15 May 2017

Hickison Horse and Hiking Trails

Hickison Petroglyphs Recreation Area (BLM)

Click for map.

Following the mysterious trail north past the lone rock covered in petroglyphs is easy, but it goes on for a surprising length. It passes a hitching post for horses and keeps on going. It is so well established, it must go somewhere good. Maybe there are more petroglyphs to see.

long and flat area
The vastness of basin stretches to the east. These are the vistas that can make one confused Nevada with "flat".

low and gentle hills
Some gentle hills although one seems to have an interesting structure to it.

distinct track in the sage brush
Walking a well established track through the sage brush and pinon pine and juniper. The cliffs up ahead look interesting.

The trail takes me to a gate and then a second parking area marked with more trails. A map shows three loops built on top of each other for varying experiences and distances. An much better map of the same thing is tucked into the brochure box. There are some nice rocks out there to go past and I have plenty of resources tucked away on my back so I go for it. They all start with a little bit of trail to get out to the loops. There is quickly a junction, although it is hard to see, and a sign pointing left along the more obvious trail, then it drops down a bit into the valley.

tall hill with a spot of ash
On the other side, this hill is smooth and tree covered, but here it is cliffs with stark color changes where there is ash and even has a basalt and ash hoodoo.

sage brush covered low spot
Down into the valley.

basal structures with many holes
Coming in close to one basalt structure and getting closer to the colosseum of cliffs ahead.

As the trail passes one hole in the rocks, I go to investigate it. Someone has actually cut branches away recently, leaving them below, to make access a little easier. However, there does not seem to be anything except the cliffs themselves to see. So I return to the trail and continue to wind out along the flat valley.

higher mountains to the south
A look again at the mountains to the south.

cliffs above and tossed off rocks below
Looking up as I round the cliffs. Huge chunks have fallen from them.

The path splits a few times with neither side looking more likely to be the true trail. This is clearly range land and cows have wandered through it setting down their own trails. I seem to be going more north than the map indicates I should. Prints are almost entirely from cows and those of shoes do not seem to know any better than me.

flat and full of sage brush
More hills to the northeast.

I give up on the trails since cross country is not so hard. The map shows a couple closing corners, so I settle on the challenge of finding those instead.

old corral missing wire
Coming to the old corral, which is marked on the map, it is plain I am far off the designated trail.

The one that is logically first to look for is not in a place with much landscape to help narrow down where to look. I wander what seems like a bit too far, and circle around to try to see it, but there is nothing there. The second is a little way off a road that will make an easy route back, so I go for it. It is near the bottom of a drainage near the road so the area can be narrowed down quite well. I follow the drainage up a little way, then decide it will be better to look from the road. As I get a bit further than I should need to, I circle down into the drainage again and follow it down. There it is. Just about forty feet further up than where I turned around.

closing corner
A closing corner set by DOI and BLM in 1978.

This find gives me another reference that can make it easier to find the other. I dither about being silly enough to go looking for the other again or just get back to traveling to my next planned stop. It is nearly a half mile in the wrong direction, but I go for it. It may be arbitrary, but it is a sort of treasure hunt.

Ackerman Spring
Moist places in the ground near the corral are the spring that is also marked on the map. The other closing corner should be under, but not too near, the cliffs ahead.

I am on a slightly different line than I was searching before and by the time I am close enough to the hillside ahead, I am in a rather different area. Keeping to the measure of latitude, I get a little further from the first corner than I think I should. Since they are closing corners, one to the north and one to the south, the distance between them is uncertain. I am wondering if I should be a little north or south based on this one being west of the other in the eastern ranges and thinking I still will not find it when one last turn around looking everywhere shows something.

closing corner just out there where it should be
There it is, the closing corner. It looks a little different from the other one that had a surprisingly dark cap.

1915 closing corner
A closing corner set in 1915. The 1978 survey crew seems to have smoothed out the old designations at the bottom and added their own including the half township.

My little "treasures" found, I head back to the road to return. The map shows a cutoff trail from the road that will take me back to the original trail near the parking. Well, there is another section corner I could go find off to the east about a mile. It looks like the view over there might be quite nice. I manage to resist the urge to find a third.

southerly to the hills again
Never got all that far from the round of cliffs that still frame the view to the south. The finish will complete the circle.

southeast mountains
Some mountains to the southeast are high enough for snow. There is a cow behind one of those bushes. It is range land after all.

The trail back is easy to find and follow. It joins by the sign that was pointing off to the left, but it is only at the junction itself that the trail vanishes.

Finishing the circle around the colosseum of rocks.

little peak
Back by the hill with known petroglyphs.

Once back at the trailhead lot, I have to wind my way around one last hill to the car in the main lot.

©2017 Valerie Norton
Posted 28 May 2017

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