Tag Archives: trail

First Creek Canyon Trail

RED ROCK NATIONAL CONSERVANCY AREA

Activity: Day Hike

Distance: >4 miles, 377’ elevation change, 2 hour duration, rated Moderate

Date: 12-27-20

This area is stunningly beautiful even from Red Rock Canyon Road the 159, but venturing on First Creek Canyon Trail gives you the time to really balance the scales between a busy life filled with all the noise of existing in this modern world to the peace and tranquillity that nature on a scale as grand as Red Rock Canyon can. Red Rock to me is almost spiritual. The multi colored rock face of these mountains jut up out of the desert like a cathedral of stone. As you approach for a better view you certainly get the impression that church is in session, ‘Pursing Balance Through Adventure’.

This hike has a dirt parking area off to the side on Red Rock Canyon Road and not far from the entrance to Red Rock. Most of the hike is easy and fairly flat, the trail is gravel and hard pack dirt going across the desert toward the mountains. As you approach the foothills it kicks into the moderate portion of this hike. The trail has some soft sand sections, but is mostly rocky with just the smallest amount of scrambling. 3/4 of the way toward the mountains is where there is a creek to the side of the trail. In December, which is not the rainy season, there were some pools of water, but mostly the creek and the waterfall were dry. The last portions of the First Creek Canyon Trail becomes more difficult to follow as is it rocky and hikers at this point seem to be doing their own thing and there are little trails and paths all over.

Hiking past this point jumps to HARD, with what looks like a lot of scrambling and the canyon becomes tighter and higher. This is a rock climbers haven and I saw two different partner climbers on what looks like a difficult face. If you were to continue hiking up the canyon it would finally lead to the peak of Mt. Wilson. This sounds intriguing to me, but I had only planned for the First Creek Canyon Trail. Another time perhaps…

“I like this place and could willingly waste my time in it” -William Shakespeare 

Thanks for following me into this amazing canyon which epitomizes what this blog is all about ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure‘. You can’t come out of a place like this and not be awe struck, and feel that it hasn’t given you a bit of a reset. For more awe please COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW and SHARE. You can find more fun experiences in nature by going to the Menu above showing the different locations that PBTA travels to. Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be followed independently. Did you not get what you wanted for Christmas? Like my hat? I have them for sale along with other top quality adventure gear at SHOP APPAREL.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

La Madre Cabin Trail

RED ROCK CANYON NATIONAL CONSERVANCY

Activity: Day Hike, Spelunking (sorta…)

Distance 5.2 miles, 1597’ elevation change, duration 5 hours, rated Hard

Date: November 19, 2019

This hike has so many wonderful facets to it. I loved this hike and highly recommend it.

First of all to me Red Rock Canyon is a must do for anyone going to Vegas. There are more than bright lights, and slot machines to Las Vegas and if you have never at least driven the Red Rock Loop then you are really missing out. Once you have enjoyed that thrilling scenery than the next steps are to get out and do some hiking, work up to exploring, and finally add a peak or two. To me Red Rock is almost spiritual, that is how profound of an experience it is.

The landscape changes through out the hike, from the rugged, wild and harsh beauty of the Red Rock and it’s unforgiving terrain, to a place with brush, vegetation and even some Juniper and Pine trees.

La Madre Springs is a hike all in itself and most people on this trail only know about that. The spring adds vegetation and is what makes this part of Red Rock different and so interesting, a “treasured island in a sea of desert“. During the hike you will cross the stream a few times and there are places where there are even reeds, something that you don’t see everyday in a desert environment. There are wonderful vistas through out the adventure opening up to views of the surrounding hills and mountains. This really is a stupendous hike.

The trail starts out big broad double track road which gets rougher as you go, and finally switches to trail. It is well maintained and well traveled up to the La Madre Springs and then becomes a little more difficult to follow on the way up to a little water fall. Past the water fall your travels will take you through ever increasingly steep and overgrown trail that is not always easy to follow, but certainly worth the effort as you will get to checkout something very special, that being an Old Miner’s Cabin and if you seek further adventure than up the steep hill from there is an old abandon mine and even more wondrous vistas that the additional height avails to you.

