Saturday, November 07, 2015

Camping at Red Rock Canyon

Camping/hiking in Red Rock Canyon State Park.
Here are a few photos of my recent camping trip to Red Rock Canyon State Parkin California (not to be confused with Red Rock parks in Colorado, Nevada and Arizona, each of which is equally worth visiting).
Red Rock Canyon State Park features scenic desert cliffs, buttes and spectacular rock formations. The park is located where the southernmost tip of the Sierra Nevada converge with the El Paso Range. Each tributary canyon is unique, with dramatic shapes and vivid colors.
The park has a single first-come, first-serve campground. This late in the year, the campground was practically deserted, and we had the popular hiking trails to ourselves. (Footprints suggested one other couple had preceded us up Nightmare Gulch, but that could have been the previous day.)
After one warm day and evening, the weather turned windy and cold, and rain showers tested our ability to cook a decent meal outdoors as dusk chilled the air. After a hurried meal prep in the lee of the car (I estimated the wind gusts at 30+ miles per hour, with wind chill to match), we savoured our onion-salmon-goat-cheese omelet and wine inside the tent.
This shows the importance of observing the first rule of camping: come prepared for all weather. As a result, inclement weather did not ruin our enjoyment of the park, the brilliant night sky and half-moon, and the spectacular (though rough) hiking.
Though we packed a complete camp kitchen (including a wok) and two tents for the three of us, we all fit easily in a Honda Civic compact car. Second rule of camping: pack what you absolutely need, but no more.
Our campsite:
In Nightmare Gulch:
A wider view of Nightmare Gulch:
Some features of Nightmare Gulch:
Easy to see why Westerners named it Nightmare Gulch:
A raptor nest from last mating season:

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