April 27, 2011

Calico Tank Peak 04.20.2011

Calico Tank Peak. It is located before going into the visitor center entrance of Red Rock Canyon. This is the very first hiking with Meetup that includes some SCRAMBLING AND EXPOSURE that we had never experienced before! On this day, my husband and I also joined the hiking club called "52 Peak Club". It is a club to achieve all 52 peaks in Las Vegas, mainly located around at Red Rock, Lake Mead and Mt. Charleston. There are some very competitive hikers among the group. And I am so excited to get to hike with them. Anyways, this hike was about 4 hours round trip, requires class 3 scrambling.

Starting at the foot of the peak, already the ground is not flat
Gets steeper, good shoes are really important
Within 1/2 hour, we were already on the bare wall of the mountain. The incline is steep that good hiking shoes with solid grip really come in handy. On this particular wall of mountain, we still did not need to use hands much. Our body keeps the balance against the steep footing.

Already good view from mid point to the peak
 Every once in a while, after steep scrambling, we got to the flatter ground and took break. Then off to more scrambling on vertical wall and edge of the mountain....

Just have to hold on to tiny edges where shoe can fit in...

Trying to find every little crevasses...

Nice pic! We look like rock climber without rope! Wow!
 I had this cheap winter gloves I got from Target. It doesn't work for this kind of hiking! My hands were slipping and couldn't get good grip. So I took them off. The bare hands seemed to work better. But I need to invest on hiking gloves. Even some type of gardening gloves can give you good grips, so I was told. So I'm gonna have to check it out in the store one of these days. My husband seemed to be nervous for me. He always thinks I am clumsy. He knows that I can't be clumsy on the edge of the mountain. No mistake allowed. Because of that reason, he looks nervous when we do this kind of hike (the kind with potential danger). I don't blame him. He loves me!

Anyhow, we are almost to the top. Do you see the red rock changes to the white rock at the top? That's the peak!

almost there.....
 Wah Laahh~!! The PEAK! The feeling of accomplishment is greater this time because of the facts that this was a challenging hike for both of us and that we kept up with some experienced hikers! The advantage I have is that I don't weigh much so it was easier to use my upper body strength to life myself up. My disadvantage is that I have shorter legs which can make thing tougher on some parts of the trail, jumping on big gaps and/or taking big steps on the vertical wall.
All in all, with the help of others, We did it!!

from the left, my hub, me, Marisa,Ted, Gary, Skip, Jack, Patrick and Mj!
 This hike gave us more confidence in our skills on hiking experiences!!

April 18, 2011

Liberty Arch Bell 05.19.2010

South of Hoover Dam, there is a nice good distance hiking trail. Liberty Arch Bell. This is almost like monument. Nature force curved the dirtrock and created the shape of Liberty Bell. The trail is well distinguished and following is quite easy. The path is in the middle of flat dry land, all vegetated area with lots of short shrubs everywhere. No shade. Wrong idea to do this hike during the hottest summer. We did it in May and it was already too hot that I got a little dehydrated on the way back.

Total hiking distance is about 3 miles one way. As we moved on, we passed some kind of a carrier that was used from mining time. According to www.birdandhike.com (the site i love), it was used for magnesium mining from World War II era. Interesting! It was as if I time-traveled back to the era :-)

Moving on! Passing nothing but air and desert scenery, we find the Arch from far away!
Can you see? The finger is pointing at it. So there we go! The use-trail is getting thinner and narrower but it's clear enough to follow. Soon we were right below the arch. It is actually really big! 

Group Picture
We took couple of pictures here. Wanted to rest a little but there were no shade to rest and have lunch under. Just flat desert under the full sun. The Liberty Arch Bell is the first of two highlights of this whole hike. This Arch is located two mountain ridges away from Colorado River. After passing the Arch, the hike started to get up-hill. By following the trail up one ridge, go down and up another again, suddenly we were at the overlook of Black Canyon Colorado River! Where we stood was the ridge of 1000 ft drop off.

Black Canyon Colorado River
Woo! Scary!!!
I love his profile :-p
To me, this overlook of the canyon was the #1 highlight of the whole hike. We stayed up here for a while for lunch. I also snacked a little too much junk foods that I was not feeling well on the way back. Not so smart of me to hike in a hot weather with full stomach. Since we didn't expect the day to turn out this hot, we weren't portion-controlling our water! By the time we got back to the car, Oh my god, we were SPENT!  However, it was GREAT HIKE!  We will do it again in a heart beat, but next time, definitely before May :)

April 5, 2011

Angel's Landing at Zion National Park 03.09.2011

Zion National Park in Utah
Here we go. This is the challenging hike we have wanted to complete since 2002. The first time we hiked this one, we were not "hikers" as we are now. We got very scared at the last 1/2 mile to the summit point and turned around. All these years, we've done many hikes and have been polishing our hiking skills. Finally we are back here, DETERMINED to the top of the Angel's Landing!!!

Angel's Landing
Angel's Landing trail is 5 miles, about 4 hours round trip hike. It is NOT a good idea to hike at this time of the year (winter). This is definitely a summer hiking spot. Zion is cooler during the summer time compared to any other neighboring desert climate states. So hiking up to the summit of 5875 feet supposed to be a very refreshing one. Unfortunately, we were here when snow has turned to ICE! and it was BY FAR, the scariest hike we've ever done (both with ice and height).

Hiking path is well maintained and mostly paved. For the first 2 miles, the path is gradual climb with a couple of steep switchbacks, gaining elevation pretty quickly. When we stopped to take a rest and turned around to see where we hiked up to, the view took our breath away.

Once we got to the first flat part, it was actually in between canyon. Walking through it was cool and comfortable with no direct sun. Now this path is taking us back side of the Angel's Landing hill. Ok. Stop. Here is the famous switchback, which is paved, but really steep and narrow.

Notice, the surrounding mountains still sits slightly higher than where we stand. Can you tell? Up the wiggles, we are at the first platform where many people can call it quit, making it their finish line.  It is because after this point on, you will be climbing with chains on narrower ridge for another 1/2 mile till the real summit. 

Huffing and puffing, stopping and being scared, getting ready to chicken out but our ego says to keep moving. After lots of debates in our minds, we kept climbing. I was hesitant to go forward because of unsureness If I could make it back down with slippery ice as our footing. Since there is no platform where I could fell onto, I could be straight down from the cliff if i slip on ice. 

After being scared over and over again, we finally reached the top!! Thinking back of the journey to the summit this time,  we had to praise ourselves how hard we tried without totally giving up!

We were going to have lunch at the summit. But both side of us is just straight down cliff to the bottom. I think I was really nervous that I wanted to go to bathroom all of a sudden, which is 1/2 mile back at the platform. Before descending, we took some pictures and enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment! We did it! The view, as you can see, is SPECTACULAR!

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