Monday, April 9, 2012

Two Great Hikes This Weekend.

It's rare that I get a chance to do two hikes in one weekend. The reason is that usually I want to make sure I'm home with Penny on at least one of the weekend days, her only days off. Well as luck would have it, Penny decided she was up for a hike and decided to join me on Sunday.
But first - Saturday. It was one of the rare chances I get to hike with all three of my regular hiking buddies. Usually at least one of us is working over the weekend or has other plans so it was great that all four of us were able to coordinate a weekend hike out at Red Rock out to La Madre Springs.
The morning started out very cool, almost verging on cold, with a slight breeze in the air. We were in the park and at our trail-head just shortly after sunrise and fortunate enough to witness one of those fantastic Red Rock sunrises.
Red Rock - La Madre Springs Red Rock - La Madre Springs

Eventually the sun came up and the breeze stopped and it warmed up to a comfortable temperature. It really turned into a perfect day for a hike with friends.
Here the sun is just starting to hit the needles on this cactus.
Red Rock - La Madre Springs

 And Steve is out grabbing a close up of something I'm sure he'll turn into another masterpiece.
Red Rock - La Madre Springs

The Four Musketeers!
Red Rock - La Madre Springs

Steve's gotta give Fred driving advice....
Red Rock - La Madre Springs

The following morning, Sunday, Easter Sunday to be more exact, Penny and I decided to hit the Railroad Pass Trail out by Lake Meade. This is a great, easy hike I highly recommend but just make sure you do it at the right time of year. Much later then now and it will be too darn hot. Penny and I got a very early start and in fact were the second car in the parking lot when we started. Penny and I did this same hike Easter weekend 2010 and they have made several improvements to the trail since then. They put up the occasional trail side sign with lots of information about the trail history and tunnels.
Railroad Pass Trail
This would have been a great shot if it were not for the ever-present powerlines.
Railroad Pass Trail
There's my woman reading about the Big Horns. Maybe we'll get lucky and see some????
Railroad Pass Trail
Here's a couple shots I took that are single images I simple cropped down into pano format mainly to get rid of power lines in the foreground.
Railroad Pass Trail
Railroad Pass Trail
As I mentioned, the signs along the route give a bit of a history lesson. If you have kids I would highly recommend this hike if only for the education. But the exercise sure is nice too!
Railroad Pass Trail
Penny, my Twitter addicted wife, had to tweet a picure after passing the first tunnel.
Railroad Pass Trail
A tunnel on the other side of a tunnel.
Railroad Pass Trail
Yeah, watch out for the bats in the tunnels...
Railroad Pass Trail
A different view of the lake and Fortification Hill, the large flat topped "plateau"in the background.
It only looks like a plateau from here, it's not really.
Railroad Pass Trail
Eventually we made it through all five tunnels and happened upon three Big Horn sheep just up a hill along our path. In this first shot you really have to look hard to spot it right in the center.
Railroad Pass Trail
And here's one of them silhouetted along the top of the ridge.
Railroad Pass Trail
Mama and her baby can be seen in this shot.
Railroad Pass Trail
A clean shot of all three.
Railroad Pass Trail
After this we had the option of continuing along the path and ending up at the dam as we did two years ago or taking a slight detour and walking out onto the new dam bridge. We decided to go out on the bridge. We did the dam last time and Penny had not been on the bridge walkway yet so it seemed the logical choice.
Railroad Pass Trail
Railroad Pass Trail
Railroad Pass Trail
After the bridge walk we headed back to the car and back home. 7.5 miles round trip including the detour to the bridge.
Counting the 7.5 miles I put in on Saturday on the La Madre Springs hike I put in 15 miles this weekend. Not a bad bit of exercise!