Saturday, February 11, 2017

Blue Point Spring - 2/11/17

Tea Kettle Arch

Bright Red at Valley of Fire

Mammoth Rock

Blue Point Spring
 Blue Point Spring is located at mile marker 41 on Northshore Road in the Lake Mead NRA. Although the spring area is overgrown, there is a small stream running down through the desert. Twelve hikers drove up the highway and stopped for a small look-see at Rogers Spring, mile marker 40. After using the facilities and seeing the fish in the 80 degree pond, we drove on up to Blue Point Spring and started into the desert on a trail that led beside the stream. There are a few places where it is easy to cross the stream. We chose one and started out one of the many game trails.

Crossing the Stream

Hiking a Game Trail

Getting into the Red

Alcove & Limestone Ridge
 We crossed into the Valley of Fire State Park boundary when the red rock began popping out of the ground! This is a small corner of the park where there are many arches, alcoves and fins. The area is full of photo opportunities and hikers went here and there taking their photos. We continued out the game trail passing two major sized arches then, finally, came to the best arch, named Virgin Peak Arch. On a clear day, you can see Virgin Peak through the arch but, today was not clear.

Hiker through Arch

Climbing the Rocks

Desert Pinnacle in front of Virgin Peak

Hiking Past an Arch
 The morning began with some blue skies above and we were very optimistic that the clouds would clear away. Mais, non! The further we got into our hike, the worse the clouds appeared ... not just over the red rock in the distance but also across the arm of Lake Mead over the Virgin Range and the Gold Butte hiking zone. The wind whipped up occasionally as well. Still, we thought that the storms were moving away from us as we happily explored and photographed the various rock formations. The cloud cover really brought out the red color around us.

Fish Rock

Virgin Peak Arch

Walk Through Arch

Ten out of Twelve
 Next, we hiked a circle around within several other arches and formations ending up on a small peak where we stopped to rest. It was not yet raining anywhere that we could see. We finished our break and continued down and around to the Valley of Fire Wash overlook. In March, David G. plans a hike down this wash to Charlie's Spring. Retreating from the overlook, we came to the steepest descent of the morning. It was short but we had to watch our footing. A climb followed this and we worked our way around some of the beautiful towering red rock.

Storm Clouds Brewing

Hiking the Washes

Clouds over Valley of Fire Sandstone

Circling Around
 Every year, we see a bird's nest flowing out of two particular holes in the red rock high above. Some of the color in the stone is stunning. We reached the Cow Column and, as usual, not everyone could see the bovine. From there, we worked our way over to Mammoth Rock. At this point, we could see rain pouring on the Gold Butte area across the lake. There was also some rain over the Valley of Fire plateau. Chuck was getting a little anxious about getting back to the cars before we got wet so a quick photo of only the club president on top of the mammoth had to suffice.

Overlook at Valley of Fire Wash

One Steep Descent

Broken Pinnacle

Observing Cow Column
 As we quickly made our way back across the desert, we made a few observations that included a large lizard who had lost its tail in a fight. We thought it was dead because its legs were in a funny position and it didn't move as 12 hikers passed. One hiker even nudged it just a little. Nothing. Then, after the last hiker passed and turned around to take one last look, the lizard was suddenly gone ... out-a-there! Nature is so interesting.

Turpentine Broom Blooms among Other Interesting Things

Tidal Wave Rock

Hawk Rock

Being Chased by the Storm
 Done with the features of the hike, Chuck put the pedal to the medal finding various game trails that would lead us back to the cars. We practically ran the last mile of the hike as the black clouds neared. The writer felt two drops on her cheek during the last 200 yards. Yep, we barely made it and, as we quickly signed out of the hike, the sprinkles began. Fun hike! Very interesting scenery with the dark clouds all around.

5 miles; 700 feet elevation gain; 3.75 hours

Rain on the Virgin Range

Gold Butte Hiking Zone from Our Hike

David captured the Overpowering Storm at End

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