Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Overlook Ridge Loop - 6/28/21

Pahrump Overlook Peak with the Group on the Precipice

Wallace Canyon (L to R = Charleston Pk, Mt. Reagan, Mt. Clinton, Pahrump Overlook Pk)

Old Shelter

Starting out Upper Bristlecone Trail
A Sensational Six hikers parked at the Upper Bristlecone Trailhead at the top of Lee Canyon Road and started a hike that was first put on this blog last year. The hike "Overlook Ridge Loop" is made up of various routes that have been in our hikes for quite some time. Putting together the routes in this way was new and it is a good challenge that gets most of the hard work done in the first 2 miles. We hiked up the trail for 1 mile and turned left onto the No Name Trail. About 0.2 mile further, a trail veers off to the left. This is Wallace Canyon Saddle Trail. We turned and started climbing the steep trail with a couple of stops to breathe. The weather was already getting warm. Finally, we reached the saddle and wonderful cool wind hit us!

Teepee with Sensational Six (on Upper Bristlecone Trail)

Rest Stop on Wallace Saddle Trail

Lee Peak from Wallace Saddle

On Wallace Saddle
We rested here for a couple of minutes while we looked out at Wallace Canyon. We could see the Split Rock and Lee Peak. To the right, we saw the high long steep hill that we would tackle next. So, up we went! Slowly! It was a long hard climb but we stopped whenever we needed to breathe and when we needed to take a photo or two. The views were amazing! The group seemed okay with the slower speed of the day. We followed a trail up to the first false peak, across a long saddle and on up to circle around the rocky outcrop at the top. The high point of the trail at the rocks was 10,000 elevation feet. Here, we continued following the trail down the ridge to the left and went up to enjoy the overlook. This overlook ridge is the namesake of the hike.

Steep Trail up to right of Wallace Saddle

Climbing up to 10,000'

Saddle before High Point (10,000')

Enjoying the Saddle
Across Wallace Canyon, we could see Charleston Peak along with Mt. Reagan and Mt. Clinton. Pahrump is seen in the distance past the end of the canyon. At the end of the ridge that we were on, there is Pahrump Overlook Peak. On the other side of the ridge, there is Clark Canyon and McFarland Peak. The Bonanza Trail runs along the ridge above Clark Canyon across from us. We returned to the double cairn where we had come down from the high peak. The cairns mark where the trail begins that runs steeply down to the No Name Saddle. Carefully, we descended. If you would like a short hike, you could continue down the No Name Trail and return to your car (~4 miles). Since the cool wind seemed to be sticking around, we decided to continue our 6 mile endeavor.

From Overlook Ridge to Wallace Canyon

Enjoying the Overlook Ridge

Steep Trail down to No Name Saddle

No Name Saddle
We hiked out the trail until the small ridge on the right dipped down to gather us up. We left the official trail to pass the dead photo tree and follow along the ridge. There is a vague trail along the ridge but, at one point, I lost the trail and caused an unplanned elevation gain. Just try to stay on the ridge! At the high point of the ridge, there is an old shelter of logs. We hiked past it and continued down the hill to the No Name /Bonanza Trail junction for our break. While we were there, we didn't see anyone hiking through the popular junction. Afterwards, we continued down the long switchbacks to junction with the Bristlecone Trail. Here, we turned to the right and tried to quickly hike out of the sun. Upper Bristlecone Trail is as beautiful as ever!

Large Dead Photo Tree

Wooden Animal

Peering into the Large Shelter

Taking a break at the Bonanza Trail Junction
The trail zigzags along the contours through the limestone and bristlecone trees. The Desert Paintbrush, Firecracker Penstemons, Brushy Phlox and Desert Sage are all blooming among several others. We hiked around and down to the big overlook switchback where there is a wild horse game trail that continues out the ridge at the apex. We followed the trail as it wiggled itself along the top of the ridge. Finally, when the ridge took a large dip, we connected with a trail at the bottom of the dip and hiked around the last peak of this ridge. At the end of the trail, you simply veer right and begin a steep descent down to connect with the Bristlecone Trail again. Except, this time, we all took the trail down the wash and connected with the Upper Bristlecone just below the tiny switchback in this area.

No Hang Gliders!

Beautiful Upper Bristlecone Trail

Chuck, Mike and Larry

Following the Wild Horse Game Trail
We completed the 6 miles hiking among the aspens between the iron fence that was built here to protect the Charleston Blue Butterfly habitat. Cloud cover had aided us in our efforts to finish the hike before it got too hot. Plus, the cool wind kept coming. Nice! This is a fun and challenging hike. A great day!

Stats: 6 miles; 1700' gain; 4 hours

Dip down to the Trail around last Peak (Lee Peak above)

Connecting with the Trail

Back on the Upper Bristlecone Trail

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Little Falls (Easy) - 6/26/21

View out from Little Falls Slot

Little Falls

Climbing the Echo Trail

Sign at Junction
Today, a sublime seven hikers parked at the Echo Trailhead and started up the Echo Trail. This trail can be taken over to the Cathedral Rock Trail but we turned right at the Little Falls junction to climb up to the slot. There was only a trickle of water sliding down the rocks from the cliff above but butterflies, a hummingbird and a wren were all enjoying the benefits. We took our break after the climb and posed for photos. Then we returned the same way we came. Although this is a short hike, the elevation gain is challenging for an easy hiker. The warm day made the short hike even more acceptable. Enjoyable group!

