Thursday, January 3, 2013

Lone Palm - 1/3/13

                          A Non-Native Fan Palm on the Colorado River

                                     Waterfall at the Lone Palm Beach

 Today's hike showed all of us just how much we enjoy hiking! It was somewhat of an exploratory hike as we had lost our bearings from the original Lone Palm hike that was done for years before the new bridge and highway were built and blocked off our trailhead. So, today, we parked at the new trailhead at the Kingman Wash Road exit off of Highway 93 in Arizona. Immediately, we found a trail that took us to a cliff. In the photo to the left, Mike tells us with humor, "This is the hard way down. Now, right over here, we have an easier route." This "easy" route took us straight down almost 200 elevation feet on loose rock and boulders. (There is an easier way down into a connecting wash if you go left out of the parking lot instead of right. Live and learn.)

 So, at the bottom of the "hill," we found a wash and dropped down into it. Soon, we did recognize the very old rutted paved road ramping up the hill. The area was extremely messy with dead brush. (The writer remembers this to be an open and clear part of the wash.) Anyway, we climbed the road up to the overlook area where some dam construction pieces still remain. Over the hill, we found the edge of Black Canyon's wall and could see part of the O'Callaghan / Tillman Bridge and the Colorado river.

                             Hiking Up an Old Road to the Bridge Overlook

                   The O'Callaghan / Tillman Bridge and the Colorado River

Walking up the edge, we also got a view right across from the mouth of Gold Strike Canyon seen in the photo to the left. The river water has risen back to normal levels since the beginning of November when officials had stopped letting water through the dam for a while. If you look closely, you can see the hot springs pouring out of the canyon and into the river.

 We completed our tour of the bridge overlook area noting some of the old rusted equipment such as the chain in the photo to the right used at the time of the dam building of the 1930's. We, then, hiked back down the rutted road and dropped back into the wash. We had to go up and around a rock obstacle then soon turned up to the left. (If we had kept going down the wash, we would have come upon a devilish dry fall.)

                                       The Ascent From the Wash

                              Hiking Overland From the Wash to the Spring

Next came a desert crossing going up and down steep slippery slopes. Although we knew "generally" where we were, we could not find the trail until we recognized a particular monolith of a rock. Here, there were cairns and we were able to drop to the hot spring filled wash below. The non-native tamarisk has overgrown the wash but we knew where we were so we felt our way down the wash and up to the Lone Palm overlook at the river.

 It was comforting to see the old place looking so natural ... except for the palm trees and the tamarisk. We ate our snack then most of us dropped down to the river's edge to circle around and see the beautiful waterfall made by the hot springs. All agreed that it was worth the little trip to go see it. While we were there, a large touring boat motored by.

                            View Downstream From Lone Palm Overlook

                         Break Area Above Tamarisk Filled Spring to Right

 After the break, we decided to continue our efforts at completing the hike in a counterclockwise direction. (Since we had always done the hike clockwise, this was another thing throwing us off.) But, we managed to get to the right washes and begin the correct way up and out. (Now, ... which way do we go? Must be the ridge up to the right because this wash has to have some nasty dry falls that we cannot surmount.)

 Well, the ridge worked, however, the writer sees from old trail maps that staying in the wash is what the old route would have told us to do. Anyway, after much scrambling and climbing on loose rock, we found the highway and proceeded to hike near the road all the way back to the cars. Again, the old trail map would have suggested to drop back into the wash nearby and complete the circle without having to hike over the desert.

Nevertheless, we all enjoyed the humor of the morning immensely! Next time will be better.

                                Hiking Out Via the Ridge on a Game Trail

                         The Last Half Mile Over Desert Next to Highway 93

                                      Purple Route Shows Today's Hike
             Blue Route Shows the Amendments Utilizing Previously Used Route

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