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November 14, 2007
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ALONG THE WAY: Pine Creek Trail

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The Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is only about a half an hour from downtown Las Vegas. It is a place rich in natural and cultural resources. Many Las Vegans already take advantage of this Park, but far more have never even been here. For the seven years that I've lived in Las Vegas this has been my backyard. I've hiked every trail here several times, and I've also managed to go most places where there aren't any trails. But with all of the hiking opportunities in the Park I'd have to say that the best overall hiking trail here is the Pine Creek Trail.

What makes this a great trail is its diversity. The difficulty rating can be anywhere from moderately easy to very difficult. Depending upon how far back in the canyons you're willing to go. If you're a novice or casual hiker it has several points of interest, including a 'Fire Ecology' trail where you can learn about the affects of fire on this environment.

A little farther up the trail, perhaps 15 minutes from the parking lot, the creek comes within just a few feet of the trail. Here you can enjoy the shade of the Ponderosa pines that line the creek. The amount of water in the creek will vary from year to year depending on the previous winter's rainfall. But you can always find more water in the creek by traveling farther into the canyon.

Rather than battling the brush by following the creek you may want to get back on the trail and head on up to the foundation of the old homestead of Horace and Glenna Wilson.

Over the years I've spent a lot of mornings here just enjoying the quiet. It seems like you're a million miles away from everything. Sometimes I'll go down to the creek, sit on a rock and listen to the sound of the flowing water. At other times I'll just sit on the foundation of the old Wilson home and watch the wildlife in the meadow. I've seen all manner of critters out here. Big horn sheep, Mule deer, coyote, and wild horses have all been seen here. The day I was out with Larry Clinesmith we saw some gorgeous Western bluebirds with their electric blue coloring. And that's not all we saw.

David Bert ... Wow. What's that?

Larry Clinesmith, Red Rock Canyon Interpretive Association . . . There's a hawk, looks like a, I think it's a red tail. And that's a little bit unusual because it hasn't warmed up to much out here yet this morning. And a lot of the soaring birds rely on those thermals coming up. See him wheel and turn. There, catching the current. He'll be going up here a minute. That's neat. That's great.

Over the years Larry Clinesmith and I have seen quite a bit of wildlife out here. Larry's a hike leader for the Red Rock Canyon Interpretive association. If you'd like to know all about the Pine Creek Trail or any other trail out here just sign up for one of his hikes at the visitor center and ask him.

David Bert ... can you give us a sense of the history of the House. And the Wilson's.

Larry Clinesmith ... Horace and Glenna came out here, well actually it was Horace, her husband, that was riding horseback in the area, and saw Pine Creek, fell in love with it, and homesteaded the 80 a. in 1922.

David Bert ... this is a long way from town, how did they get a back and forth?

Larry Clinesmith ... well if you come around the scenic drive and park at what's now the parking lot at Pine Creek, hike down the trail, you will eventually come on to the actual road that they constructed. It doesn't even look like a road now, but they had a Fliver and then later on a Model T and then later on a Dodge, and every time that they would go into town they would hook a drag to the vehicle and drag it. And try to improve the road. They actually had a permit from the county to do this.

What a sight they must have been on the weekends. All dressed for the dances that they loved so much, driving into town with Horace standing on the drag to give it weight. But it was worth it. Living out here must have been like living in paradise. Not only were the natural surroundings spectacular, but Glenna had quite a garden here. As a matter of fact there's still an apple tree in the meadow that bears fruit every year.

Today there's nothing left of the house but some of the foundation, and a bare remnant of the old garden. But the view is still here. And if you come out in the early morning you can look up thorough the trees and see the red rocks glow with the rising sun. And as you sit here enjoying the sights and sounds you'll come to understand what it was that brought Horace and Glenna Wilson to homestead this little stop along the way.

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