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We drove out to Red Rock Canyon and parked at the Pine Creek Trailhead. We started hiking about 8:30AM. It was sunny and about 25ºF. As we started, we were treated to great views of Rainbow Mountain, Bridge Point, and Mescalito. The moon was setting over Rainbow Mountain as well.
We started hiking towards Mescalito. Once we got to the base of Mescalito we followed Pine Creek along the north side of Mescalito into Fern Canyon. It was about 1.5 miles or so to here. We continued on scrambling around the rocks. There were lots of ponds along the creek that were frozen. We slid rocks onto the ponds and waited to see the ice crack up and the rocks to fall through. We got it down to a science. I got some videos of this as well as some photos. We later found a small cave where a frozen waterfall and many huge ice crystals existed.
We continued on through Fern Canyon eventually reaching a frozen waterfall. Some of us scrambled up above the waterfall and we saw a frozen field of ice just above the waterfall. Here, we took our break and lots of photos. Great views of the sandstone bluffs were at the rear of the canyon.
After enjoying the ice field we descended to the frozen waterfall. It was just after 11AM, and since one of the hikers in our group had to return to town for a 2PM appointment, we then started to head back. Along the way we again played around on some frozen ponds along the creek and got some good videos of the ice breaking, after we slid more rocks onto the ice. We stopped by the cave where the ice crystals were and I took a big icicle, which one of the hikers in the group referred to as my torch. I took the torch all the way back to the vehicle.
As we exited Fern Canyon, the sun was shining fiercely upon us, but it was still only in the low 30's. We saw several people hiking by here and there. One lady passed by and commented on the “popsicle” I had found. We arrived at the trailhead at about 12:30PM. I then said goodbye to the icicle.
This was one of the most fun hikes I have ever been on. The scrambling opportunities throughout Red Rock are amazing. I had no idea before I moved to Las Vegas that there were places like this to enjoy out in the desert!
As the days get shorter and the holidays approach, it is sometimes hard to fit in hikes between the turkey and pumpkin pie. I did manage to squeeze in three very good hikes in the waning days of 2006.
I led LVMC trips up Muddy Peak and Mt. Wilson, and then managed to drag myself up Mescalito the morning after our annual Christmas party! That is when I learned that hiking is an excellent remedy for a hangover.
Our Muddy Mountain trip in November was quite spectacular, and included a fun class 3 ascent for the last several hundred feet. However the toughest part of this hike was probably getting to the trailhead. The 11-mile dirt road to the trailhead was in pretty bad shape in some spots and it took some brave driving by Sacha and I to get past some obstacles. The hike was very scenic and began by hiking up through Hidden Valley and passing a lone red sandstone formation called "the donut". Our strong group of eight all summited and had a fun day
Our Mt. Wilson trip in December was a little windy at times, but still quite pleasant. Our group of four summited this prominent peak just east of Fortification Hill and Hoover Dam (not to be confused with the peak of the same name at Red Rock). Despite taking a slight detour on the descent and temporarily losing one of our comrades, we still got back to the car before dark. It was good moderate hike to a seldom-visited peak.
After a long night of partying and debauchery (well maybe an exaggeration), I attempted to climb Mescalito the night after our LVMC Christmas Party. I must admit that when the alarm clock went off in the morning, I had serious thoughts of flaking out, but fortunately I fought the urge. I went with Mike Shackleford, Doug Kolonia (a former member of LVMC), and two of Doug's friends. I hadn't done Mescalito in many years...but remembered correctly that is deceptively difficult. Mescalito is the sandstone pinnacle that divides Pine Creek into the north and south forks.
Altough the distance and elevation gain is modest, it involves lots of challenging scrambling on the sandstone. The route leads way up into the canyon before turning and heading back towards the peak. You also must climb a sub-peak a quarter mile from the summit before dropping down several hundred feet, and then finding your way to the summit through the maze of sandstone. The view, despite a fairly low elevation, is quite a amazing.
The moral here is that within a short drive from Las Vegas, there are wonderful hikes that are perfect for a short winter day!
CHECK OUT OUR NEW LVMC FLEECE JACKETS, AVAILABLE IN ASSORTED COLORS AND SIZES, ON SALE FOR $40 AT OUR MONTHLY MEETINGS
Free Dog Cage for anyone interested
The cage is in good condition, but is too big for our dog. Dimensions are approximately 2' x 2' x 2.5'. Contact Chris or Kristi Meyer.
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The Las Vegas
Mountaineers hold their monthly meetings at the Sahara West Library,