Christmas 2010, Dec 26 – Hiking on a Cool Day

Hanging Gardens

Today was another cool and cloudy day. In the morning, we took a short drive back towards Page AZ. On the east side of the Colorado River a short road takes you to the Hanging Gardens trailhead. The hike is about 0.1 miles to the gardens. The gardens are located in a sandstone grotto. The sandstone acts like a sponge soaking up water and slowly releasing it to the plants. The back wall of the gotto is thick with an ivy-like plant. I could easily imagine that the garden is quite beautiful in the spring.

After spending some time in the garden, we decided to hike down the sandstone hill towards Lake Powell. It was a healthy walk down. It appeared much closer from the Hanging Garden. It was a lovely walk. The route was along slick rock that we in short step-like terraces.

Bucktank Draw and Birthday Arch

Our second hike of the day was to an interesting spot about 10 miles north of Wahweap RV Park. Corinne had only a vague description of where cars parked and the hike began. So, she positioned us about 1,000 yards south of the wash we were supposed to walk up. We did a little hill climbing and cross-country hiking we eventually found our way to the wash, but we were about 100 ft above it on a sandy mesa. We decided to walk parallel to the wash for a little way and determine if there was an easy route down. It was clear from the path and foot falls that others had also used this route. After about 1.5 miles of walking in wet sand (my calves are going to feel this tomorrow), we found a convenient spot to drop down into the wash. We were on the far south side of the wash and decided to explore this area first. There are a number of small slot canyons (or dry waterfalls) and hoodoos that were very interesting. We spent about a half hour hiking around the area and we had a nutrition bar for our lunch. Then we decided to head back down the wash that most people use as the hiking route.

We were pretty sure that we could see Birthday Arch up on the side of a steep cliff face. So, before we went too far back to toward the main highway, we decided we would take a stab at hiking up to Birthday Arch. Hiking up in the sandy slope on the northside of the wash required some energy, but the trip was definitely worth the effort. It was a pretty spectacular spot, even on a cloudy day.

 
After taking some pictures, we started down. It was much easier heading down the slope then going up. At the bottom we ran into a German Couple who were on their way up. They were very interested in Prince. They had been following a set of dog prints up the trail. We disappointed them when we pointed out that the prints they were following were a lot larger than Prince. They wondered how come the prints only came in one direction. We explained that the dog had probably had returned by the route above the wash. We had seen his/her prints on the way to Birthday ArchI am not sure if we found Bucktank Draw or not. We found several small indentations in the wash that would fill with water. Often, these are called tanks. However, they seemed relatively small to the other tanks we have seen in the past. Some of the indentations still had water in them from the recent rains. We came upon one along the wash that had sufficient water in it that we opted to climb out of the wash. It was also starting to drizzle a little more and we know that a wash is not the best place to be when it rains. Once we hiked up, the rain stopped and the sun came out for a brief appearance. The short appearance by the sun warmed us up a little. We had some fun sliding on our boots down the sandy sides of some of the smaller washes.

We arrived back at the car in the late afternoon. This was expected to be a short 3 mile round trip, but with all the interesting things to see, it took much longer than we planned. I think we all had a great time but we were getting tired and decided to head back to the RV to warm up and prepare our dinner.

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Christmas 2010, Dec 25 – Christmas Hiking

Wahweap Hoodoos

Our Christmas morning started off with a trip to the Wahweap Hoodoos. With the recent rains, getting to them is not a trivial trip. Normally, you could drive within about 1.5 miles relatively easily. A short walk down the Wahweap Wash would bring you into a stunning garden of hoodoos. Today the drive and walk were more challenging. The first indication of challenges ahead was the sign at the beginning of Cottonwood Canyon Road that said the road was closed. A second sign says the road is blocked by a rock fall at the 10 mile marker. We noticed that there were a number of tracks going around the road closure and we knew we only needed to go up Cottonwood Canyon Road a few miles to our turn-off, so we decided we would give the road a try.

You head north from Highway 89 along BLM 400. After about 1 mile you hit BLM Road 431. This is a right turn onto what can best be described as a dirt track. You take this road for about 5 miles where it splits. BLM Road 431 heads to the north (left). You follow the dirt track to the right and go about 6 miles to a dirt turn around. The recent rain had created several large deep washes. You needed a 4 wheel drive vehicle with good clearance. You would also want some experience in driving in these conditions. We needed to make several decisions to properly line up to cross the deep washes. These were dry but very steep on both sides. There are also several gates that we had to open and close as we passed through. We saw several small herds of cattle. I am sure that the rancher would be very unhappy if they were to get out.

