October is a delightful month to explore Red Rock Canyon. The air has a touch of coolness in it that makes you feel alive. The peaks seem higher and more grandiose. Although this is prime time for Red Rock Canyon, it’s still warm enough to hike in Mt. Charleston. Make sure to bring and wear layers of clothing if hiking in Mt. Charleston this time of the year. It can be chilly. You have the best of both worlds!
Hiking Tips of the Month
Red Rock Canyon is a remarkable area. It’s a sea of sandstone, canyons, and vertical walls; however, it can all look the same. Few hikers get lost in Red Rock, but many hikers get stuck. They know where they are, but can not find the route back to the trailhead. There are three simple solutions to overcome this problem. First, turn around often to see what the terrain will look like when you descend. As you look, spot key landmarks and commit them to memory. The second solution is to build cairns (small piles of rocks) as you ascend. On the way down you simply look for your cairns. Since you might not be on a standard route, you should knock down the cairns you built as you descend. This way you do not tempt other hikers to follow your cairns. Too many cairns or wrongly placed cairns only add to confusion. GPS units can help you navigate both to your destination and back to the trailhead. You must know how to use them. I have seen too many people who think they know how to use them only to get lost. Take time to really become proficient with a GPS before using them on any hike you have not done before.
If you are into rock scrambling, you need hiking shoes with stealth rubber. The rubber sticks to the rock unbelievably well. It makes ascending steep sandstone a breeze. You can check out hiking shoes with stealth rubber at Desert Rock Sports. They are located at 8221 W. Charleston. Most hikers wear the Five-Ten brand of hiking shoes.
If you don’t have a daypack, you need to get one. Almost all daypacks now come with some type of hydration system. This allows hands-free drinking, which results in drinking more water. The importance of staying hydrated in the desert can not be overstated. Make sure the daypack has enough room for other items such as: extra clothing, lightweight poncho, food, sunscreen, first aid kit, and a cell phone (might not get a signal in some areas). Make sure you do not drain your cell phone battery. I turn my phone off and only use it for emergencies.
The most important tip I can share is to make sure to hike with others. Four is preferable, but hike with at least one other person. If you get hurt, help is going to arrive much quicker if you are not alone. With a group of four, one person can stay with the injured hiker and the other two can go for help. If you have a cell phone, call 911. They will connect you with Search and Rescue. You might have to climb to a higher location to get cell phone reception.
Another item I always bring is a digital camera. They are inexpensive, easy to use and carry, and take great photos. Red Rock Canyon is a photographer’s dream. From towering peaks to deep slot canyons, Red Rock rivals any area in the country for beauty and uniqueness. Of course, cell phones also take good pictures.
We are very fortunate to have Red Rock Canyon in our backyard. Enjoy and respect it and you will get a lifetime of fun and adventures. +
Hiking Resources for You:
The 52 Peak Club: Safe and smart group hiking: http://www.52peakclub.com/
Branch’s bio here: http://www.hikinglasvegas.com/about.html
Branch’s Facebook Hiking Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/HikingLasVegas/
My next Hiker’s Safety and Learning talk is:
Oct. 18th at 6:30 pm at the West Sahara Library 9600 W. Sahara – This is a FREE event