Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Trail 404 Loop, Black Mountain, Sloan Canyon NCA, NV

Hiked Saturday, May 1. I've actually had a pretty good past few weeks of hiking, but havent had time to get the posts done. This was 18 days ago, and one day after my previous post.
I've hiked up this mountain at least two times previously, and made it partially up a few times, too. Both summit trips were from the south side of this loop. My attempt from the north side started too late to summit. But I did make it far enough to decide that the south loop is definitely easier. That's the route I took up, this day.
Trail 404 starts out of the Shadow Canyon trailhead, in Henderson. More discussion in the previously-linked blog posts, but you can also just google for Shadow Canyon trailhead Henderson, and you'll find directions.
Because of the several previous hikes, I'm including a lot of "micro" shots, rather than big picture shots in this post. Lots of flowers, a few lizards, and one really big snake that was up at the summit.
For what ever reason, I seemed to struggle more on this hike than on previous trips up the mountain. This, despite taking my time, taking lots of shots, and not really moving very quickly up the mountain.
Several hikers passed along the way. More traffic than on past trips up here. Still not exactly crowded, though. I like it that way.
The trail only has mostly mild gains and losses, and the trail is also relativley unobstructed along the south loop. Even without trying too hard, you won't kick many rocks that protrude out of the trail surface, because there aren't many.
So, despite the altitude profile on Alltrails, most of the trail is pretty quick going, except the last, steep climb, maybe a 1/2 or 3/4 mile. Like stairs-steep.

One change at the top was that the American flag has been replaced by a Nevada flag. Also, there was that aforementioned-snake, right under a rock, at the summit. I stood on a rock to take some pictures, looked down, and saw the diamond-shaped head. But he wasnt interested in me. So I took a few shots, then left his little part of the mountain.

Decided to walk over, and try the north loop. Past experience was that this end had a lot more ups and downs, and more protruding rocks to trip and kick. That's still the case. But I also saw evidence or recent rock and vegetation clearing along the route. While it's a little confusing near the second summit because of the rocks (so no actual trail to follow), I did not have too much difficulty staying on the trail and making my way back down. It was definitely slower going than the other way, but I was happy to have finally completed my circumnavigation of the trail.

Unfortunately, I forgot to shut off my Alltrails recording, so did not have just a recording of my actual hike, so I can't give you the actual mileage for the loop.

It was a good hike, and a good day for hiking. Cloudy and windy, so not too hot.
The only drawback is, without the sun, the solar generators at Ivanpah were not visible, through the clouds.

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