Desert hiking

Amargosa Trail | McCullough Hills Trail | Canyon Point | Boulder City ride

In addition to the horse/mule trip with Joe Herbst, I spent several more days hiking in the desert. I’ve quite enjoyed being out. For the last few years my trips to Las Vegas have been short, down and back, mostly to see family and a few friends, and I’ve not taken the time to go hiking, but now that I am, I remember how much I love hiking in the area around Las Vegas, what a special treat it is. My sister lives only two blocks from Sloan Canyon NCA, so much of my hiking is there. This week I did the following trips:

small wash on Amargosa Trail
small wash on Amargosa Trail

Amargosa Trail: This trail heads north and then west from my sister’s house, following under the Amargosa intertie high-tension power line, for which is it named. Part of it is semi-natural, and part of it just suburban, but it is a nice path and easily accessible. I followed it as far at Reunion Trails Park, but, with gaps, it continues further west. Photos on Flickr. The photos with flowers are from from hikes in other years. There are very, very few flowers out at this time in this year. Trail on

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brittle brush
brittle brush

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.