When we reached Wahweap wash area, there was a large parking spot and an obvious hikers gate. So we parked off the road and put on our hiking packs. We walked through the gate and headed down to the wash. Corinne had entered the geo-coordinates for the Tower of Silence hoodoo in her GPS so we would be confident we were on the right track. The wash had a good sized river running. It was quite wide, often with sand and gravel islands strewn thorough-out. The water was red-brown from eroded mud and was running very fast. Along most of the water course, the wash was relatively deep; probably 4 to 6 inches. We were wearing hiking shoes, not boots, so we had to find narrow places to cross. Upstream from the hoodoos, there was a shear wall and the water ran right to the edge leaving no place to pass. By backtracking a short distance, we found a safe and dry way across. Sadly, there was no place to cross back to the side with the hoodoos when we got past the shear cliff. So we ended up taking pictures from across the wash.

The Wahweap hoodoos are quite different from the Toadstools. The Wahweap Hoodoos have solid white bases with brilliant red tops. They are arranged as if in a garden. There are large magnificent titans and small child-like ones. The spire they call the Tower of Silence is large and pure white. It does not have the red top. It sits a little off from the rest of the hoodoos. We spent about an hour walking back and forth along the river taking pictures and admiring these majestic sentinels.We headed back to the car and as we drove back along the dirt road, we noticed several very large hoodoos off in the distance. They were a fair distance away, possibly 3 miles, and were obviously very large. We found a road that veered off to the left and decided to follow it, to see if we could get close enough to this group of hoodoos to take some pictures. After about a mile we passed through a cattle gate we ended up on a large plateau. We took a few nice photographs and looked around the edges of the slopes that seemed to surround us on three sides. We saw that the road went down one of the slopes from the plateau. After a brief discussion, we decided to head down the road in the Jeep. The terrain gave Shawn several opportunities to practice 3 wheel driving. At the bottom of the hill, we were surprised to find a tiny tidy wood shack nestled in the shear white cliffs. It looked empty, but recently inhabited and well cared for. The road continued a little way further down a wash where we found a large water tank. There seemed no road past the tank, so we turned and made our way back to Cottonwood Canyon Road.
 
Eagle Sink
 
Once we got back to Highway 89, we turned west towards Kanab, UT. Corinne suggested we head to a feature on the map called Eagle Sink. We had no description of this feature, but it looked like a reasonably easy hike and had an interesting name. We got to the turn off at BLM 730 and decided to park the Jeep. It was getting cloudy and breezy and felt much colder. On the map, it looked like a 2 mile hike on dirt roads to the feature. It turned out to be a very good idea to walk because the road which headed south and sloped downward was very wet with deep, sticky mud. Our shoes were quickly covered in this gooey mud that made them twice as heavy on our feet. Corinne called them Frankenstein-shoes. After about 1 mile, the road turned west on BLM 720 and the road got drier and the walking got easier. After a short 0.5 mile walk, BLM 730 reappeared and we took it southward. We could see a large escarpment in the distance, and Shawn thought that would be when our route would take us. After about 1.0 mile the road crosses BLM 722 and then turns to the right and heads up the hill. In about 0.75 miles you come to the large escarpment. Eagle Sink is a large sink-hole just to the north of the wall. It is essentially a large round hole that drops about 100 ft straight down. We spent about 30 minutes walking around the sink and taking pictures from various sides since the sun’s angle seemed to put the hole in shadows from most directions. We didn’t see any eagles, but we did hear some birds roosting on the walls. We headed back to the car, glad we had taken the trip, but also happy to return to the warm comfort of our vehicle. In total, it was probably a 5 mile roundtrip from the Jeep to Eagle Sink.
 
 
More photos from our hikes are available at the following links:
 
 
 

 

Christmas 2010, Dec 24 – Hiking, Mud and Deep Water

Toadstools

We were up early and off to find the “Toadstools”. The parking area was a gravel lot on Highway 89 between mile markers 19 and 20. When we arrived, there were not other cars in the lot. The air was cold and crisp and it was sunny. The ground sparkled with frost as we found our way through the gate. Prince was in heaven. He tore around in circles in the pure delight of running really fast.

He settled down and we head up the wash following the foot prints made by those that had come before us. It was a fairly short and easy walk up the wash and over a small ridge. The “Toadstools” appear before you as you crest the small hill. It was beautiful.  The morning sun was still low in the east. It brought out reds and the whites of the rocks and enhanced the shadows. The sky was an intense blue which provided a wonderful background to “Toadstools”.

We stayed for about an hour, taking pictures exploring the area. We returned back down the wash towards the parking area. We ran into another couple arriving as we got back to the parking lot. We wished them a Merry Christmas.

 
 
 
 
 
Pahreah Town Site
 
Pahreah (pronounced pa-re-ah) is a small town site that is most famous for being the location for a series of westerns, staring actors such as Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. There is good description of the town at the turn-off from Highway 89. There is a gravel and mud road that meanders down to the town site. The road is about 5 miles long.