The rustic ruins of the Old Miner’s Cabin will spur thoughts of a life of solitude, a simpler time, certainly back breaking work, but with the romance of possibility… the chance of gold and silver in them thar hills, and thus the opportunity for untold fortune and incredible wealth. An existence in this place would be filled with hardship of the elements- blistering, unrelenting heat in the Summer, and snow and ice during a portion of the winter. In fact the area got snow the night after my hike. As legend goes this cabin was used not only by prospectors, but cowboys and even outlaws.

There are a few different faint trails heading up above the cabin. I was able to find the abandon old mine, and there was a yellow flag marking the spot. It’s not that the flag is easy to see from any distance, but once you do then you know that you have discovered the opening to the mine. I suggest that you have a head lamp if you care to break the rules, that are clearly marked Do Not Enter, and explore this unsafe, dangerous place. If you do throw caution to the wind then you will work your way into a dark, dank mine. Most of the tunnel is wide open, but another portion you will need to get down on all fours and even drag yourself through a tight spot. The mine is not huge, but it is interesting. Take heed in the entire area surrounding the mine as I also discovered a vertical mine shaft that you certainly would not want to stumble into. To explore the vertical shaft you would need climbing gear and you certainly would not want to do that alone.

Old Miner’s Cabin
Entrance to Old Miner’s Cabin.
”Only by much searching and mining, are gold and diamonds obtained, and man can find every truth connected with his being, if he will dig deep into the mine of his soul.” – James Allen

Exercise, fresh air, expansive vistas, changing landscape, beauty and intrigue, an old cabin, a small waterfall, a spring forming a little oasis in the desert, a spooky old mine what better way to be “Pursuing Balance Through Adventure“? Thanks for coming along. Be sure to LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW, and SHARE. Checkout the menu above for the many different areas that PBTA ventures to. Each website is not only a separate area in the West, but a individual site and thus each needs to be Followed independently. You will also want to review the fine PBTA adventure wear, which is a great way to help support these sites at SHOP APPAREL.

Griffith Peak

SPRING MOUNTAIN NATIONAL RECREATION AREA

Activity: Day Hike, Peak Bagging

Date: November 14, 2019

Altitude: 11,066 Feet, distance: 8.7 miles, 3,451 foot elevation change, 7 hours duration, rated: Hard

The hike to the summit of Griffith Peak is a workout right out of the box. There is plenty to look at along the trail: jagged ominous rock cliffs, dramatic views of forest, the surrounding lofty ridge line provides a striking backdrop, there is a cave to wonder about, left over ice which was surprising to me at this time of year, and the sound of rushing water in the distance as it makes it’s way down the canyon, and on the rather sparse summit were gnarled trees standing in defiance against the rugged climate.

Griffith Peak is about an hour from Las Vegas, but there is a world of difference as far as climate and ecosystem. It is about as different as an island is in the ocean. Think of it as an island smack dab in the middle of the desert, it can be referred to as a “Sky Island”. Griffith Peak is near Mount Charleston, which is the mountain that you see from Las Vegas with the snow on it most of the year. This diversity is one thing that makes the Las Vegas Area such a great place for outdoor activities such as hiking, climbing, mountain biking and backcountry camping. Much of the year you have great outdoor activities at Red Rock, Lake Meade, Valley of Fire and other fantastic spots and when the weather turns to scorching then head for the mountains of the Mount Charleston area.

