Friday, March 27, 2020

RonnieAdventure #0405 - Ice Box Canyon Hike, Red Rock Canyon NCA, Clark County, Nevada

The trailhead for Ice Box Canyon is located off of the Scenic Loop Rood within the fee area of Red Rock Canyon NCA; thus, I typically do not take this hikes because the crowds are too great and the trails tend to be overrun with hikers. However, since I had not been to Ice Box Canyon in a number of years, we decided to get up early one morning and beat the crowds. (It is not too difficult to beat the crowds because Las Vegas is a 24/7 City, so people typically do not get up too early in the morning. If you arrive at the Park before 7:30 AM, it is usually possible to find a place to park and the crowds are not too bad.)

This is one hike that you do not need a map or a GPS unit to find your way because there is only one canyon with one way in and the same way out. Many people that start the hike never reach the seasonal waterfall at the end of the canyon due to the poor trail conditions and the number of large rocks that you have to climb over in the creek bottom. And, sometimes water is flowing in the creek and over the rocks, which makes for slick rock surfaces and difficult walking conditions.

The first part of the hike is fairly well marked and follows a wide drainage area leading into the Canyon. However, the trail disintegrates very quickly and many people make the mistake of trying to follow the creek bottom, which is filled with brush. The best way to avoid the brush is to stay on a shelf that runs along the north side of the wash. 

After the shelf ends, we were forced to walk in the creek bottom where there were a number of unusual rocks that we had to climb over or walk around.

We called this formation "Pacman Rock with lichen!"

We knew that we were close to the water fall when we started seeing varnish on the canyon walls.

When we reached the end of the canyon, we were really surprised that there was no water flowing over the waterfall.

However, I was able to climb up to a pool of water under the dry waterfall. The climb is not recommended for the faint at heart because it was a Class 3 climb with few hand-holds in some places. 

As evidence that there had been water running in the canyon at one time this spring, some of the canyon walls contained fresh moss.  

Looking down the canyon from the pool of water, then realizing that I had to climb back down to the canyon floor.

On the way out of the canyon we watched some rock climbers making their way up one of the many cracks in the canyon walls. This is a popular spot for rock climbers because the canyon's walls are hard stone (not loose rock) and have many nice cracks to climb. (Alex Honnold bought a house in Las Vegas because of the great year-round climbing in Red Rock Canyon NCA,)

As we were exiting the canyon there were nice views of the areas accessible from the Red Rock Canyon Scenic Loop Road. 

On a visit several years ago, we made the same hike during a light snow storm when the falls were running. The nice thing about hiking in Red Rock Canyon NCA during inclement weather conditions is that you do not have to deal with crowds. On our previous visit it kept snowing off-and-on all day and we did not meet another person on the hike. 


My older brother Jerry has a summer birthday, so he had parties at the farm and at the city park. (Jerry is 4.5 years older than I am.) His friends Butch Berry and Joe Higgins were also invited to his party at the farm and his friend Keith Garber was with us at the city park.  

Even though our farm house was adjacent to the north side of the Pierre Army-Air Force Training Base, we didn't have running water and we had our own electric plant for electricity. 

There was a small building that contained a gasoline engine used to turn a generator to produce electricity and charge some storage batteries, but the batteries were old and didn't hold a charge very long. Because almost all battery supplies were needed to support the War effort, it wasn't possible to purchase new batteries. There was also a shortage of gasoline, so after dinner in the evening my older brother Jerry would go out and shut down the power plant engine; then, if he ran real fast, he could make it back to the house before the batteries gave out and everything went dark. After the electric plant was shut down, we had to use kerosene lamps for light. 

For all our water needs we had a cistern to collect rain water. In the kitchen there was a hand pump that pumped water from the cistern and a bucket of water was kept next to the pump for drinking and for priming the pump. There was a common dipper that everyone used for drinking water from the bucket. 

We kept a galvanized circular tub on the porch that was brought into the kitchen when we took a bath. Water was heated in a large oval shaped copper tub on the coal-burning stove, then poured into the galvanized tub as needed. You always wanted to be one of the first to take a bath because the same water was used by everyone. 

I don't know why people are now getting into such a panic about about the Coronavirus COVID-19 and not being able to purchase toilet paper. Just east of the house we had a two-hole outdoor toilet with a Sears catalog that was used for toilet paper. In the winter when it was snowing and cold, it seamed like it was a really long run to the outhouse. Of course, the outhouse wasn't heated, but we did have long underwear that had buttons and a flap in the back to minimize exposure to the elements. 

I remember one day after the War when I was about three-or-four years old my dad said that he was going to purchase a pump and install running water in the house. There was a large walk-in pantry on the south side of the kitchen that he decided to convert into a bathroom. Since the kid's bedroom was on the other side of the pantry wall, he decided to knock out part of our bedroom wall and make a doorway from our bedroom to the bathroom. 

I always remember going to sleep at night in our bedroom because on the east wall of the bedroom there was a Mother Goose picture that glowed in the dark and there were also stars on the ceiling that glowed in the dark. 

The walls in the house were plaster over wood slats connected together with wire, so when adding a door from our bedroom to the bathroom, all of the wire and slats had to be cut away. I don't know why that left such an impression on me, but I can still visualize what it looked like. Anyway, after the bathroom was installed there were no more cold trips the the outhouse.

I probably had some type of family birthday party each year, but I only remember having one birthday party at our house with other kids invited. I was probably 3 or 4 years old. Since my birthday is in the winter, we couldn't go to a park; but one year my mother agreed to let me have a birthday party in one of the vacant upstairs rooms that was typically not heated. We didn't heat the entire upstairs because in that day houses were not very well insulated and Grandpa Welty was the only one that slept upstairs. I don't know if his room was heated or if he just had a lot of heavy blankets.  

In preparation for the party I told my dad that I would even help him shovel coal into the furnace, so that we could heat the entire upstairs.

The furnace was in the basement and there was a wooden enclosure adjacent to the furnace that was filled with coal. I remember there was a coal chute on the north side of the house and when the coal man came he would shovel coal from his truck down the chute until the basement enclosure was full. When we needed to shovel coal into the furnace, there was a section of the wooden enclosure where the board could be removed one at a time; thus, making it easier to reach the coal. As the basement coal bin emptied, more boards could be removed and eventually all of the boards would be removed, forming a little entry into the coal bin; and it was possible to walk into the coal bin to reach coal at the back of the enclosure.   

The year I had my birthday party upstairs must have been a great success because I still remember playing upstairs that day. I probably had other birthday parties with the family, but none were as memorable as the upstairs birthday party!