We never made it to the town site. The road was still too wet to drive on. The car that went before us was sliding down the hill on slick clay mud. Corinne and I decided that it was better to head back and try on another day.

Buckskin Gulch

We next headed for Buckskin Gulch. We arrived at the turn-off from Highway 89 at BLM Road 700 and found a hand written warning at the information sign that the road had been washed out about 4 miles in from the junction. We decided to try the road. We made good progress until a spot where a wash cut the road. Corinne would not let me forge the river in the Jeep. She knew we were close to the trail head, so we parked the Jeep and found a place where we could cross the stream. We found the trailhead after a short walk, made our $20 payment to the BLM and started down the trail. The trail from Buckskin Gulch heads down along a tributary toward Paria River. The route leads to a series of slot canyons. The trail in this area is really a cow path that meanders back and forth across the stream. For approximately three quarters of a mile, we were able to find our way across the wash without soaking our feet, but eventually the stream came to a narrow point between steep rocks walls. There was no way to cross that would not result in wet feet. We decided that we really did not want wet feet so we followed the rock cliffs back to the north. We eventually found our way to the top of the rocky ledges. We took some time to admire the view, which was spectacular, and have some lunch. Prince got restless and whined until we pushed on. We found a new route back down into the canyon and headed back to the Jeep.

Page, AZ

Corinne suggested we head down the highway to Page, AZ.  I wanted to fill up with gas. I assumed that no stores would be open on Christmas Day. Page describes itself as the most remote city in the lower 48 states. The town was created by the companies that built Glen Dam. It was in remarkably good shape. It was very clean and buildings looked well maintained. It has all of the stores that we have come to expect in rural America; lots of fast food joints, and a Walmart.We wanted to take some pictures of the Glen Canyon Dam and the Colorado River as it comes out the dam. The canyon south of the dam is maybe a mile across and mile deep. There is an scenic overlook behind the Denny’s Restaurant. It has been recently renovated and provides a wonderful view of Glen Canyon Dam. Corinne snapped a number of pictures.We went further south to the lookout the Horseshoe Bend. The view area is about a 1 mile walk from the parking lot. The overlook is located on a sheer cliffside that is about a 1,000 ft above the river where it has a 270 degree turn. Corinne noted that there are no barriers or even signs telling people to stay back from the edge. We walked around the edge a little way. Corinne pointed out that from our new vantage point, it was obvious that the place where everyone stood was just an overhang…Oh my!
 
 
The sun was well to the west by the time we arrived and one side of the river was in shadow but the other side was brightly lit by the sun. Corinne took a bunch of pictures. However, I am not sure that a picture will adequately depict the scale of the cliffs and river. It was an impressive sight. Walking back to the Jeep, Corinne stopped to chat with a native American woman who was selling necklaces and earrings that she had displayed on some towels and blankets along the side of the path. Corinne bought a couple of delicate silver necklaces with polished stones and the woman expressed great gratitude that we had stopped and helped her financially. She wished us a very happy holiday.

After viewing the river, we started to head back to the RV. On the way, I found a spray carwash and got some of the sticky clay mud off the Jeep. We made another stop on a small road that allowed us to get some pictures of he dam from the southeast side of the dam. However, a small set of red rock formations provided more interest. The late afternoon sun really brought out the reds in the rocks and provided interesting shadows them to give them “personality”.

Back at the RV Park we made several stops. Corinne was hoping to get some pictures across the lake of the spires and a set of arches. The park has been thoroughly redone in the recent past. They have added several architecturally interesting shelters. After some photo stops, we headed back to the RV for dinner. While I write this Corinne is busy decorating the RV with lights and gel stickers we brought from home. The RV is looking very festive and the “Tur-duck-hen” is starting to smell really good!

Christmas 2010, Dec 23 – Las Vegas to Wahweap

We were up at our usual time for typical weekdays. Prince was ready for his morning hike. We took him out to his normal weekday hike at the place we call Rainbow Mountain, which is a hill on the south end of Rainbow Blvd. Then we returned home and completed our packing. This usually means everything in the fridge and freezer has to be transferred to the RV. Corinne tries to prepare most of our meals in advance. This makes it easy to prepare dinner after a day spent out enjoying the area. When we go for more than a couple of days, it means that the portable fridge gets put into service. We were all packed up and had the jeep attached by a few minutes after 9:00 am.The traffic was heavy on I-15 northbound and there was an accident at Craig Road that caused a slowdown. Once we cleared the city, the traffic thinned out. There were a lot of Utah folks heading home after their bowl game in Las Vegas. I set the cruise control at 65 mph and enjoyed the ride. The great thing about driving in the desert is that the traffic is rarely heavy and there is lots of room for the speedsters to get around me.

