Saturday, February 5, 2011

Pinto Valley Wash - 2/5/11

For a trip heading back into the Pinto Valley Wash for the second time in a month, the Around the Bend Friends gathered thirty- one hikers at the mile marker 18 on Northshore Road down by Lake Mead. This time the hike would only go up three miles into the wash and return the same way. There would only be a 600 foot net elevation gain throughout our trip.

The area must have received some rain recently. The colors were deep with moisture and there was a small amount of water in the wash below the cottonwood spring dry waterfall. A record twenty- five hikers chose to climb the twenty- foot dry waterfall. Only six preferred to take the trail around it to the right.

The wash was covered with salt deposits from the slow moving rainwater that must have come through since the last time we were here. It was like walking a white paved trail. The salt really showed up between the deep red sides of the wash. The hike was pleasant and leisurely as all the hikers stayed fairly together.

Pinto Valley Wash is actually part of the old Arrowhead Highway which was used for motor traffic between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City around 90 years ago. At one point in today's hike, there is an old road switchback where road reinforcements are still seen. This valley must have had a dotted line on the old maps indicating it was a scenic route!

We stopped for our snack at around the three- mile mark where the views were colorful and there were plenty of rock seats available. It was still another mile to mile and a half to get to the first set of petroglyphs that we saw on our previous trip here. (Too far for a Saturday hike although it did pique a lot of interest.)

The return hike was quiet as we enjoyed a last look at the colorful hills above our trail of white salt. Our only stop was at the dry waterfall where we made sure that everyone was able to slide down or climb down on the edge. After three hours, we emerged from the wash and found our cars doubled parked on the side of the road where we left them.

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