Thursday, December 22, 2011

Arizona Hot Springs - 12/22/11

Yet another one female hike for the Around the Bend Friends on a Thursday as ten hikers ventured down to the Lake Mead NRA below the Hoover Dam for a hike to Arizona Hot Springs located near the Colorado River. The weather promised to be cold and windy so the hikers arrived ready. Promises, however, are sometimes not kept and the weather south of the dam was reported to be really quite pleasant. John B. provided the report and the photos in this entry.

As the hikers made their way down White Rock Canyon, silliness infected the bunch of friends. "Gee! I wonder which way we go!" (See arrow on canyon wall.) This sentiment seemed to also gnaw on the minds of the small group of bighorns spotted at the river. First they ran one way then another.

A brochure used for this hike given out by the Lake Mead NRA says as follows: White Rock Canyon is a strikingly beautiful volcanic area. There is a wide variety of desert plants to be found, including indigo bush, ground cherry, rush-milkweed, rabbit brush, Mormon tea, desert fir, cheesebush, globemallow, desert tobacco, desert trumpet, rock nettle, rock daisy and windmills. Rocks are primarily volcanic and volcanic ash, with some granite boulders washed down from the Black Mountains.

After taking a snack break at the river, it was time to climb up to the hot springs. The brochure further describes the springs: Arizona Hot Spring consists of groundwater that is heated at depth by contact with molten rock and moves to the surface through faults at the rate of 400 gallons per minute. The water temperature is between 85 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit. It is highly mineralized containing chloride, sulphate, sodium, potassium, calcium and fluoride.

The hike up to the spring and pools includes a small amount of scrambling with increased difficulty due to a heavy flow of warm water over smooth rocks which cannot be avoided. Then a twenty foot ladder stands between the hiker and the pools. At the top of the ladder (preferably) is when the shoes must come off. The hiker is then ready to wade through the two pools of increasingly hot water. ... Nice legs, guys!

The brochure provides a warning for all hikers and bathers. Naegleria fowleria, an amoeba common to thermal pools around the world, may be present and could enter through the nose causing a rare infection and death. DO NOT dive into pools, splash water, or submerge your head.

Just when the water becomes too hot to handle, the hiker climbs out of the canyon with one more scramble. Shoes have to be put back on and the hike resumes up the canyon located just south of White Rock Canyon. This canyon has a couple of interesting obstacles, too.

A little over a mile up the canyon, the trail leads off to the left where it will take the hiker up to and over a saddle. This is the steepest climb of the day. The trail then descends down to the original wash not far from the highway bridge near the parking lot.

Looks like a lot of fun! Sorry I missed it guys!

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