The day before my Peak Bagging Buddy, Keith Christensen, and I climbed Arrow Canyon Range High Point. This was day two of a three day Peak Bagging Adventure, and it was a very different type of hike. This one was much higher, with more distance, and at the top- down right chilly especially compared with the desert down below, which was pretty warm even in mid November. I will say that this hike had nice trails with switch backs, and beautiful scenery. It was not the trail blazing with loose rock underfoot like we experienced the day before, so it didn’t seem as difficult in comparison. However, there was no getting around that it was a long ways and a lot of altitude. The time went quickly as we talked a mile a minute all the way up and all the way down. Well, except when my mountaineer friend, fearless as he is, would stand right on an exposed cliff with a long drop and gaze out over the landscape with his toes practically hanging over the edge. “I am not going to have a conversation with you until you step back from the ledge.”

One rather peculiar thing I will mention was although I could certainly feel the altitude it did not bother me as much as when I climbed Mount San Jacinto. When we spoke about this on the summit Keith surprised me by enlightening me that Griffith Peak, the third highest peak in Southern Nevada, is a little higher, (and thus became the highest peak I have climbed). I am not sure why I did not feel the altitude as much. Could it be because we had summited another peak the day before and thus I was becoming climatized or maybe it was just the good company and the constant jabbering had taken my mind off of any struggle?

Closing in on the summit.
“There is something almost primal about standing atop a tall mountain, as if you have satisfied some deep and ancient part of human nature which drives us to explore our world and to reach new heights.” -Wash

Another day, another peak, you just gotta luv it! Thanks for joining my Peak Bagging Buddy Keith Christensen and I as we were “Pursuing Balance Through Adventure“ on Griffith Peak. We have yet another peak to take on- all part of our Peak Bagging 3 Day Adventure as we restore some balance in our lives, just what PBTA is all about. Don’t miss the next exciting episode, and you won’t if you just FOLLOW, LIKE, COMMENT, and SHARE. Got Gear? See SHOP APPAREL . Want other places to explore? See the menu above for the many locations PBTA travels to, each is a separate site and thus needs to be followed independently. If these past couple posts have PEAKED your interested checkout the link in the menu above for my PEAK BAGGING accomplishments, and if you really want to be impressed than look on that site for my “Buddies” and click on Keith Christensen.

Happy Trails,

Roger Jenkins, Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Ash Canyon to Calico Tanks trail Loop

Ash Canyon to Calico Tanks Trail Loop
Red Rock Canyon National Conservancy
Las Vegas Area

Activity: Rock Scrambling
Date: April 26, 2019
Distance: 5 Miles, 1,325 elevation change, duration 4 hours, rated moderate. (Unless you run into trouble then you can double or triple that)

Red Rock Canyon is one of my favorite places. It is so stunningly beautiful that to me it is almost spiritual. But, it is not to be taken lightly. It is a place that can be most inhospitable with extreme heat, and dangerous drops.

While I cannot see visiting Vegas without hiking Red Rock, I would not recommend this particular loop trail. Also, I am not sure I would call this hike moderate.

It is more of a scramble than a hike, which is part of the fun, but people need to know that upfront. Also during the scramble up Ash Canyon most of it is just moving through the area with little or no defined path. Once you get past the canyon it seems to be almost cross country again. Because of this I was using my GPS Hiking Map App heavily and it was chewing through my IPhone battery like crazy.

Once connected with the trail heading towards Calico Tanks, that trail was maintained and well traveled. The tanks were very cool.

Making my way past that spot was the issue. Once again no recognize trail, scrambling, and the GPS on my map app was sketchy as was the area. I could not find a safe way down and my cell phone battery was now dying. It left me in a bad situation, and I had to double back and since that was sketchy with no GPS, I had to abandon the route and just head for the Red Rock Scenic Loop which tripled the mileage making it an almost 11 hour trip.

What I would recommend is scrambling up Ash Canyon, going cross country to the Calico Tanks Trail, and from there coming back the same way, which of course is a much longer trip probably about 8 miles.

Be sure to click the link below taking you to the ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure Face Book Page where you will see some really outstanding pics of this adventure, if I do say so myself. Really a stunning area.

