It was a very exciting and adventurous day for the Around the Bend Friends as another new hike was added to our repertoire. The coordinator du jour, Kay, had enlisted the leadership of Chuck who in turn, had enlisted the aid of Wil. There were a few other participants, Don C., Anne, and Paul, who had also done the hike previously. Plus, Kay had done her homework studying Google maps and GPS info of friends who had hiked this route before. (Sounds like we had it covered, doesn't it?)
So, we drove out the dirt road toward Anniversary Narrows and parked at the Ore Car Mine sign parking area. Fifteen of us piled out of the cars and headed over land towards a wash that would drop us into the main wash not far before the entrance to the Narrows. After crossing the desert in a straight line towards, hmmm, not sure, we found the magic pretty wash that first led us up and over a small pass then down into the main wash.
Climbing Wash Leading Up to Pass Above Narrows
Wash Descent from Above
We marched through the Narrows without much ado stopping only to step up here and there. It really doesn't matter ... fast or slow, the Narrows are there to impress. There was at least one member of the hike that had never seen Anniversary Narrows. After we got through that beautiful hallway, he gave it the thumbs up!
Doug in Anniversary Narrows
Following Long Small Wash
At the end of the Narrows, we continued out the wash. By Kay's calculations, the first turn to the right comes in 0.3 miles heading into another wide wash. In 0.15 miles, there is the second turn into a small windy wash that holds many cairns. (We'll call it Many Cairn Wash.) Following the cairns for 0.7 miles, we came to the last right turn (seen in the photo to the left) into a wash that would take us up to the left where we would climb out to reach the ascending ridge. (Another option, is to continue in Many Cairn Wash until the ridge reaches down to you and then take a right.)
Ascending Last Wash Before Ridge
Small Mojave Rattlesnake
On our way up to the top of the ascending ridge, Keith almost stepped on a small but lethal Mojave Rattler. We took our pics of the retreating snake and began our climb up the ridge ... no easy task. There is a trail here so we climbed without hindrance to the saddle above. The view of the South Bowl of Fire at the saddle took our breath away but it was here that we first felt the increasing wind that was scheduled to land on this area around ... well, NOW.
Ascending the Ridge to the Saddle
Chuck Starts Up the Peak from the Saddle
Spooked by the wind, the group of fifteen hikers made quick time as they hiked up to the adjacent peak to the right. First, it was a steep trail then the trail turned into bouldering very high above the floor of the South Bowl of Fire. Nevertheless, the gorgeous views kept coming. To the right, we could see back to the Narrows and to the left, we could see Murphy Peak and beyond to Lake Mead.
View of Narrows from Near the Peak
View of Murphy Peak from Near the Peak
There was only one place where the climb seemed a little precarious. Seen in the photo to the left, Richard contemplates how to surmount the obstacle he faces. The red rock behind Chuck is actually almost 1000 feet straight down. (Just a little fun fact.) Anyway, we all survived the climb and enjoyed magnificent views from the top while we took our break in surprisingly very little wind.
Taking a Break on the Peak
View Down to the South Bowl of Fire from the Peak
Up until this point, Chuck had been in charge of the routes taken. The ascent went off without a hitch. But, we knew that going down was somewhat of an unknown. Chuck turned over his leadership to Wil and Don C. and we began our descent on steep rocky terrain. Steep yet not too difficult. So, as suggested, we went down and curved to the left finding a steep wash in front of us. We looked to our leaders and, unfortunately, they did not agree.
Taking a Break on the Peak with Lake Mead in Distance
Group Descends Toward First Wash
A few hikers fearlessly started descending the beautiful wash in front of us. A few other hikers continued traversing the ridge hoping to come out to a better place to go down in that same direction. Some how, in the end, only three hikers made it to the South Bowl of Fire and headed out a small wash to circle back around to the cars. The rest of us found ourselves so far to the right that it made no sense to return to the South Bowl side of the descent.
This put us in a small predicament as we ended up descending to the canyon floor on a very very steep slippery hillside. At the bottom, we waited a while for everyone to gather again then hiked out the wash. For the last 600 yards, we crossed countried it dipping into several gulleys before reaching the cars. Since the steep descent took some time, we were only a little ahead of the three hikers that hiked almost a mile further through the Bowl. Glitches? Yeah. Fun? You better believe it!!!
Large Group Exits Through a Small Wash
Last Cross Country Hiking to Cars
GPS Information for Anniversary Narrows & Peak Loop