Sunday, February 5, 2017

Lone Palm Exploratory - 2/5/17

Lone Palms at Colorado River

Hot Springs at Lone Palm

Pinnacle above Lone Palm

Dropping into First Wash
 When only four hikers showed up at the meet place for today's (Super Bowl Sunday) hike, we got creative. A pre-hike needed to be done at Lone Palm so we scrapped the planned Fortification Hill hike and headed for Lone Palm instead. The trailhead for this hike is located on Kingman Wash Road. Just cross the Dam Bridge and take the first exit. Then take two rights. There it is! Determined to clear up a few questions, we were armed with a GPS track of a previous hike. (Honestly, I think we finished with even more questions!)

Dropping into Second Wash
 The first question was solved right away. Go left to descend into the first wash not right even though there is a clear trail here.

Hiking up Road to Overlook
 At the wash, we turned to the right. ... and, kept going. Nope! Go back. Yep, we found it! A left turn up and over the hill took us down the familiar old paved road to the second wash.

Various Leftover Remnants

Heading toward the River Overlook
 A right turn in this wash, too, and we gently hiked down through the sandy gravel. We curved around to the left and came to the old road that runs up to the overlook above. It doesn't look much like a road until you get about half way up. When we reached the top, we headed directly down to the next level of terrain and walked over to the river side. Here, we could see half of the Dam Bridge up river and the Goldstrike Hot Springs Canyon area across the river. Strewn about were pieces of iron and whatnot that were probably used during the time of the Hoover Dam building.

Dam Bridge from Overlook
 After our look-see, we continued along the cliff above the river on an old road while taking in the overlook's views.

View across to Goldstrike Hot Springs Canyon
 Completing the circle, we returned to the old road that we came up. Back down the road, we dropped into the wash again and continued down.

Mouth of Goldstrike

Hiking down the Wash Again
 We went up and around a dry fall and passed through a narrow section then saw our trail climbing the hill to the left. Up, we went. Over the years, it seems that all the trails on this hike have become more steep and slippery. Regardless, it can still be done. At the top, the cairns and the GPS track agreed, so off we went happily following the cairns. ... Not a good idea. However, we did end up right above the river at a place we had never been before!

View Back to Wash after Climbing the Hill Trail
 Thinking that there must be a way down, we continued and were cliffed out three times. Time to retrace our steps.

Following Cairns
 We returned to a fork that we had eyed before and took a left instead of that right. It wasn't graceful but we did find our way down into the hot spring wash from here.

View back to the Cliffed Ridge

New River Overlook
 But, not before we found a couple of new trails to follow. There are a lot of trails that have been used for this hike ... which is much of the problem. A few hikers have built cairns or made arrows on the ground to help. One place required us to scramble up a steep hill and, it was only at the top that we knew we were still on the trail. "It's a Big Trail," someone exclaimed. From there, it was fairly easy to continue dropping into the flowing stream of hot water at the brushy rock.

Cliffed Out
 Rita tested the water. She said it was very hot!

Reworking the Route
 We, also, had hiked through a large area of dead tamarisk. Rumor has it that it is dormant in the winter.

A "Big Trail"

Finally following the Springs
 We recognized the point at which we needed to climb out of the stream to get to the trail above. This was quite wet and slippery but we deftly climbed and arrived at the trail to turn right. We had arrived at our destination. First, we took a look at the waterfall route down to the left. The river appeared as if it was rising fast so we opted not to do the waterfall visit. Sometimes the path to the waterfall can get covered with water when they are releasing water from the dam not too far upstream.

Mike, Rita and Tony climb the Rock for a Break above Waterfall
 So, we climbed up on the rocks that overlook the river for our break. So far, without really realizing it, we had worked pretty hard with our explorations.

Starting Up the Old Trail
 Just below the rocks were a couple of palm trees. The original palm tree is dead. The palms that are there now are likely descendants.

Remember this?

Ascent Wash
 We started up the trail on the other side of the hot springs. This is the old trail that drops into a nice scramble wash. There was no problem finding our way up the various rocks and falls. Then we reached the wash junction with towering rocks all around. The GPS track told us to continue straight so we did reluctantly. Nope, we were supposed to turn left. Confused, we compromised and tried what the track was telling us to do. There just wasn't a trail so we dropped into the ascent wash that we had junctioned with earlier.

Lots of Scrambling
 Likely, the trail had fallen to being unused. So, we continued up the small wash looking for a trail. When we found one, it was a false alarm. We ended up climbing steeply for no reason only to have to drop back into the wash.

View from Climb Out
 Now, we were on the GPS track again and, eventually, we found the trail that would take us out of the canyon. It was steep and gnarly but it did the job.

Finally finding the Old Trail Again

Great Overlook at Big Dry Fall
 We arrived at the location of the old trailhead that we used to use before the new road was built. From there, the route followed a faint trail parallel to the highway. After dropping into the wash, a trail quickly took us on a nice trip over the hill to another wash. This wash was the connection to the new trailhead. What a day! It wasn't pretty but we did it! Fantastic workout, too.

7 miles; 1600 feet elevation gain; 4.5 hours

Using the Trail from Old Trailhead to New Trailhead

Leap of Faith

Climbing back up to the Trailhead at Kingman Wash Road

Today's Elevation Chart

Dark Blue Line = Today's Route

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