Monday, October 3, 2022

Kraft Mountain Loop v Red Springs - 10/3/22

Gateway Canyon

Dropping into Gateway Canyon

Sunrise at the Kraft Mountain Saddle

Hiking onto the Girl Scout Trail
Usually, by October, the weather is cooling off and our club heads back to Red Rock Canyon NCA in lower elevations. This year, the temperatures are remaining warm for a bit longer. Regardless, we are tiring of the mountain hikes for now so we drove out to Calico Basin and dove straight into the warmer temps to stick our toes in the "water" and see just how warm "warm" is. Parking at the Red Springs Picnic Area parking lot, we found one bathroom that had a working door then prepared to hike up by the Calico Hills and connect with the Girl Scout Trail. The sun was just rising and we felt fine in the shady areas. However, the shady areas did not stick around for long and the sun made itself known. It is the desert, ya know.

Passing the Ash Meadow Area

View down from 5 Stop Hill

Dropping down from the other side of the Saddle

Starting down the Candy Cane Chute Shortcut
Following the Girl Scout Trail around by the old abandoned home foundation, we noted that the zen spiral of rocks is gone. We hiked down past the Ash Meadows spring and began our climb up to the base of 5 Stop Hill. Thinking we were in good condition, we charged up the hill ... but it beat our butts! We made it to Kraft Mountain Saddle without too much hesitation but it was still quite a climb. At the top, we rested while we watched the sun come up over Kraft Mountain. Next, we continued down the trail on the other side and took a right turn onto the shortcut Candy Cane Chute Trail. This is a very pretty route. Down the chute and we were in Gateway Canyon gravel wash turning to the right. A heavenly cool breeze flowed up the canyon.

Down the Sandstone Slab

Down the Candy Cane Chute

High Gravel in Gateway Canyon

Calico Rock in Gateway Canyon
Gateway Canyon presents itself differently every year due to summer monsoon action. We found that most of the scramble obstacles were similar to last year even if the gravel levels were either a little higher or a little lower than before. Everything is still very doable and we had lots of fun dropping down through the familiar wash. The only place where the gravel was a lot deeper was the big drop on the left side of the canyon where the right side is a multi-level scramble. (Don't go left!) We took our break in some good shade surrounded by calico colored rocks then finished hiking down to the trail exit. The trail took us around the southern end of Kraft Mountain where there are a lot of places to practice rock climbing skills.

The Big Multi-Level Drop

Ralyn deals with Pickle Rock

Through the Gravel Wash

Five on the Slab
The trail led us back to the Kraft Mountain Trailhead and, from there, we turned to the right and hiked down the road past the gate for a ways. At a large dip where a wash crossed underneath, we turned to the left onto a trail. The trail follows along the wash then continues through the desert and over a hill. Finally, we drop down to the Red Springs Picnic Area parking lot. We enjoyed our warm hike and especially enjoyed Jerry and Cheryl being back from their travels. Just thinking. We might return to the mountains for the next couple of hikes!

5.1 miles; 875' gain; 3 hours

Circling the southern end of Kraft Mountain

Ash Canyon straight Ahead

Following last trail through the Desert

Thursday, September 29, 2022

South Loop de Loop with Extra - 9/29/22

Aspens in Peak Color at the Echo Cliffs

Rock Outcrop at the Ridge Overlook of Rainbow Saddle

Little Falls

On Break at the Ridge Overlook
I didn't take my real camera because I didn't think this hike would have such wonderful views. Boy, was I wrong! Six hikers started up from the Echo Trailhead and connected with the South Loop Trail. At Rainbow Junction, one mile up from the South Loop Trailhead, we turned to the left. At the top of the hill, we turned right and headed up the ridge until we reached a large rock outcrop. Here, we had a great view of Rainbow Saddle. Someday, I really wish a trail will be made from this ridge up to the saddle. Since the Carpenter I Fire in 2013, there has not been a decent way to climb Harris Peak. This route would be great but, right now, there is too much fallen debris in the way. We came back down the ridge and turned right onto the old fire road. Although I have hiked this fire road loop twice since the fire, at this point, it is almost impassable on the top side. We climbed over the hill to connect with the lower side of the loop and finished the circle. After descending the South Loop Trail and continuing over the Echo Trail, we took the Little Falls Trail up to see the running water. We passed this adorable group of three women and nine young kids who were also climbing up to see the waterfall. It was a very enjoyable day.

