|View to Pahrump, NV from Rock Peak above Split Rock|
|Split Rock on Wallace Canyon Point|
|Beautiful Morning on the Upper Bristlecone Trail|
|Starting up Wallace Canyon Trail|
Still down to three hikers, this AtBF pod did an adventurous hike to the end of Wallace Canyon where there is a rocky outcrop ridge and a view of Pahrump, Nevada in the distance. This hike has one, two, three game trails that lead from the Wallace Canyon Saddle along a traverse on the left (south) side of the canyon. This canyon is famous for the downed small aircraft that landed here in 1978 almost in one piece during a snow squall. One person died in this unplanned landing and a makeshift memorial is located here now. The memorial is made up of tiny pieces of the plane that were left here when the plane was taken away. If you find any small pieces of the plane when you are visiting, just place the pieces inside the ring of rocks nearby. For a look at what the plane looked like at this location before the wilderness folks cleaned it up, go to: http://aroundthebendfriends2.blogspot.com/2013/08/wallace-canyon-plane-crash-loop-8413.html
|Approaching Wallace Saddle|
Two of the three of today's group had done this hike previously but, now, only had the track to follow.
|South Sister from Wallace Saddle|
We used the track often to make sure we were not to high or too low on the traverse.
|Wallace Canyon Trail|
We began at the Upper Bristlecone Trailhead and followed the trail up for about a mile to the No Name Trail junction. It was a beautiful morning on this side of the ridge as seen in the third photo of this entry. Not even a quarter mile up the No Name Trail, there is a trail that forks up to the left. This is the Wallace Canyon Trail. As we stood for a moment, a man walked by with a chihuahua named Squirrel! How cute is that?! We started confidently up the trail but somewhere after half way to the upper traverse, we lost the trail and got going on another use trail. No worries! We could see the saddle and forged on. This is a beautiful saddle that opens out to Wallace Canyon with a large rock outcropping on the right side jutting out into the canyon. A trail-less route over to the No Name Saddle can be made from this point. And, some more vigorous hikers might find the climb up to the Pahrump Overlook Peak ridge to be exciting. That ridge is to the right (north) of the saddle.
|Plane Crash Memorial|
We took in the view then headed down the other side of the saddle looking for the trail that turns off to the left. This trail takes the hiker across the bowl of the canyon.
|Starting Across and Up Wallace Canyon Traverse|
This is a pretty good trail that can be followed almost all the way to the old plane crash site. Note: almost
! Don't turn high and you will walk into the memorial among a nice woodsy glade.
|Pine Cone Gully - One Gully of Many!|
|Following a Game Trail up to Rock Peak|
We walked around the large glade that is located directly across from the large rock outcropping on the north side of the canyon. The place where the airplane had come to rest is no longer apparent. Eventually, we gave up the search and re-found the trail that we had come in on. Here's where the trail goes in and out of focus. The main course of action is a traverse on the horseshoe shaped canyon side. However, there is a lot of brush. Therefore, it behooves the hiker to try and find the trails that wildlife and other hikers have left behind. There is a lower trail, a medium level trail and a higher trail. These paths are difficult to follow unless you are more familiar with the route. I recognized a few landmarks from my previous hike with Lettie and patched the remaining part of the hike together with the help of my GPS. One particular landmark that was very helpful is a wide flat wash. The desired trail crosses this flat wash near the bottom of the flat area.
|Arriving on Outcrop Ridge|
We continued following the trail as best we could and ended up on the high trail. We had kept climbing trying to get out of the ground cover junipers to continue our traverse.
|Rock Peak on Outcrop Ridge|
After that, it wasn't long before we looked up to our left and saw a large rock. This is the top end of the rocky Outcrop Ridge.
|Hiking down to Split Rock next to Outcrop Ridge|
The next large rock offered a nice little peak to climb and take in the view. Being familiar with the terrain, we knew we had to continue down the Outcrop Ridge to get to the Split Rock formation where the hike is supposed to end. The next opening of rock turned out to be the place! It is basically the "point" of Wallace Canyon. Here, there is a great view of Pahrump on one side and Wallace Saddle on the other. Looking back from where we hiked, you can see the "horseshoe" shape of the traverse. ... And, the many washes that we had to cross. We sat here for our break and enjoyed the breezy weather. The southwest wind had been blowing up through the canyon from the time we started the traverse.
|Pahrump View from Split Rock|
Our plan now was to find the medium level "trail" that we thought we had missed on the way out.
|Wallace Saddle from Split Rock - Mike climbing Split Rock|
So, we started down and out the trail that is clear for a few yards from the Split Rock.
|Wallace Saddle in Distance|
|Split Rock to Pahrump Overlook Peak|
Yep. After a few yards, we were back to deciphering the out-of-focus trail and ended up retracing our steps from the hike out. Well, at least things looked familiar! We crossed the wide landmark wash and found the trail on the other side. On the way out, we had not come in this way because it is the high route that leads above the plane crash site. Still, the trail jumped from here to there and from there to here! Sure would be nice to have a good trail for this hike! The views are beautiful! Anyway, eventually, we crossed the last gully wash and began circling around the bowl of the canyon. I think it is best to go down to the clear trail that you use on the way out. And, that's what we did.
|Recognizable Wide Wash on way Back|
Climbing back up to the saddle, we found relief that this was the last uphill of the hike.
|Approaching Wallace Saddle on way Back|
On the saddle again, we noticed that the Split Rock can be seen from here. See photo below.
|Split Rock can be seen from Wallace Saddle|
|Mummy Mountain view from Wallace Canyon Trail|
We followed the real trail back from the saddle to No Name Trail junction. (It's very clear the other way around!) Then, we turned right onto No Name and junctioned with the Upper Bristlecone Trail. At this same time, we met up with another AtBF club member, Liz and her friend. While we were talking, Janet L. came down the trail, too. It is always so nice to see friends out on the trails where everyone is keeping their social distance and staying healthy. If you aren't hiking during this down time, email a friend. Drive to a trailhead and start hiking! As an AtBF club member, you should know the rules of the wilderness. Bring plenty of water and, at least, your phone. Do not go off trail and keep your eyes open for landmarks. It matters not, if you have a particular destination in mind. Just hike! (Nature is a necessity.) If you have no sense of direction, forget what I just said!
5.5 miles; 1650' gain; 4.25 hours
|Back on No Name Trail|
|Approaching Bristlecone Trail Junction|
|Meeting up with AtBF Club Member and Treasurer Liz|