Thursday, April 18, 2019

Liberty Bell Arch - 4/18/19

Four Tough Hikers!

It was 117˚ on the Colorado River today. Only the tough guys (and Tonya) showed up. We locked the gate to White Rock Canyon as we left this morning. Too damn hot. Closed till Thanksgiving.
MOC

The forecast indicated that a high of 91 degrees should be expected in the Liberty Bell Arch area today. But, I bet it felt like 117! Just a reminder: the White Rock Canyon Trailhead is closed from May 15th to October 1st every year. Please be smart and stay out of this area during the hot time of year if you are hiking. Kayaking in to the area is a good suggestion. And, no matter what, always bring lots and lots of water. We're not kidding, folks!

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Spring Blooms at Hoover Dam 2019


Ron and Sandi were out at Hoover Dam yesterday and were very impressed with the flower display! For those of you who have not been able to go out to Lake Mead NRA, here are a couple of Ron's pics.


Monday, April 8, 2019

Gypsum Jump Overlook - 4/7/19

The Gypsum Jump Overlook view to South

Blue Diamond Gypsum Mine - Overlook Top Right in Foreground

Scars from Gypsum Mining in North Blue Diamond Hills

Joshua Tree in rare Full Bloom (Bridge Point Peak)
 According to Google Earth's satellite photos of the western side of the North Blue Diamond Hills, a couple of new trails have cropped up. Today, eleven hikers explored one of those trails. In May of 2017, the satellite photos showed that the trail we hiked today only went to a certain point on the western ridge and without any extension of the trail around the overlook corner. Now, in April 2019, we proved that the trail leads all the way to the "peak" of the ridge then continues down from there as seen in the first photo of this entry. (We are probably a little late to the party because the trail appears that it has been there for a long while!)

Finding small Game Trail Connection from end of Conglomerate Gardens Trail
 We assumed it was a bike trail since the trail zigzags up the hills making the ascent and following descent gentle and gradual. However, today, a Sunday, we did not see any bikers.

Blooming Mojave Yucca, Game Trail and Target "V" in Ridge Beyond
 Researching the route, I saw that the trail was not easily accessible by any known route in the Hills except for the dirt road that is gated at SR 159. One could argue that the hike could begin at that gate but the gate should not be blocked at any time. (See the last map below.)

Target "V" in Ridge from dirt road Crossing

Connecting with a very nice Trail
 Therefore, we started our hike at the Cowboy Trails Trailhead today to make our way across the desert to the "V" in the western ridge where we would pick up the worn trail. The hike would turn out to be a solid moderate hike as an out and back. Through the ranch gate, we took a sharp right and dropped into the wash next to the trailhead. A little further up, the Conglomerate Gardens (Kibbles 'n' Bits) Trail comes out of the wash on the left. Follow this trail shortly until it makes a sharp right turn around a boundary of piled dirt. After the turn, go straight finding a game trail junction that is barely discernible. Then, follow the burro tracks! They know where they are going!

Yucca Bloom in front of Calico Hills
 This game trail drops into the wash. It does cross the wash but turning left into the wash works, too. We learned this coming back. So, just stay in the wash until there is a very small deep cut wash on the right side where we placed a cairn. I hope the cairn stays for a while!

Panorama from First Hill - Trail Continuation from our Junction
This little wash crosses the dirt road and shallowly leads up to the worn trail junction in the ridge "V". Turn right onto this trail and you begin your zigzagging ascent.

Hike Points of Interest

Hiking a Moenkopi Layer of Limestone
 First, the trail zigzags up a small hill, then it crosses over to an intermediate hill with more zigzags. Finally, the trail perches atop the long western ridge of the North Blue Diamond Hills. Along the way, the views are unique and wide of the Calico Hills, the Sandstone Bluffs and the north and east North Blue Diamond Hills. The ascent continued along interesting terrain traveling through a Moenkopi layer of limestone. The cliffs on the east side became steeper and there is a very safe but thrilling view over toward the dirt road and the very old mining scars leftover from back in the day. The higher we got, the more we could see the southern portion of the Sandstone Bluffs and Mt. Potosi.

