Saturday, December 3, 2016

Sloan Canyon South - 12/3/16

Trailhead Cairn view toward Trail Saddle

Petroglyph perhaps meaning "Go Up Hill"

Petroglyph near side of Trail

South Sloan Canyon Access Road
 Previous to this hike, our coordinator did much research that included pre-hiking, pre-driving the access road, visiting two BLM offices to ask questions, and warning the attending hikers not to touch the petroglyphs. Twenty hikers showed up to take 6 high clearance vehicles out the 8 miles of dirt road to the southern Sloan Canyon NCA trailhead. When we arrived in seemingly the middle of nowhere, we started up the marked trail which was a fine gravel wash. It was only the beginning of quite a trudge. When we turned a corner to the left, we noticed a few petroglyphs on the rocks to the right.

Trailhead Parking

Starting out the Fine Gravel Wash

Petroglyph near the Trailhead

Fine Gravel Wash
 Our hike headed up the gravel wash until it narrowed then turned into an actual trail. The trail switchbacked up until we hit the high point saddle. Already, the landscape views were pretty fantastic but when we came around the corner after the saddle, we had a distant view of Red Rock Canyon and then, later, the Las Vegas Strip. Next, a view of Sun City Anthem and Black Mountain showed up. We were heading down into the Sloan Canyon petroglyph area on a nice trail.

Climbing the Wash

Nearing the High Point Saddle

View Back toward Trailhead Parking

Red Rock Canyon from Trail
 More of the fine gravel wash stuff came underfoot as we neared the nucleus of the canyon. We passed a trail junction and continued. On the right side of the trail here, we saw the cowboy petroglyph. Then up to the left, there were more petroglyphs. A little further down, we came to the area of many petroglyphs. We explored around being very careful not to disturb any of the rock art. In previous visits to the canyon, several of today's hikers had been with leaders who welcomed our curiosity among the rocks.

15 out of 20 Hikers

Las Vegas from Trail 300

 Then some kind of "ranger" arrived and began yelling at us about being up in the rocks. He wasn't very nice and it was offensive that he implied that we were not "respecting the rock art." Since the hike, the wheels are already rolling. So far, none of our resources are aware of any rules preventing us from going up into the rocks to look at the petroglyphs. After all, if you don't go up into the rocks, how will we ever appreciate the "300 panels of rock art" that Sloan Canyon touts. If, in fact, there is a rule that we cannot go up into the rocks, then WHERE ARE THE SIGNS? Being in Wilderness does not prevent hikers from looking for and finding petroglyphs. There has to be more to it.

Besides that rude interruption to our morning, this was a beautiful hike.

6.5 miles; 1200 feet elevation gain; 3.25 hours

Bottom Right = Cowboy Petroglyph


Petroglyph perhaps meaning a Calendar

After researching the Sloan Canyon website, the writer found the quote below. However, why was this not mentioned to the coordinator on the previous day to the hike and why doesn't the BLM staff around Las Vegas know that climbing into the rocks is frowned upon? And, again, how can you appreciate the rock art if you can't get near enough to see them? The last line of the paragraph could easily have been added after this incident. Just sayin'. (Maybe Sloan Canyon really doesn't want any visitors.)

Respecting Rock Art

Sloan Canyon is one of the premier rock art sites in Southern Nevada. To keep the petroglyphs pristine, please do not touch the rock art because contact with the oils in skin will damage them. You may take photographs and sketches, but rubbings are not permitted. Avoid climbing near rock art sites.

Seven Magic Mountains

 There were many people at the art installation on I-15 south when around fifteen of the twenty club hikers arrived at "Seven Magic Mountains." Personally, the writer was not expecting much but, au contraire, the neon colored rocks were actually artfully evoking a few feelings in the visitors. Very interesting. Take the exit after St. Rose Parkway from Las Vegas and go under the interstate to turn right. It will be on the left side of the road about 1 or 2 miles down. Probably can't miss it!

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