Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Red Springs Loop (v Angel Pass) - 4/30/18

Cool Chuck, the Chuckwalla

View over Angel Pass Saddle

Circling the Crag toward the Pass

Scrambling Approach
The temperatures had cooled slightly and we were back at the "absolutely beautiful" range of weather at Red Rock Canyon NCA. Thirteen hikers gathered at the Red Springs Picnic Area parking lot and trailhead for a scramble around the southern end of the Calico Hills. This is an interesting scramble with no exposures per se. It is a good workout in only 3.5 miles. And, we began by hiking out of the trailhead to the north along the base of the Calico Hills passing the large crag that is usually accommodating rock climbers ... but, not today!

Approach to the Base of the Climb
We circled around the base of the sandstone toward the left heading to the saddle climb area. Hugging the wall, we found a few fun places to start our scramble.

Climbing up to the Trail
Once we were at the usual place to start up, we connected with the trail and started climbing.

Following a Trail

Scrambling Up
There is no right or wrong way to climb up to the Angel Pass Saddle! There are one or two trails that can be followed fairly easy and we chose one of those. It is a good climb with several places that require use of hands. It seemed everyone in our group enjoyed scrambling and we stayed together very well. Our first gathering spot was at the midway choke point. We continued by climbing over the rock next to the left wall of the canyon then followed the trail on up to the saddle. There, we took a short rest. The blue sky was already starting to turn white with cloud cover.

Las Vegas view from Angel Pass Saddle
Las Vegas can be viewed from the saddle if you step up to the base of the south wall.

One Great Group of Hikers!
After our short break, Harley took over for the trip down. Once again, there is no wrong way to descend from the saddle ... however, there are easy ways and difficult ways!

Angel Carving in the Shade

Scrambling down to the Base of Calico II
Harley knew the route well and we followed him down without a problem. A few of the scrambles required sitting. All the routes that I have ever taken here, have ended up passing directly by the angel carving and today was no different. A few of the hikers in the group had not seen the carving before. It is still a mystery as to who carved it and why. We surmise that perhaps it is Saint Christopher watching over all the rock climbers in the Calico Hills. (It's a good story anyway.) So, we finished the descent and hiked into a somewhat crowded junction in the wash below Calico II.

Meet Cool Chuck
Hikers were coming down off of the rock that we were going up to take a break. As we made the last few steps up, we saw what the big attraction had been. Cool Chuck!

Cool Chuck, Hedgehog Blooms, Red-spotted Toad, Cool Chuck's less cool Friend
Cool Chuck, the Chuckwalla, was just hanging out on the wall with his head resting on a small knob. He tolerated our endless photo taking and nary moved a muscle.

Peering up the Wash

Starting down the Wash
We sat about 30 to 40 feet away from Cool Chuck and took our break while talking away. Cool Chuck may have moved one leg during this time, probably to keep his circulation in order. After one last selfie with Cool Chuck, we went on our way dropping down to the end of the slab wash. As we made our way into the gravel, Harley noticed another chuckwalla plastered to the sandstone about 50 feet away. (This one was not as cool. ... jus' sayin'.) From there, we followed the huge (HUGE) cairns over and up to the upper trail that used to be the Grand Circle Trail before a different trail was made closer to the Scenic Loop.

High Overland Trail to Calico I
After the high trail, we dropped down into the wash just below the Calico I Overlook and hiked down to the slanted slot.

Dropping into Wash below Calico I
Few of us had visited the slanted slot in a while and some of us had never been there. We chose one of two ways to conquer the climb at the end. Up the rock on the left or through the rabbit hole on the right.

The Slanted Slot

Choosing a Scramble
The rabbit hole is a bit tight and the rock climb takes strength. We all got up, some with help, and climbed over the next part to find the scramble descent on the other side. One by one, we reached the wash below and started down another scramble that leads to the 10(+or-) foot slide. The "half-pipe" that you slide in is narrow enough to hold most hikers' hips static but there is still a reach of around a foot down to the pile of rocks built up below. Harley helped out again and we all made it down easily. Only a couple of "interesting" spots left!

Dropping down in Up and Around
There are, mind you, "go arounds" for all of the "interesting" spots but today's goal was to stay in the wash and enjoy all the scrambles.

The Slide
The next spot involved sidling around a deep hole and down the rock. Then, there was one more big rock to negotiate the tumble down. Still having bunches of fun!

More Wash to Go

One Giant Leap for Mike
We walked on down the wash and came to the trail that climbed out on the left side. This trail took us through the petroglyph area and up around the hill, routing below the HUGE balanced rock above. A climb up to the saddle around to the left set us up to try out a new descent back to the parking lot. There is a fantastic berm (ridge) trail that leads away from the sandstone and down to the left. This trail is much gentler than that steep, slippery, rocky trail down to the boardwalk. A great day on the rocks!

3.5 miles; 1000 feet elevation gain; 3.25 hours

Tumble Scramble

Through the Petroglyphs and Around the Balanced Rock

Utilizing new "Berm" Trail down to Red Springs Parking Lot

1 comment:

Las Vegas Cockapoo said...

Loved the photos, especially Cool Chuck.
Susan Murphy