Thursday, March 19, 2009

Snow Canyon Slots


Disclaimer: Excuse the poor quality pictures. My Rebel XTI was on a setting it should not have been!

To officially kick off our spring break, Even, Gregg Lindsay(well Lindsay sold out) and myself (also Evans wife Janessa and my brother Trevor) decided to do some hiking this week. Evan, acting as our guide, drove to the trailhead. We started the hike at about 9:00 AM. The hike began with a brisk walk across the high desert(near the Ledges Golf Course). We quickly saw signs of development and unfortunately I did not see any survey stakes to pull up (I dont actually do this for it is a crime but the thought of doing pulling them up is a good one!!!). Soon we left the desert and entered a maze of slickrock. As we dropped down into the slickrock Evan pointed out a mini slot canyon. We entered the canyon and at first I wasnt very impressed. It wasnt extremly narrow, nor did it have high cliffs, perhaps only 15 feet to the top. As we hiked further in, me leading, Janessa pointed out some faded petroglyphs that I missed. This was interesting! The petroglyphs appeared to be very old and it was cool that they were in a narrow slot.

We soon left the slot and began to hike across the slickrock. The weathering of the slickrock was very scenic and we often paused in awe at what mother nature had accomplished over thousands of years.

After around 2 miles of easy scrambling we arrived at the end of the trail. Below us was a 500ft or so drop off straight into Snow Canyon State Park. This was the climatic moment of the hike. For several minutes there was not much talking as all the intrepid hikers sat pondering what we saw in front of us. It was a very good, semi spiritual moment.

On the hike back we continued to enjoy the slickrock formations and even had another surprise, another panel of petroglyphs in another slot. This time we had some initial difficulty finding the canyon and also finding an easy way to drop into it, but our perserverance paid off as Janessa found a simple scramble under a ledge of slickrock. This second panel was more well known and sadly more desecrated. People had outlined and colored in the petroglyphs with chalk. While it does make them easier to see know, the long term damage of such is not worth the temporary visual aide.

All and all this was a fun, easy hike with scenic beauty and archeological value!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Valley of Fire

Disclaimer: Sorry about the photo quality, I was messing with my settings on my camera a couple weeks ago and never reset them!

When I was a young buck my scout troop went camping at a place called Valley of Fire State Park (VOFSP) in Nevada. This was one of my favorite camping trips of all time. We played night games and during the day played the best game of steal the flag in history. While I had an enjoyable time as a teen, I did not enjoy the park for the same reasons as I do as an adult. VOFSP is an oddity. As you drive in the middle of the Mojave Desert one must wonder what amazing geological thing can exist out here, but quickly the rather bland desert turns into a whimsical red/white/yellow slickrock playground. Often the colors change dramatically from red to white, or sometimes the change is more gradual with a mixture of colors. Perhaps the most unique thing about VOFSP is not the colors, but rather the shapes of the rocks. The weathering of the sandstone is amazing leaving holes, caves, arches, and eery looking faces in perhaps a greater concentration than any other place I have ever visited. Anyone with an imagination will enjoy spotting rocks that "look like..."
Danica, Kylee, and Rachel making a funny face under arch rock.
Danica was the most timid of the Reeses children when it came to exploring and climbing the slickrock. So I was shocked when she wanted to go exploring with me. The picture below was an odd thing found. It was a small cavern with lots of openings and natural bridges or... something

Marie holding Emma (above)

Cory taking a typical Cory shot! At least this time he wasnt lying down in the middle of the road. Fortunetely he has not yet been struck by a speeding car.

One of the most impressive vistas was the Fire Canyon Overlook. It was amazing how the red and white color change was so abrupt.

Marjory Kay really wanted to go on a hike so we hike the White Dome loop. This was a fun/easy trail that had a little bit of fun for everyone. There was scrambling, slot canyons and arches to explore and photograph all in a 1 1/2 mile hike.

One of my favorite parts of VOFSP is rock art record left by ancient inhabitants. Even in such a desolate, out of the way place, ancient civilizations found the place to be sacred as proven by the record of petroglyphs. The first picture is of the famous atlatl rock. I have a better pic of the atlatl that I will find later, but if you look at the very top you can barely see the atlatl.

Perhaps the most fun hike that the Reese children did was the hike to Mouses Tank. Mouse was a renegade Paiute who plagued the early settlers. He would hide in this canyon when the early white settlers searched for him. The reason the kids liked the canyon so much was the amount of lizards they found and unsuccessfully attempted to catch. I think Jackson counted over 20. I enjoyed the hike because in half a mile hundreds of rock art was easily found. My favorite one was a panel that included a desert tortoise.

Even pregnant, Renee is still HOT!!

A petroglyph of a desert tortoise (below, middle of picture)