Friday, February 8, 2019

Lone Palm - 2/7/19

Several Palm Trees at Colorado River

The Callaghan-Tillman Bridge from Overlook

Starting down an Old Road

Wash to Overlook Area
As you get closer and closer to the bottom of Hoover Dam in the Colorado River, more and more hot springs and rusty remnants of the building of the dam appear. One such place is Lone Palm Hot Springs whose hiking route includes a side trip up to an old staging area with a few heavy construction pieces that still lie in the sun. The staging area also happens to be a great overlook of part of the Callaghan-Tillman Bridge, Goldstrike Canyon, a gaging station, and the public road that zigzags down to the dam across the river. The trailhead for this route is located on the west side of Arizona SR 93, south of the dam at exit 2, Kingman Wash Road. At the end of the exit, turn right and right again. The parking lot is on the left just before the road gate that blocks access to Hoover Dam property.

Iron Remnants
Thirteen hikers converged on the trailhead around 8:30am. It was an unusually chilly morning for this area of the desert. But, we were shedding a lot of layers throughout the hike as the temperatures rose from 40 degrees to 50.

Leaving Bridge Overlook
The hike begins by walking out from the cars toward the river and turning left. (Not to the right!) This trail descends to the wash below ... and another wash where we turned to the right.

View across Colorado River from Overlook

Goldstrike Canyon Overlook
The next left turn happens very quickly up onto the bank. There may or may not be a cairn here and the turn isn't apparent unless you are looking for it. This puts you onto the continuance of the old paved road going up then down a long hill. The road enters the wash below to the right and with a little scramble, we continued down the wash until the old road forked up to the right. This is the side trip up to the overlooks and old machinery. At the top of the road, we went straight until we had a nice partial view of the bridge. A circle around the rim of the large area brought us to more overlooks and back to the top of the old road.

Up & Around Dry Fall
We descended the road to the fork area and dropped down to the right to continue our wash descent. There is a trail that leads off to the left but this year, we did it the old way! We continued to the dry fall and did an up & around to the right. Easier now without scree!

Freeze! ... really?
The wash narrows here and at the apex of a zigzag, the trail turns up a hill to the left. Take the trail up next to the left wall to make the climb the easiest.

Heading into the Pinnacles Section

Traverse in Pinnacles Section
At the top, we waited for everyone to catch up then proceeded on the trail that heads in the same direction and over a little ridge. There are many trails in this area. Some don't lead to Lone Palm! Over the little bump, down a slippery wash, then up to another bump. This is the fun bump! Here, there is a nice little down scramble as demonstrated by Rita in a photo above. From here, continue down the wash until it runs into another wash coming down from the left. Scramble shortly down this wash and come to a worn rock trail up to the left as seen in the photo to the left. There are a lot of pinnacles in this area and this climb will put you on a clear trail passing a skinny pinnacle as you traverse over and down a slippery slope to the next canyon that we affectionately refer to as the tamarisk canyon. This is the canyon with the hot spring water running through it.

Trail past Pinnacle
Tamarisk is a non-native invasive plant. There have been groups of well-meaning volunteers that attempted to pull out these plants over the years. Although the efforts help, the plants remain and multiply.

Weathered Hot Pool
Every year, someone (sometimes my husband) goes down to this hot stream and builds pools with sandbags. Last year, it was quite the spa! However, this year, it appears that nothing has been done. One ugly hot pool remains at the trail junction.

Top of the Waterfall

Hot Stream
So, we crossed the stream and climbed up the slippery algae covered slope on the other side. At the top of the little hill, we turned right onto a trail. This trail took us around and down to the pinnacled river bank. Lately, we have been taking our break on the small cliff island next to the river and the waterfall. But you cannot see either one of them until you climb up and over a scramble on the left end of the pinnacled area. A very precarious trail leads over to the island and you can easily get to the top of the waterfall from this trail on the right side. Be careful here. A fall into the river rocks would not be good.

George peers over the Edge to Waterfall
If you are ever here when the river is low, there is a way to get down to the shore and hike over to the bottom of the waterfall. But, the water was high today and we did not go down.

Tamarisk Canyon to the Cliffs of the Pharaohs
After our break, we returned back via the scary trail and up and over the scramble. Passed by the pinnacles and up to the top of the little hill above the algae slope.

Island in the Sky at Lone Palm

Pinnacles at River
To continue the loop route, we went straight at this junction along the wall of the tamarisk canyon with the Cliffs of the Pharaohs in front of us. So, Tony has named the cliffs because it reminds us of the walls of sculpture in Egypt and Petra in Jordan. We all agreed we need to find a good sculptor! Anyway, this trail hangs off the canyon wall and enters a small wash with a lot of great boulder scrambling in it. Chuck led us on a fast paced scramble up the wash ... and, today, I'm sore! (But, it's a good sore!) Before the new 93 was built, our Lone Palm route went clockwise instead of counter-clockwise. We used to descend this fun wash. Now, the ascent presents more of a challenge. ... Especially at a fast pace.

Betty climbs through the Boulder Scrambles
After the boulder section, we entered into a flat wash section. This was just a matter of climbing a gentle ascent with a few wiggles.

Starting Flat Wash Section
Our next landmark was the Eye of the Needle. At one wash that we usually use as an exit route, there is a painted "eye" up high on a rock across from the junction.

Heading into the Up & Arounds

Tough Scramble
Today, however, we had a different exit route in mind. So, we continued straight at the Eye of the Needle wash, not turning. There are 3 or 4 up & arounds that are required by going straight. The first one is soon and is the easiest. The second one is very high and goes around a red rock pour-over that is completely non-negotiable. Both of these have a trail to use on the right side. The third dry fall can be climbed or gone around to the left. Most of us climbed half of it then used a trail to go around the second half. But, the third pour-over is even bigger with a steep up & around on the right. Once on top, you have the option to go up & around one more really large pour-over but we stopped there and started up the hill on the opposite side. There are a couple of cairns to indicate where to go here.

Up & Around the Red Rock Pour-Over
So, up we went. We could see the yellow colored berm above us. This was our target. We climbed up the berm and connected with the other exit trail at the yellow ridge.

Passing Large Pour-Over to Right in Shadows
We followed the trail to the right and circled around a rocky hill. We ended up very near the top of the high pour-over that much of the previous hiking went around.

Climbing the Berm to Old Trail

On Old Trail
We took a look see at the high drop and saw the rock writings of years past. From there, we followed a shallow wash that went parallel to the highway but not near. This took us past an old firepit that had a lot of rusted metal around it. On down the wash (on a side trail on the right), we found another trail that exited the wash at a wide section. This trail took us back to the very first old road / wash junction that we came to in the beginning. A right turn took us back up the hill to the cars. Fun hike! Great hikers! Thanks to Chuck again! One of Las Vegas' legendary hikes!

6.3 miles; 1400' elevation gain; 4.25 hours; average speed 1.5 mph

Rock Writings at Top of High Pour-Over

Rusty Remnants at Old Firepit

End of Trail back to Trailhead Road

1 comment:

Kay Blackwell said...

Kay--Another terrific blog presentation. Great photos, maps and narrative! That "Wall of the Pharaohs" looks approachable as an exploratory hike either using the inner canyon to slope up to the top (from the backside) or going to the base via feeder drainages intersecting with parts of the Lone Palm routing. Thanks again--Chuck H.