Stats: 5.5 miles; 1600' gain; 3.5 hours

Harris Peak and Rainbow Saddle from Ridge Overlook

Six on the Trail (add Mike)

Enjoying another Break at Little Falls

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Wallace Canyon Split Rock Double Loop - 9/26/22

View of Mt. Clinton from Top Rock near Split Rock

Wallace Canyon and Pahrump, NV Beyond

Peak Season for Autumn Color

Bob and Mike heading up the Trail
The aspens in Lee Canyon were at peak autumn color as three club members went on a "bushwhacking tour" into Wallace Canyon. Well, not really. But, ... the horse trails leading along the traverse of the southeast ridge of Wallace Canyon were in very bad shape due to deadfall and rain damage. It doesn't appear that hikers have been using this route very often to get to a beautiful view of the Pahrump Valley at a place we call "Split Rock." There are also close views of Mt. Clinton and Mt. Reagan just beyond the rock fin ridge. The Pahrump Overlook Peak and Amargosa Overlook Peak ridge line are on the opposite side of Wallace Canyon and that view dominated most of this entire hike. Regardless of the necessity of bushwhacking at times, we enjoyed trying to follow the off and on trails! Trail cairns would be welcome here, me thinks!

Mummy Mountain from Wallace Trail

Mike and Bob on Wallace Saddle

Looking over the 1978 Plane Crash Memorial where one man Died

Bits and Pieces from the Plane
We began from the Upper Bristlecone Trailhead and hiked up the trail one mile to the No Name Trail junction. After a left turn here, we hiked up another approximately quarter mile to the Wallace Trail junction and forked up to the left. This began a very steep climb with an open view of Mummy Mountain at the gain of the ridge. Next, the trail continued its steep ascent up the ridge mercifully zigzagging at small intervals. Finally, the trail takes a decided turn to the right and traverses over to the Wallace Saddle, a beautiful point to take in views all around. We dove over the other side of the saddle and followed the trail as it turned to the left. This part of the trail is still relatively easy to follow as it leads to the 1978 plane crash site.

One of Several Wash Crossings

Mt. Clinton (Right) and Mt. Reagan (Left)

Kay peers down Wallace Canyon from Top Rock

Mike and Bob on top of Top Rock
Arriving at the site, we observed the memorial that consists of bits and pieces of the airplane. The plane was removed a few years ago but hikers still make the trip to the site to pay respects. For a photo of the plane before it was taken out, go to:
The trail continues diagonally up in the 10 o'clock direction then begins crossing a series of drainages flowing down from Lee Peak. It is difficult to follow the trail at this point but, suffice it to say, there is more than one trail that leads across the traverse. When we lost one trail, we would continue on a slight diagonal up until we found another trail!

Devil's Thumb from Top Rock

Mike on top of Split Rock

View back at Wallace Saddle from Split Rock

Vague Horse Trails lead the Way
Finally, we found ourselves nearing the Top Rock of the rock fin ridge that contains Split Rock. We headed up to the Top Rock and took a few photos. A cairn is built on the Top Rock that rises ~200' higher in elevation than Wallace Saddle. Afterwards, we dropped down beside the rock fin and ended at the Split Rock where we took a break. Here, you see Pahrump from one side of the split and Wallace Saddle from the other side. Ready to go again, we followed the trail that drops down to regain the traverse. For some reason, the trail has always been a lot easier to follow on the return. Upon crossing one of the washes/ravines, it is good to find the upper trail that bypasses the plane crash site.

Crossing at Large Ravine

Deadwood covers the Trail in Several Places

Arriving above Wallace Saddle

Lee Canyon from Horse Trail to No Name Trail
This upper trail will take you back to the ridge above Wallace Saddle that leads to Lee Peak. The route prevents you from having to climb steeply back up to the saddle on the return. We had to search for the upper trail this time but, it was worth it. We gained the Lee Peak ridge and dropped down to the saddle on a trail then continued straight and around to the right. There is a horse trail that we had used several times that takes you on a traverse over to the No Name Trail. Last time we took this trail was before the exceptional monsoon season this summer. Wowie! The trail has been all but obliterated in a few places. We found ourselves side-hilling and searching. However, we were able to "follow" the trail all the way to the No Name.

Horse Trail to No Name Trail

Descending No Name Trail

Autumn Aspens on Upper Bristlecone Trail

Kay hikes through Aspens

We connected with the No Name Trail a few yards down from the No Name Saddle and turned right. Hiking down the trail, we noticed that this trail was also affected by the monsoon season. But, wasn't it great to get a bunch of rain! A right turn onto the Upper Bristlecone Trail came next and that was when we started seeing other hikers. They were all out enjoying the autumn colors. When we were able to see down onto the ski slopes, the aspens appeared as if someone had dropped splashes of yellow paint here and there from above. Ah, nature! Simply lovely! ... And, a fun day!

Stats: 5.5 miles; 1550' gain; 4.5 hours

Aspens on the Upper Bristlecone Trail

Still talking 5.5 miles Later

Nearing Upper Bristlecone Trailhead