Yucca peak Fossil Beds Hike - 10/04/2016 Trip Notes

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This page last updated on 06/15/2017

(Fig. 01)
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10/04/2016 Trip Notes: Today, Jim Herring, Blake Smith and myself decided to hike the Yucca Peak Fossil trail. After passing Corn Creek Station & Visitor Center, you come to the intersection of Alamo Road and Mormon Well Road. At the road sign (Fig. 01), we turned right onto Mormon Well Road. Shortly this road turns left and then runs straight for the next several miles (Fig. 02) as it heads towards Yucca Gap, the gap between the Sheep Range and the Las Vegas Mountains. After driving through the Yucca Gap, we stopped (Fig. 03) to take a few pictures. The picture in (Fig. 04) is looking back toward the gap. For the next several miles, the road runs through the area known as Yucca Forest (Figs. 05 & 06), where you encounter hundreds of old, and sometimes quite large, yucca trees (Fig. 07). At about 10 miles out, you come to a fenced parking area and trailhead directly in front of Yucca Peak and the fossil ridge (Fig. 08). (con't below)
(Fig. 03)

(Fig. 04)
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(Fig. 07)
Trip Notes Continued: The flat, darker ridge in the upper left corner of the picture in (Fig. 08) is Fossil Ridge. To reach it, you have to hike .06 miles in and up and out of two very large washes and across some very rough desert, and around the flat, lighter ridge in the center of the picture. Rounding the lower ridge you can now see the protruding fossil ridge in (Fig. 09). Clicking on this picture, you can see (in yellow) the route you have to take to get to the top. The steep hike up this hillside is nothing but lots of loose rocks and several very sharp ledges; the hiking was definately more difficult than I remembered from three years ago. Quickly we realized that none of us had done any real hiking or climbing all summer and were totally out of shape for this hike. Also realizing the hiking back down is always harder than going up, we decided to abandon our goal of reaching the top today. You can see the alternate route we took (green) in (Fig. 10). As we hiked across this area we had the beautiful scenic view found in (Fig. 11). We then hiked down a steep revine on the other side of this ridge, rather than backtracking. Even this decent was much more difficult than it looks in the picture in (Fig. 12). If you click this picture to enlarge it, you can see Jim in front of me on the way down and the 'white' arrow in the upper right portion of the picture points to where we parked the car which is about three quarters of a mile in the distance. Even though we never reached the top of fossil ridge, Jim did find several rocks that contained various fossil corals, shells, sponges, horn corals, and crinoids (Fig. 13). Jim also found a rock in-bedded with a fossilized gastropod, a single coiled shell, similar to that of a snail (Fig. 14).  Also, on the way back driving down Mormon Well road we spotted a large Great Basin Collard Lizard (Figs. 15 & 16). Click here to read more about this guy ... Great Basin Collared Lizard (Crotaphytus bicinctores).
(Fig. 08) 
(Fig. 09)
(Fig. 10)
(Fig. 11) 
(Fig. 12)
(Fig. 13)
(Fig. 14)

(Fig. 15)
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