Monday, December 28, 2020

South Bowl of Fire - 12/27/20

South Bowl of Fire

Southeastern Corner Overlook in South Bowl of Fire

Typical Wash in South Bowl

Trail Approach to South Bowl
The Saturday after Christmas, I guessed that hikers would be out in force! Two plans were made. If Northshore Road's mile marker 18 parking was already full, we would drive on up to the Northshore Summit parking at mile marker 20. To our delight, there were no cars at 18 during the early hour of 8am. We parked and found the trail near the trash bin heading to the WNW. Only ten years ago, this trail was almost non-existent. Now, it is a fantastic trail that leads to the South Bowl of Fire. The 1 mile trail goes around behind the small ridge that is parallel to the road, across the wide Callville Wash Road and on to the main wash of South Bowl. The red rock of South Bowl is visible early on. To the right of the trail, in the distance, the red cliffs of the North Bowl of Fire can be seen as well.

Entering East Wash of Bowl

When we junctioned with the Main Wash of the South Bowl, we crossed over and up the small hill on the other side next to the green rock. The trail continues parallel to the wash until you turn uphill and hit red rock.

Murphy Peak from East Wash

We were 3.5 strong today as a terrier mix named Odie joined Ralyn, Rita and I for the scramble hike. Odie proved to be a little powerhouse. He hiked with a smile from beginning to end!

Climbing East Wash

Odie, the Wonder Dog
We scrambled off the red rock and into the East Wash of the South Bowl. Much of this wash has coral bedrock that is beautiful to hike. There are two or three dry falls within the wash. These dry falls have fun scrambles to the right and left of center. Since it was a cloudy day, colors were at their best for photography. My camera got a good workout! The East Wash of South Bowl is one of its most attractive sections with several shades of red, white, coral and pink among the views. We scrambled up until the wash opened out to a wide bowl. Here, our route took a turn to the right. This is a climb up past Heart Rock window. About mid-way up the climb, we found a gorgeous view to the right between some walls. See the fourth photo below.

Difficult Scramble in East Wash - No Problem for Odie

At the top of the hill, an advanced canyon scramble is found if you continue straight and bend to the left then right again. I prefer the beautiful views that are found on the trail to the left of the saddle.

Cream Colored "Waterfall"

The trail hangs on the right side of the rock and curves around to the left. With cliffs to your right and rock walls to your left, you make your approach to the southeast corner overlook.

View Back down East Wash from another Difficult Scramble

Turn to Right Up
This overlook (see second photo) has a thin overhang at its apex so it is not recommended to step out onto it. A trail leads down the other side of the overlook then we made a U-turn at the bottom. Our route went between the walls on the right and the fat monolith on the left. This small narrow canyon brings you down to a jumble of rocks that hide a very wide low lying arch. Pass the arch on the right and go out through the gap. A narrow backbone of sandstone will allow you to step your way down to part of the Main Wash thoroughfare. Follow the wash down to the right until you pass a wall of rock that lines another wash heading uphill to the left. Here, we enjoyed a simple class 2 scramble up the easy rocky wash for about a quarter mile.

View from Halfway Up to Saddle

Usually, there is a tall cairn on the left side of the wash where you leave the wash to follow a trail up to Dog Face Rock. To see the "dog," you must go behind it into the walls and look back. Odie was not impressed.

Approach to Overlook on Southeastern Corner

Next, we went back up the hill and crossed the wash that we had come up. Past a rock teepee and up through another break in the red rocks, we saw a large cairn sitting on top of a boulder across the way.

Leaving Overlook on the Other Side

Route to Right of Fat Monolith
We headed toward this cairn by scrambling down a couple of ledges then passed it on the left side. Immediately, we recognized the Elephant Arch. The arch is a famous representation of the South Bowl of Fire. ... And, a great break spot! My GPS showed we had hiked 2.7 miles from the cars. 

The next part has two options. The moderate option is to cross over to the large wash on the left. This track is shown in the maps below. However, today, we decided to take the more challenging option by heading straight down in the eastward direction. Veering to the left, we came into a very interesting and "fun" slot. Within the slot, there are 3 or 4 scrambles.

Odie takes in the View

Two of these "fun" scrambles are shown in the sixth and seventh photos below. The 6th photo shows an almost vertical drop that has a couple of toeholds and handholds. Again, Odie was not impressed. ... But, he made it with three dog mothers encouraging him on!

Canyon Routes to right of another Monolith

The next photo shows the last drop. There is about 3 more feet of empty space below Ralyn's foot! With the help of a push against the left wall, the drop is made. Odie was lifted down. He's such a little guy!

View up Main Wash at Junction

Odie and Dog Face Rock
Just before you exit the slot, there is one more dry fall that few hikers attempt. It is an awkward slight overhang that is just high enough to prevent a smooth drop. There is an easy go around to the right. Next, we headed over to the large wash on the left side. This is the Main Wash from the mountains to the west. Finding a trail alongside the wash, we dropped into it and hiked down toward the Main Wash Junction. Opting not to cross over to the wash slots on the north side of South Bowl yet, we continued down past the arches up on the left. When the wash began to merge with the North Wash, we turned onto a trail that took us over to the largest dry fall slot. If you scramble up and over the obstacle rock on the right side of the slot, you can access the bottom of the rock formation.

South Bowl of Fire

Even though this slot is better viewed from above, we took a look. While we were there, a little bird came swooshing down the dry fall! Seeing us, he swooshed back upward!

The Three and a Half at Elephant Rock

We returned to the Main Wash by way of the North Wash. Finally, we saw the first other hikers of the day. Their dog (a bigger one) was getting a ride on the guy's shoulders! We told Odie not to get any ideas!

