Monday, December 21, 2009

Calico Tanks Trail (Red Rock Canyon)

I took way too many pictures, and have probably chosen too many to show you, but hey, on a blog, the reader can always run away screaming ("vacation pictures... acccckkkkkk!") and I won't even know.  I know some of you love landscapes and outdoorsy stuff, so here's an armchair hike for you.

The Calico tanks trail is in the Calico hills at Red Rock Canyon, and it goes up to some natural water tanks (tinajas) that fill up in wetter seasons and then provide drinking water to wildlife.  There wasn't much water in them on this hike, but we're coming into the wet(ter) season, so they might start getting some water in them soon.

At the start of this trail, we pass an old quarry where they mined sandstone for buildings in San Francisco and Los Angeles in the early 1900's:

I liked these boulders at the start of the trail, I don't know if they're deposited by glaciers or how they got there geologically in this neck of the un-woods.

There's a good view of Turtlehead peak from the start of this trail (and a gravel wash that we got lost on right away, see below):

More rock formations.  I love rocks!


Not far from the start of the trail.  We got lost several times on this trail, including here.  In this photo you can (somewhat) obviously see a guidepost (one of the last ones for two miles), but somehow we missed it and headed up a dry gravel wash instead.  We clued in fairly quickly though (this time!)

This is me looking at a roasting pit used by the natives in times gone by, it's the gravel pile to the right:

Starting to head into the canyon:


Before long, look what we come across!  Snow!  There was quite a bit of snow on the trail at the lower part of the canyon.  It had been a rainy week in Las Vegas the week before, just like in Los Angeles.  Here it must have fallen as snow.

OK, I'll just let the landscape do the talking for a while.  These are views both up and down the canyon on our ascent.  The clouds were constantly changing, it had been a little overcast when we started, but we got some blue sky for a while mid-hike.









This is taken inside one of the "tanks" or tinajas that the trail goes to, this one is near the top of the trail.  You can see a thin puddle of water with a reflection in it:


We're at the top!  Wow, what a view! Although the sky got kind of washed out in the pic.


You can see Las Vegas in the distance.


More rocks, at the top of the canyon.  (I'm a rockaholic, it can't be helped.)


On the way down, we got lost several times, which is a little worse on the way down because we're more tired, the day is getting late, and we'd hate to get stuck in the canyon and freeze to death.  Luckily, we heard voices of another party on the way up, and were able to see where they were and notice we were waaaaayyy off the trail.  However, while we were off it we came across this log, with a cool twisty pattern to the wood grain.


We also came across this small fallen piece of mountain which I thought was shaped a bit like an open coffin, not that we ended up needing one:


... and that's it, as the hike down was along the same trail, but the lighting was worse so the pictures up were better.  Stay tuned, more hikes to follow soon...

1 comment:

  1. Great pix! The close-ups of rock formations look very animalistic. The one of you looking at the gravel pile -- lovely perspective into the distance. Beautiful scenery, expert picture-taking! Thanks for sharing them!