Ash Canyon to Calico Tanks Trail Loop ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ Face Book Page Post
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” -J.R.R Tolkien

Thanks for taking this look back at one of my favorite places even if it did not end up exactly as I planned, which made it more of an adventure than I was planning, Red Rock is magnificent. If you liked this post then please COMMENT, FOLLOW, LIKE, and SHARE. Checkout the menu above for ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ is in many different locales, (all which need to be FOLLOWED individually), and you might find some other grand adventures. If you would like to support PBTA then why not checkout the SHOP APPAREL for top quality gear.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins, Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Fossil Ridge

NEAR RED ROCK

LINK FROM SISTER SITE

Fossil Ridge was a wonderful hike that I took over a year ago, but I wanted such a great hike to be listed here and the information to be accessible on ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ Las Vegas Area Hiking.

Please enjoy FOSSIL RIDGE

Life is better in hiking boots.

Happy Trails,

Roger Jenkins, ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’

Echo Trail

Spring Mountains Recreation Area Mount Charleston Wilderness (Near Las Vegas)

Activity: Day Hike

Date: May 13, 2019

Distance: 3 Miles, 500′ elevation change, 2 hour duration, rated Easy.

I cannot really recommend this trail, as in my opinion it needs a trail crew and the Park Service to work on it. It is a nice area and it is fun to be out in nature here, but apparently the trail has changed. At least this map is not correct. If you follow attached map it starts out a nice, big, easy trail, then it appears that it used to go straight, but now has a log across it. So I followed the trail fork to the right, as it shows on the map, which looks like it dead ends. From there the map shows going on up a small trail that is overgrown and is at times nonexistent. It becomes a very steep mountainside, certainly not easy, that should have switchbacks, again making me think this is not really a hiking trail just that someone had gone this way before.

After I started heading down, I saw on the map I was following, someone started on a trail and then turn around. I followed it beyond that point. It led to a sign that mentioned Echo Trail and it seemed to be different altogether, but still a little strange. So as I said, something is off here and needs some work.

I followed part of the Little Falls Trail and that led uphill to a snowy slope and stream. You have to be careful as the slippery, snowy slope is slanted steeply towards the icy stream, and if that wasn’t enough, the ground must be warmer than the snow above, because there were places that you could break through the snow and there is a gap between the snow and the ground.

As I was painstakingly testing the snow, and making a stable foothold, I spied an Asian man and his 10 year old son. They were on the other side of the stream. The man grabbed his son, threw him over his shoulder and started walking through the ice water. He scampered up the bank and requested, in his best English, for me to please assist him. He relayed his son to me over a treacherous spot so that the son would not slide into the stream, nor fall in the snow hole. Afterwards, they both thanked me profusely.

I tried to inquire if the one foot water drops we were looking at was the waterfall or if there was something spectacular around the corner. Because of the language barrier I was unable to ascertain that information, and I wasn’t sure if he knew anyway. Later I discovered, from a person familiar with the area, if I had only walked in the icy stream for a couple hundred yards or so around a bend or two I would have found a nice proper waterfall.

The area is beautiful. But I can’t recommend the trail.

This says 1.4 one way, but after trying different things in this area and also going on the Little Falls Trail, I probably hike 4-5 miles.

Trail Head doesn’t give any info on the trail. That should have been my first sign right there.

But then again, it was a cool woodsy area.

It was great day the temperatures were mild.

Just love wilderness.

Spring Mountains Recreation Area/Mount Charleston Wilderness has dramatic scenery.

Special Place

According to the map from my hiking App I had been on Echo Trail, after taking a side trail and finding this sign I am not so sure. This area need to be reworked.

Rocky crags rise out from green forest.

Whats that saying about a slippery slope?

In one way you needed to stomp a secure foothold, so not to slide down the slope into the icy stream, but then again you could break through into a snow hole.

Beautiful area but the trail and signage needs work.

This has been another exciting addition of ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’. “Like”, “Comment” and “Share”, and get out there and find some balance of your own, be adventurous!