Friday, November 25, 2016

Hidden Canyon - 11/25/16

Hidden Canyon


Trail near Ridge

Hiking up from Eagle Peak
'Twas the day after Thanksgiving
And all through the valley;
Most people were shopping;
Or on the Red Rock scenic loop!
Eighteen club hikers arrived in the north;
Not with horses nor bicycles;
They did 6.5 miles afoot.
The morning was chilly
But the sun warmed their pale;
A wardrobe change was imminent
As they charged up the trail.
And up, and up, and up they would go!
Who knew there existed a trail with no low?
Pardon me, mam & sir, what a beautiful day!
We are enjoying the hike, no matter the pay!

Hiking toward the Summerlin Peak Area
 We started at the Buckskin Cliff Shadows Equestrian Park Trailhead and climbed up past the cement drainage to the trail that encircles the entire Eagle Peak ridge.

Trail at Base of Summerlin Peak
 Today's entire trail is located within the Red Rock Canyon NCA boundary although there is a housing development being built right up to the edge of it.

Trail at Base of Summerlin Peak

Frenchman Mountain over Cheyenne Peak
 We circled around the end of the ridge then dropped down to cross the wide wash. There is a huge amount of trash among the brush in this area. Most likely, the trash is coming from the construction and workers nearby. Eventually, we continued past the mess and followed the trail up next to a wash that flows from the base of the Summerlin Peak ridge. After getting high enough to be able to cross the wash without trouble, we passed a second cave that has someone living in it. To our right, we had a distant view of Cheyenne Peak, Frenchman Mountain and the Las Vegas skyline.

Trail along Contour
 Next, the trail followed along the contour of the limestone embedded mountain. With sticky limestone and sticky shoe treads, we easily negotiated the interesting trail obstacles here.

Sticky Rock & Sticky Boots
 We curved in and out a large wash or two then could see Hidden Canyon at the top of the wash that we were hiking beside.

City View beyond Trail

Heading into Hidden Canyon
 Hidden Canyon, a deep cut, actually takes a left turn only a short distance from the place where we cross the limestone wash. From the crossing, we could barely make out that the canyon wall is the sheer cliff seen up to the left. We continued up the two long switchbacks following the crossing and got a much better view of the Hidden Canyon layout. Also, we saw that the red-tailed hawk's nest still sat up in the overhang up to the right. No one's home right now as we head into December.

Climbing Up from Hidden Canyon Wash
 These two switchbacks have a particularly scary place to negotiate and it seems to have become worse since last April. It is difficult to believe bikers choose to ride here.

Hidden Canyon from Switchback View
 Next, we passed the old car wreck. Since its alcove was protected from the wind, we chose this place to have our snack. We sat on the sharp limestone rock and pondered the car!

How did this get here?

Barrel Cacti and Eagle Peak Ridge
 We still had a little bit of climbing to do before we hit our high point of the hike. The high point area is located along a small ridge on which the trail balances for a short distance. The pace continued at a moderately strenuous level and everyone was keeping up very well; fortified by turkey, dressing and pumpkin pie, no doubt. After the small ridge, we started dropping and turned to go down to a trail below. Thinking this was the beginning of the downhill portion of the hike, we breathed a sigh of relief. ... Oops, too soon!

Circling a Small Ridge
 The trail was to continue on its up, up and down, up, up and down cadence until we came to the land bridge crossover section.

Seabed Fossils
 We crossed over staying on the contour so that we neither gained nor lost elevation of any consequence. On the other side, we found the trail that encircles the Eagle Peak ridge and turned right.

Crossing the Land Bridge

Following a Rough Trail
This trail is rough with rocks. Most of it is downhill back to the junction, but we laughed when the uphills appeared relentlessly! Finally, we junctioned with the trail we turned off of 3 hours earlier. A left turn took us back home. This was a great place to hike on Thanksgiving weekend. We only passed three people all morning and the parking lot was only full because we filled it up! Great workout and lots of conversation.

6.5 miles; 1150 feet elevation gain; 3.5 hours

Summerlin Peak above Hikers

Nearing the Trailhead

Back at the Trailhead

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