Climb continues on Neighboring Hill (Rainbow Peak-L, Bridge Point Peak-R)
 It was a mixed moderate crowd today and we all had no problem with the moving pace of 2.1 mph. We moved along taking note of lizards and flowers along the trail.

Easy Stepping Limestone Slab
 We passed the "end" of the trail as indicated on my GPS and saw that the very well maintained trail continued to the peak overlook. We were very happy about that!

Wide Views of Red Rock Canyon NCA

Well-Maintained Trail near Top
 Arriving at the overlook appeared that we had arrived at a bottomless clifftop! When we sidled over to the edge, we saw that the "cliff" would have been easily down climbed into the remains of the Blue Diamond Gypsum Mine but that would be crossing a private property boundary as claimed by the Corner Boundary Marker placed on the cliff rocks. The Red Rock Canyon NCA ended here but still continued down the ridge in the southern direction. I was surprised to see a long trail appearing that led down toward the old Oliver Ranch off of SR 159. (Not seen on the May 2017 satellite photo.) We took our break here on the overlook ruminating on how we can use these trails for the future.

Mt. Potosi and Sandstone Bluffs from our Gypsum Jump Trail
 We enjoyed our stay then started down. I asked the women behind me what I should call the hike on this blog. "Gypsum Overlook" and "Gypsum Jump Off" were two suggestions. I gave it some thought and went with Gypsum Jump Overlook. Maybe the bikers who created the trail would like that!

Taking a Break on the Gypsum Jump Overlook
 Descending the trail, we noticed an old mining claim. Interesting that it is still there. Also, "something" zoomed across in front of me so fast that it was a mere blur. Thinking it might be a kangaroo rat, I followed the blur until it stopped.

Corner Boundary Marker at Gypsum Jump Overlook

Starting our Descent
 Peeking out from behind a rock, we could see that it was a Great Basin Collared Lizard. These are larger than the common Side-blotched Lizards. It was an uncommon sight here at RRCNCA. We continued down the zigzags and dropped off the worn trail into the small wash, crossed the dirt road and continued into the larger wash where we placed a cairn. Finding the game trail out of the wash was not easy and we had to use the GPS but suffice it to say, this wash is the same wash that leads all the way to the trailhead. We always have a lot of fun doing new stuff! Great group today!

6.3 miles; 800 feet elevation gain; 3 hours; average moving speed 2.1 mph

Some of the "Cliffy" Trail Edge

Zigzagging down the Intermediary Hill

The Wash between Trailhead and Gypsum Jump Trail





Trail Relationship to Nearest Routes

Friday, April 5, 2019

Red Rock Canyon NCA Boundary (Full Map)

Entire RRCNCA Boundary (Some Documented Hiking Routes in Red & Green)
 As the city of Las Vegas grows, it is more and more important that we know the important stuff. These are the boundaries of some of our backyard play areas. Protect them!

Red Rock Canyon NCA = Pink
 Other indicated boundaries: Spring Mountains NRA=Green, La Madre Wilderness=Blue, Rainbow Wilderness=Lavender, City Parks=Small Green Outlines
Not indicated: Tule Springs NM and Desert NWR (both to the north of SR 95)

Monday, April 1, 2019

Guy Galante (1934 - 2019)

Always around for a laugh.
 Guy was a favorite hike coordinator of the Around the Bend Friends and member of the club since 1995(?). In 2012, Guy and Rosie got married and moved to Vacaville, California. We will always miss him. Rest in peace, Guy.

Always around for a helping hand.

Always around for a good scramble.

Always around with a needed strap.

Always around for a little adventure.

Always around for a conversation.

Always around for more scrambling.

Always around for an Uncle Vinny joke.

Always around for Pinto Valley Wash.

Always around for a new hike by the "young" girl named Kay.

Always around for talkative transportation!
The Good Ol' Days with Guy and the Gang

And, in the end, always around for Rosie.