Saturday, March 27, 2010

Grapevine Springs - 3/27/10

The hike to Grapevine Springs, today, included thirty-four hikers, wonderful weather, 5.3 miles, two springs, many petroglyphs and views out-the-wazoo! We began at the new paved parking lot on Highway 160 that serves Cottonwood Valley, the immense area of beautiful desert at the base of the Red Rock escarpment south of Spring Mountain Ranch and Bonnie Springs.

We headed toward Windy Peak on a trail that held little elevation change. When we arrived at Grapevine Springs at the base of Windy Peak, we saw that it is protected by a wooden fence as the water is needed for the local wildlife to survive. The landscape around the springs is lush desert flora which glistened in the morning sun among large dark-colored boulders. It is a peaceful place.

From Grapevine Springs, we continued in the direction of Mud Springs which is also at the base of Windy Peak. We passed by a water trough, filled to the brim with water by a black rubber hose from Mud Springs. Not far from here, we entered into a boulder field filled with petroglyphs. As we took our break, several of us ran around looking for different petroglyphs as if we were on a treasure hunt.

The carvings appeared as if they were from different eras or, at least, different artists. Sometimes the big horn sheep were simple stick figures. Other times, they were fat with actual bodies. Some of the carvings were similar to ones we saw at Gold Butte. Some, well, we had never seen before. Again, the natives had a lot to say.

After our break, we returned by Mud Springs and stopped to get a good look. It was also surrounded by a wooden fence and the grass surrounding the spring was long and full. There was a very large trough within the fenced area that was empty. Perhaps, it was once used for wildlife ... before the aforementioned trough was placed in the area.

In the immediate area of Mud Springs, there were more petroglyphs. These carvings seemed to be the most recent as they depicted men in sombreros and wooden wagons. Cottonwood Valley holds the remnants of the old Spanish Trail which came through here as late as the early 1900's. We left the spring and took a more direct trail back to the starting point as Mt. Potosi watched from a distance.

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