|2013 Archive Photo of Bridge Mountain from Escarpment (Kay's Photo)|
|Fifteen Hikers under the Bridge of Bridge Mountain, Red Rock Canyon|
(Count the Crocodile!)
|Initial Climb up the North Peak Trail|
|Fern Canyon Overlook|
For many on the Bridge Mountain hike, it was terra incognita, as 36% of the group (5 of 14) were newbies. One of the quintessential Class III hikes in the Red Rocks, Bridge never disappoints. Our trailhead was the halfway spot on Rocky Gap Road. It’s immediately in-your-face as you tackle the one-mile climb to the Dragon on a 30% incline. Next stop: Fern Canyon Overlook across roller coaster topography. Twice cancelled due to inclement weather, Fern Canyon is now in the books. Been there, done that.
|The Crack Step|
|Descent onto the Sandstone Bench|
|Climbing the Famous Crack|
It’s an old mountaineering adage: Getting up is optional; getting down is not. On the descent route, Jerry & Cheryl took a slightly different tack, actually crossing over the arch via a somewhat tricky section. And then the steep sandstone comes back into play. It always looks more daunting going down. Once again, most stayed in the crack, but either way it’s no bargain. Both are precarious. Nice and easy does it.
With the technical portion behind you, there still remains a tough, undulating, one-thousand foot ascent back to the Dragon. No piece of cake here. Lots of goo, shot blocks and electrolytes to negotiate the taxing climb. And then…1500 vertical feet below you is a barely discernible glint of metal. That would be our three vehicles. Onward.
|Mike hikes over to Cross the Bridge on Descent|
That was Mike's take on the hike. And, below, we get a different take from Jerry! Jerry was the coordinator and things look a bit more logistical behind the clip board!
|Tricky Step Down on Bridge|
|Crossing the Bridge on Bridge Mountain|
|Another Steep Exposed Crack|
We started hiking about 8:30 up to Dragon Rock by 9:30; that’s 1,700 ft of elevation gain in 1.3 miles! Once we reached Dragon Rock we started the beautiful traverse to Fern Canyon Overlook.
There were five newbies in the group that had never done the hike so they got the treatment as we approached the crack. That is, we pointed at it and said “We’re going up that”. The usual response is “No way!”.
We reached the summit at around noon and had our snack break. The temperature was just about right. Not too hot and not too cold with an intermittent mild breeze.
We made our way back with seven hikers in a fast group and a slower group wanting to take it all in as the traverse has some beautiful scenery. The slow group reached the vehicles about 3pm. We started back down Rocky Gap and had almost reached Willow Springs when we had to stop and move a large boulder that somebody had moved into the center of the road. It was a beautiful day and a great group. Everyone cheered when we got back to the cars. ~ Jerry
6.7 miles; 3460 feet elevation gain; 6.5 hours; average moving speed 1 mph
|Climbing back around to Dragon Rock|
|Last Close-Up of Bridge Mountain and Bridge (Tiny Hole in Upper Right Quadrant)|
|Car Fun on Rocky Gap Road|