Vertical Scramble during Advanced Option Route

Three More Feet Down! (Advanced Option)
After one more scramble down and out of the bowl, we began the slog through the sand back to the trail. Rounding the corner, we saw a very large group of hikers making their way down the slippery hill into the wash. Their slow progress indicated that, perhaps, these were elderly family members. A little later, we saw an even larger group hiking up the wash from several cars parked on Callville Wash Road. Must have been a family Christmas outing. We followed the trail back around the small ridge and up to our cars. There were ten cars parked at mile marker 18! On the way home, there were cars parked at all of the turnouts in this area. Well, ... it is a beautiful area! Fun day! Our timing was perfect!

Stats: 5 miles; 700' gain; 3.5 hours

Exiting to Main Wash Below

Entering Main Wash

Side Adventure to Large Dry Fall Slot

 Track with Advanced Options

Friday, December 25, 2020

Cholla Forest v Seven Falls Canyon - 12/24/20

Cholla Forest with Mt. Wilson (AZ) in Background

Bacon Canyon

The Females

Wow! A really big tire!
'Twas the day before Christmas when all through LV, creatures were stirring to prepare for their feasts. 

The stockings were hung on the chimneys with care, in hopes that St. Nick wouldn't forget that we are here. 

With us in our warmest, we set out to hike, in the hills somewhat west of a huge blue lake light.

Eyes from above, up high on the ridge, watched as we played returning with a smudge.

Could they be the reindeer, all surefooted and sleek? We slogged up the gravel 'fore one came to meet.

At the top of the First Dry Fall

At the first decision, we turned to the right. Climbaway, climbaway, up the falls we used might!

At the top of the Second Dry Fall

We stuck to the rock with treads of a sort, trying our best to not climb and abort. Up we climbed through the rabbit hole on Two, then up we again climbed the number Three wall with poo. ... True.

Negotiating the Third Dry Fall

Seven Falls Canyon
Four, Five and Six, always a mystery to count, we took on the challenges ... nevermind the amount.

We laughed and conversed and enjoyed our endeavor. A rarity to find in this pandemic born social sever.

According to plan in the Seven Falls Canyon, we reached a breezy saddle and dropped.

Trajectory to h-e-double hockey sticks, we crossed the big divide, an errant angle led us to the upper loop canyon side.

Fourth Dry Fall

Enjoying the moment, I led us on. We then faced that big dry fall from the bottom up. Come on!

Sixth Dry Fall

"Where the h-e-double hockey sticks are we?" said the revelers all. "No worries at all, just follow the side walls."

Still Smiling

Seventh Dry Fall
On Mike, on Rita, on Jerry and Cheryl, on Ralyn and Kay down the hill to the bay. When up to our left, we heard not a clatter, but more reindeer eyes on our small hiking matter.

Coming into the forest of chartreuse sticky plants, pom poms of spines lay surrounding our pants.

We sat for a spell, when suddenly magic a-fell. 

Two Christmas elves popped up from the spines. Then another and another and soon there were six.

They spoke constant jokes but went straight to work, magic takes a toll on all hands and foot.

Heading into Loop Canyon

What did they do? Nothing seen, nothing heard. But a feeling of camaraderie came over the group.

Level Up in Loop Canyon

We finished our break and got up to leave, bidding the elves "adieu," we did the ol' pack heave!

Approach to Cholla Forest from Loop Canyon

The Males
Hard work before the break in the gravel upslope, earned us a smooth ride down so there was no mope.

Down the power line road, we sailed like a yacht. Not exactly sunbathing in the cloud cover a lot.

Spying the exit route below the square-pointed knob, we headed straight for it crossing washes and lobs.

A cairn marks the turn and we climbed on up. The bright red rock welcomes clueing in on the mark.

Cholla Forest and Christmas Elves

Straight up the first, then down and up again. A right turn took us to the saddle and trail.

Cholla Forest and more Christmas Elves

A view of the blue and a flat long odd hill, appeared to the east as we followed Bill. (Bill is Rudolf's brother who got sidetracked in the Las Vegas casinos. He never returned to the North Pole with Santa but still comes around Lake Mead to help train others for the Christmas Eve ride.)

The Road to the Left Turn

Climbing after Left Turn
Down the hill to the left, Bacon Canyon exceeded expectations. We dropped on down and began our long exit. Bacon Canyon was filled with fun and excitement. And, many creative cairns whose balance was exceptional.

Someone before us had a creative flair, not to mention an incredible sense of balance in the open air.

Short falls, short falls and a few long falls abound. The Take-It-Easy Fall, the Down-to-the-Right Falls and the Stay-on-the-Left Falls arrive.

The Panther, arches and the Bacon pass by. A wonderful hike. A painting to delight.

Game Trail View

Down past the Bacon. Down past the junction. Down past the tire and construction debris gumption.

Easy-Does-It Dry Fall in Bacon Canyon Descent

Now, Dash away, dash away, dash away into the light! Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night!

Down to the Right Dry Fall

Short Break
After making the mistake in the track direction near Cholla Forest, I decided that I will do this "mistake" again in the future. We were pleasantly pleased with the appearance of both the female group and the male group of bighorns high up on the ridges. The cold day turned out to be just fine ... actually beautiful ... since the wind was a non-issue. A fine day, a fine hike and a wonderful way to spend Christmas Eve on this pandemic year full of, well, yucky stuff. We even sang a few Christmas songs! 

Stats: 6 miles; 1400' gain; 4.25 hours

Bacon Colors

Near bottom of Bacon Canyon

Bottom of Bacon and Seven Falls Canyons Junction