Thursday, December 31, 2009

Cleopatra Wash - 12/31/09

Fifteen hikers celebrated New Year's Eve hiking Cleopatra's Wash as the last hike of 2009. Cleopatra's Wash is a new hike for the club and we brought along Jim Boone, of Nevada petroglyph fame, to make sure we were in the right neighborhood. The approach road, named Boathouse Cove Road, is located on Northshore Road between mile markers 29 and 30.

The road begins in pretty good condition then deteriorates dramatically as it meets the wash and battles for ownership. At this point, we parked the cars and began our hike. Mr. Boone instructed us to just keep going downhill and we would arrive at our destination.

As usual, our imagination ran wild. We decided that the wash was so called because of the many jewel-colored rocks and this rock formation up on the cliff. Was it just us or does the rock sticking up in the middle of the picture to the right appear similar to a sculpture of an Egyptian princess facing to the left? Anywho! The wash was certainly full of beautiful rock formations and an array of colors.

There were several slot-type canyons; each one offering a different color or type of rock. Also, there were at least six dry waterfalls which dropped ten feet or more. Most of the waterfalls were negotiable, however, a path around them existed each time. The group usually split somewhere down the middle as to whether they chose to drop down or climb over.

Near the lake, the wash became a canyon with very high steep walls on either side of a 15 foot wide gap where it was obvious that a lot of water has rushed through the narrow openings that it made. On some of the dry waterfalls, the rock sides had worn smooth and the colors of the rock were well defined.

To the left is a picture of the last waterfall we met before entering the canyon. After entering the canyon, we had one 8 foot waterfall (seen 2 pics above)which we went down then realized that we hoped that we could get back up it! The sides of the canyon were so steep and high that we knew if we couldn't, we would be stuck! And, sure enough, the next waterfall was non-negotiable and we had to turn back. Extra hands and pushes got us all up the 8 footer and we retraced our steps a short distance to some cairns we had noticed leading up to the right.

The cairns led us up a steep hill on a path and down the steep hill on the other side. As we crossed the top of the saddle, we were met with this gorgeous view of Lake Mead. We reached the shore of the lake passing through the white water line of old and sat on the beach for a snack. A few hikers went exploring; one group into the canyon from the lake end and two hikers up over the hill to get more of a view of the lake.

After a brief rest, we started the climb back up and over the steep hill and on up the sandy/ gravelly wash. The entire hike was around 6.8 miles with the return elevation gain of around 800 feet. I don't believe the final "up and over" hill is counted in this elevation summary.

Revised view of trail and approach road.

Closer view of trail topography.

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