Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Photo Essay: Another Red Rock

On a recent visit to Vegas, I hiked its nearby Red Rock Canyon - twice.

But I didn't have to travel so far to get a red rock experience. There's not only one but two nearby Red Rock parks: one in the Santa Monica Mountains near Woodland Hills and Calabasas, and a state park up north in the Mojave Desert.

This week, I visited my second Red Rock park, the former one, practically next door to Calabasas Peak.

Just up in the West Valley, it's not terribly far, though it takes some time and effort to get there, reached only at the end of the narrow, dirt, unmaintained Red Rock Road, which most definitely makes you feel like you've gone the wrong way. (Luckily I conquered the nerve-wracking path in my rental SUV, with my subcompact thankfully in the shop.)



I was drawn to Red Rock Canyon - despite the early fall absence of wildflowers - for its other-worldly landscape...



...the view of which pays off quickly with a number of odd-looking, unusual sandstone formations...



...both near and far off the trail.



Right at the beginning of the hike, a short detour leads to some caves...



...where nature echoes into each pit and groove of the stone which appears to have been once poured, molten, and then frozen in time.



Farther out, rock outcroppings beckon climbing...



...aided by some stairs...



...while only a few signs of civilization interrupt the interplanetary trip.



I suppose I always feel like I'm from another planet.



Sometimes it's nice to lose myself in an escape to a place that feels like another planet.



A single cairn makes sure that the way is not entirely lost...



...as do the sandstone creatures at the peak...



...those stone-faced aliens...



...those stoic watchmen.



They guard only a minor peak - perhaps a saddle - as the trail continues past them...



...perhaps infinitely.

The geologic guards do, however, mark a good turnaround point, if one is to ever turn around and choose to leave this lovely place.