In the middle of July I completed my circuit of the Tahoe Rim Trail, going from Big Meadow trailhead to Tahoe City along the west side of Lake Tahoe. My earlier trip had been from Tahoe City to Big Meadow trailhead on the east side of Lake Tahoe. This brings the number of complete trips to seven, I think, though I’ve never kept a very accurate count. I’ve decided that in the future, I’ll only count completions if I do them in a single year, so I only have to keep track of that year and not segments completed in other years. At that rate, I’ll never catch up with Ellen who leads a through hike every year. Oh well.
I spent the weekend in Henderson to see family for Easter, and while there got in a couple of walks. My sister lives only two blocks and a gate from the desert, specifically Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area. One day I did a short loop out through the desert, and noticed some new trails along old routes of mine. The second day I took a much longer hike, following the new McCullough Hills Trails south and over the saddle of the range, then took the canyon that goes out to Horizon Ridge Pkwy, and back to the house, probably about 17 miles, in 5-1/2 hours. This is a walk that I’ve done several times, a loop around the northern edge of the McCullough Range. It always turns out a bit longer than I remember, but is a great hike, especially the views south along the east side of the range, and then the seldom seen canyon that runs out to the west. Yes, I’m out of shape, probably haven’t done anything over 10 miles of walking since the fall.
This is not a carpet-of-flowers year, but there are certainly flowers out, a decent variety and large numbers of some. The three most common were brittle brush (Encelia farinosa), notch-leaf phacelia (Phacelia crenulata), and sun drop (Camissonia brevipes). I saw a horned lizard (Phrynosoma) and heard but did not see coyotes. The weather was perfect for walking.
Though I certainly don’t miss Las Vegas/Henderson, I do miss my family and friends there, and the desert, and the spring. So it is nice to be there from time to time, particularly at this time of year.
Photos on Picasa Web Albums.
On Tuesday, December 28, Howard Booth took me on a hike to a place he has named Owl Canyon. It is off the Lakeshore Rd in Lake Mead National Recreation Area, on the north end of the River Mountains. We parked at one of the lake views just before Vegas Wash, dropped down and across one wash, and took the next one north. It gradually narrows up into a conglomerate slot canyon, heading west into the River Mountains. It passes through culverts deep beneath the new highway and then the old highway, and then gradually opens out again into a broad wash heading into the mountains. We walked to a point just past a major cliff, at which point the wash opens out again. It is surprising how far the wash goes into the mountains. We walked about 4 miles and we did not reach the crest.
The wash bottom in the narrows has been quite scoured by the recent rains, and all along the length of the wash there are signs of erosion and deposition.
There are some flowers out already: rayless encelia (?), encelia (?), Indian tobacco, ground cherry, and burro brush (just one). I’m rusty on my flowers, so take these IDs with a grain of salt. The wash bottom is quite green with grass and herbs, so it would seem to suggest a good to great flower year.
It is always a pleasure to be out with Howard, talking about old times and flowers and geology and politics. Our previous hike was in April, on the other side of the River Mountains near Boulder City.