Saturday, March 3, 2018

North / South Bowl of Fire Connector Loop - 3/3/18

Hiking through the South Bowl of Fire

Window with a View

North Bowl of Fire from South Bowl

Beeline to Main Wash from Trailhead
 It promised to be a less-than-perfect day in the desert of the Lake Mead NRA north of the lake. Harsh wind and rain would be coming in during the afternoon. However, twelve optimists seized the morning and headed out to the North / South Bowls of Fire; mile marker 18 on Northshore Road. In the past, we've studied the North Bowl of Fire yearly and the South Bowl of Fire quite often. Today, we would study the terrain in between the two popular redstone areas. This hike had treasures of its own. We headed out on a beeline shot to the Callville Road / Main (Between) Wash junction.

Main Wash
 The pace soon picked up as we hit the wash and started our hike up while using every shortcut trail we could find.

Interesting Dry Fall in Main Wash
 To our right were the cliffs of the North Bowl of Fire. To our left was the haphazard redstone of the South Bowl of Fire.

Over High Terrain

Owl Roost on Left
 At almost 3 miles into the hike, we came to an interesting dry fall to climb. Soon after that, we made our move up the hill to the left. We crossed the high terrain then dropped back into another big wash. A left turn in this wash then, at the second wash junction, we turned to the right. This is a nice narrow shallow sandstone slot canyon. We had not gone very far when a Western Long-eared owl flew out of the side wall over our heads. It happened very fast and we lamented that we were unable to get a photo. But, the owl wasn't finished with his performance! As we turned a corner in the slot, there he was sitting on the side wall.

Waiting for the Owl to Perch
 He just sat there draped down the rock watching us with large yellow eyes. Several photos later, he took off back in the direction of his roost. (Lettie was high up enough to see that he did, indeed, go back to the roost.)

Western Long-eared Owl
 We were only half way into the hike and, already, we knew it was a very special day.

Distant Peaks of Lovell Ridge, West Gate and East Gate

Touring Views of North Bowl of Fire
 We climbed up out of the small canyon and began a circular tour of an area that gave us fantastic views of the neighboring North Bowl of Fire cliffs, including Raven's Balcony. We marveled at the abundance (thousands) of "Indian Marbles" under our feet. Even being careful, there were a couple of slips here. Completing our tour, we found a sheltering mound of rock and stopped for our break. After that, we headed toward the separating ridge that runs along the south border of the bowl. Preferring to not challenge the wind, we elected to not cross up and over the ridge here.

Colorful Wash with Thousands of Marbles
 Instead, we hiked up next to it then dropped down into a main wash that runs parallel to it. This wash has a few interesting dry falls.

South Bowl of Fire
 In the distance, we could see Anniversary Narrows Peak and Murphy Peak. The latter was the one that we continued heading toward throughout the last half of the hike.

Anniversary Narrows Peak in Distance

Main Wash in South Bowl
 We enjoyed the wash dodging some of the dry falls within it by taking use / game trails around them. Then, we reached the piece de resistance! We came to a large series of dry falls dropping down to make a couple of curves within the highish walls. The drops between the puddles were non-negotiable for us but we got our photos of the anomaly. There is a good trail that takes hikers around to the left then some of us circled around to take a look at the bottom of it. Nope, we couldn't climb the dry falls either! A collage of photos below shows the approach, the narrows, the bottom slot, and the exit view.

Nearing the Narrows Dry Fall (Murphy Peak)
 One last part of the tour remained and we turned up to our right to climb. Passing a landmark square window on our left, we came to a window that was large enough for us to climb through.

Narrows Dry Fall
 On the other side is a steep rocky drop down to the South Bowl's main entrance wash. But instead of turning toward the exit, we turned the other way to explore an interesting saddle area.

The Climb Thru Window

Saddle with Murphy Peak in Background
 There is a trail that leads away from the other side of the saddle. We followed this trail very near the back side of Murphy Peak back over to the main wash where we dropped down the exit. From here, we hiked down the wide sandy wash, passed a rocky curve then turned left onto a well marked trail. This is a great trail that leads all the way back to the mile marker 18 trailhead. It was a fascinating day and we beat the wind home! Loved the owl sighting!

7 miles; 800 feet elevation gain; 3.75 hours

Nearing the South Bowl Entrance Drop

South Bowl Entrance Drop

The Trail overland to Trailhead

1 comment:

Las Vegas Cockapoo said...

Kay--Appreciated seeing the blog, especially the owl, arch and cloud/sandstone contrast pics--thanks! Chuck H.