Stats: 2 miles; 450' gain (NOT 800'!); 1.5 hours

Entering the Slot

Sublime Seven at Little Falls (minus 1)

Returning to Trailhead - Cathedral Rock in Background

Monday, June 21, 2021

Griffith Peak via Harris Springs Road - 6/19/21

Harris Spring Trail from Cliffs

Charleston Peak from Rainbow Saddle

Cliffs and Lovell Canyon Beyond

Getting ready at the Trailhead
Ah! The mysterious Harris Springs Road! Mysterious, that is, when you don't own a high clearance vehicle! Its siren song lilted to me every time I passed by the beginning of it on Kyle Canyon Road. Saturday, Jerry and Cheryl offered to take us up there to check out the newly redone Griffith Peak Trail. My last hike on that trail was done in 2013 just before the Carpenter One fire broke out. It was a route that came up from Rainbow, circled around Griffith and returned through Rainbow. This was, at one time, my favorite hike. It was a 10 mile loop that cannot be done anymore due to a couple of factors. One: Rainbow won't allow hikers to hike through anymore. And, two: the fire obliterated the trail we used from Rainbow up to the saddle.

Gentle Start

Following old Harris Springs Road - Griffith Peak in Distance

Hiking through Rabbitbrush

Starting up the Gulch-Go-Around
Recently, "Friends of Nevada Wilderness staff and volunteers completed more than 60 days of trail work and donated thousands of hours in trail time to completely rebuild Griffith Peak Trail." This is written on a sign at the trailhead with a photo of some of the volunteers. As we learned after our hike on Saturday, through GPS, the new trail follows the old trail to the T! One of the reasons that I (and many others) liked this trail so much was the abundance of large bristlecones and shady hiking. I am afraid to say that that is no longer the case. There is only a very narrow swath of green trees remaining on the trail located just above the cliff section. Otherwise, there are only burned out tree sculptures to capture your imagination.

Arriving at Rainbow Saddle

Nifty Nine on Rainbow Saddle

Climbing the Cliffs

Cliff Zigzag
The trail begins by using the very old road track that climbs gradually up 2.6 miles to the Rainbow Saddle. There is one washed out gulch where a trail had to be constructed up and around. This gulch go around becomes an issue on the return part of the hike. We enjoyed reminiscing at Rainbow Saddle then continued toward the cliffs. The dolomite limestone cliffs are a special feature of the hike as the trail uses the ledges for switchbacks up the side. There is only one step up that required use of hands. At the top of the cliff section, we entered a meadow area that is part of the green swath. The view back of Harris Peak was something I had missed! "Oh! That's what it looked like!" Heading into the burned forest, the real work began.

Mummy's Toe from Cliffs

Nicely built Trail

Arriving at the Burnt Forest

Charleston Peak from Clearing
As seen on the elevation graphs below, the climb around the ridge and Griffith Peak was a steady and sometimes steep climb. Jerry and Cheryl had set a fast pace nearing 3 mph and that didn't relent much when we started climbing! During the next mile, we lost three hikers. One continued and reached the bottom of Griffith and the other two turned back. It was a hot day (even at 10,000') and very difficult to keep the necessary pace. Six of the nine hikers forged on with determination. The faster pace was necessary because of the long hike, long drive to the trailhead and the long drive back from the trailhead. And, ... it was hot! Jerry and Cheryl, being excellent hike leaders, were taking all this into consideration. We rounded the last curve where we could see the South Loop ridge and passed the only other hiker we saw on our trail.

Continuous Ascent

Burnt Forest Rest Area


Nearing the final ascent Junction
Joining the final Griffith Peak ascent trail, we hiked up while passing several other hikers coming down. We had climbed this peak only nine days before. On the top, the sensational six took a break and photos. Feeling awesome, we finished our break and started down. Immediately, we met up with one hiker that we lost earlier. She joined up with us and the 5 miles of relentless and speedy downhill began! There are not many photos of the return portion of the hike because I'm afraid I was The Slow One! Jerry and Cheryl were trying their best to get the group out of the heat as fast as possible. ... Me, too! I love this group! It was a difficult descent for all of us so I guess you could say it was a group effort!

Climbing Griffith Peak

View back across South Loop Ridge

Harris Peak from Griffith Peak

Flag on Griffith Peak
We got back to the trailhead and the other two hikers that dropped back were there. A few of us needed extra water that was in the car. (BTW, it was 113 in the city!) I did tell you it was hot, right? We drove back down the road meeting one other car coming up the other way! Luckily, we met him at an opportune time on the one lane dirt road. And, so went my first trip up Harris Springs Road. A hike to remember! ... Did I tell you it was hot?

Stats: 10.7 miles; 2900' gain; 6.75 hours

Sensational Six

Return through the Burnt Forest

Bringing up the Rear