Friday, January 6, 2012

Gold Strike Canyon - 12/29/11

From Gold Strike Canyon up river to the O'Callaghan- Tillman Bridge.

One week ago, fourteen ABF hikers ventured down the foreboding canyon called Gold Strike where the Nevada hot springs are located. The trailhead is reached by exiting Highway 93 south of Boulder City at Hoover Dam and turning right at the stop sign. About a third of the group of hikers had not been down the canyon that is filled with obstacles, ropes and hot springs. We were all anxious to reach the river this time with the exception of two who were prepared to turn around when we reached the pools.

Obstacle with chiseled- in foot ladder.

First obstacle with a rope found above the hot springs.

There are five obstacles in the wash that have to be negotiated before you even reach the hot springs including one that requires the hiker to go up and around to the left. Since the canyon is hiked quite frequently, other hikers have painted arrows and built cairns to show the way. Although they are not always a welcome sight, they do help sometimes. All fourteen of us scrambled down the canyon with fury led by our fearless coordinator John B. John knows this canyon very well as he volunteers clean- up in the canyon once a week. A lot of trash is left in the canyon on a constant basis and we all wish that people would pack out what they pack in.

Rosie gracefully steps over the stream of hot water coming from the springs.

Mary skillfully lets herself down the rope at the pools. There is also a less challenging way to come down through the small waterfall on the left side of the canyon.

After the pools, the obstacles become a constant presence. The hiker meets one challenge after another. The total number of ropes in the canyon are perhaps five but none of the ropes are longer than four or five feet. Other obstacles that have no rope are a little more difficult. They require a lot of upper body strength ... not to mention a little creativity.

The first sight of the Colorado River.

The view down river from the mouth of the canyon where we had our break. The water was low this morning. The gate keepers usually let water out through the dam at 2pm and 8pm daily.

Sauna Cave Excursion
Three hikers decided to wade through the river to a small island to get to Sauna Cave. Two kayakers graciously offered a ride but the ride was declined since they were already wet! The water was reportedly not cold since this area was being fed by the hot springs.

After reaching the island and replacing their shoes, they crossed the island to get to a hole that was bored into the wall when our forefathers were searching for the right place to build the dam.

The dam researchers struck a hot spring so they decided not to place the dam here and went up river a couple of miles. Now, the created cave is filled with hot water and the air inside the cave reaches around 120 degrees. Who needs a health club?!

Only ankle deep, huh John?

Just up river from Gold Strike Canyon is a small waterfall of hot spring water. Steam hisses just above the surface.

Climbing back up the canyon, well, is a whole 'nother story! It is definitely a full body workout!

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