SARS Trail). This trail travels across the top of Cave Canyon (Left & Right Forks). Then it also passes the tops of Second and First Fingers. Much of the trail in this section lies within the Right Fork of Cave Canyon. It is here that the trail shines with gardens of desert plants and rock walls decorating the beautiful views. Other wildlife we saw included two rabbits and a flock of fat black birds. Not sure what they were.

Catching Up
 When we reached the old mining road where the trail turns to the right, we stopped for our break on the big white rocks there.

Scrambling Down Echo Canyon

Echo Canyon
 From here, we continued down to junction with the Echo Canyon Trail that turns to the right. We followed the trail until we were able to start down the wash. We stayed in the middle of Echo Canyon as much as we could so that we could scramble. This is a fun little canyon and we made it down just fine over the rocks. At the bottom of the canyon, we joined the Cave Canyon Trail to continued down to the upper stables and back to the cars. Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight!

6 miles; 1200 feet elevation gain; 3.25 hours

Tackling the Obstacles

A Really Big Step Down

Exiting Echo Canyon

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