We stopped as the highway enters the cut between Arizona and Utah to take some pictures of the very swollen Virgin River. We have had quite a bit of rain in the past few days. It has caused a good deal of flooding in out-lying areas. Most of the time the Virgin River would be best characterized as a creek. Last fall, returning from a trip to St. George we couldn’t see any water in the river bed.

We stopped for lunch at a small gas station near Pipe Springs National Monument. Prince and I stretched our legs while Corinne made lunch. It was raining and cold. The tomato bisque went down very nicely.

We arrived at Wahweap in the late afternoon and after some jockeying around and accosting a Park Ranger, we found the RV park. Corinne went in and registered us at the campground store. There was only one other camper in the park, so getting a spot wasn’t much of a problem.

We are in camping spot A5 and have a beautiful view of the lake and spires on the opposite shore. It only took us a few minutes to get settled and we were off to take Prince for his evening stroll. We took him down to the beach. He took a quick run in the water and gave it a taste, but it must have been cold; he didn’t stay in very long. We followed the beach towards the marina that houses the fleet of houseboats that are rented out in the summer. The sun was setting behind us over the hill, but as it set it lit the spires across the lake. The sun brought out the yellows and red hues of the rocks and created deep shadows behind each spire. Corinne lamented the lack of a camera.We headed back to the RV and Corinne snapped a couple shots with the camera before the sun finally set. Corinne prepared us a dinner of salad and shepherds pie with a sweet potato topping. After dinner we settled in to watch a movie.

Christmas 2010 – Trip planning

Getting ready to go on a trip is always a challenge around our house. I am pretty much ready to go from the time the idea of the trip formulates in my head. Corinne on the other hand needs lot s of preparation. Further, she can never quite organize her work life so that she is not working to some ungodly hour of the night for the few days before we leave. Now I have to say she always manages to pull it together by the end. However, by the time we finally get out the door, she is exhausted and I am thoroughly annoyed. You would think, since that this happens almost every time we take a trip that one of us would change but no, we never seem to quite manage to adjust!

The other challenge with a trip is the planning need. I have no need to plan and Corinne must research every detail. This has been true since the day we decided to take our first trip together. I will be the first to admit that there are times when Corinne’s planning has really paid off for us. However, throwing the schedule out the window has created many unplanned but fun experiences. In this area, we have found a good middle ground.

Getting ready to go on an extended trip in the RV or on Ocean Mistress does require some planning. Engines need to be serviced, systems checked, supplies laid in and clothes packed. We also spend a good deal of time discussing where we want to go. The more recent years we have also talked about a Plan B. That is especially true when we are planning a trip to a more remote area.

This year we are planning to head out on Thursday December 23, 2010. We are heading for a campground called Wahweap RV Park and Marina. It is located on Lake Powell.  It is near Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks and the north rim of Grand Canyon National Park are within a few hours drive. We tend toward finding the National Monuments and National Forests because we are allowed to take Prince hiking there in most cases. No dogs allowed in the National Parks except in campgrounds and on the paved sidewalks near visitor centers.

Corinne has pulled together some excellent maps of the area identifying a large number of potential hikes. If the weather gets too cold or we just need a change, we will head south to Sedona, AZ.

Winter Wanderings

Christmas tends to be a very quiet time in the business. Unfortunately, it was even more so than most years. It usually provides a rare opportunity for Corinne and I to get away with relatively few day-to-day pressures. That wasn’t so much the case this year but we still managed to get away.

The goals of the trip were to find warmer weather, great hiking and play a little golf. We managed to find some great hiking and play a little golf but it was a cold Christmas and New Year in the southwestern desert.

We purchased a used 29 foot Recreational Vehicle (RV) last Christmas. We had a great time learning the ins and outs of RVing. This year we replaced the RV with a slightly larger, albeit older “diesel pusher”. The one up side of the economic depression is that there are some absolutely great deals to be had by those that have a little cash in their jeans. We took delivery of our new (1997) almost never been used Country Coach on day before Christmas Eve. Shawn immediately took the opportunity to bash it into a wall at an entrance arch into a campground. Yep, $23,0000 damage in the first hour. Shawn was devastated. We were pretty sure our trip was off. However, to our surprise a local RV body shop was working on Christmas Eve and happened to be the favorite (turns out these guys are the only) body ship for RV’s according to our insurance company. They agreed to assess the damage and help us to a piece of plywood over the bashed in rear port (that’s left for you non-boaters) window. It turns out we were going to be able to get away despite the bad beginning.

We were off the next morning, Christmas Day! Our ultimate destination was a large Arizona (AZ) State Park just outside of Tucson. Christmas day we drove from Las Vegas to Wikieup, AZ. There is not much in Wikieup but two pretty nice RV parks. We stayed at the Hidden Oasis RV Park, which is the more rustic of the two. It had the advantage that it bordered a couple thousand acres of BLM land. That afternoon we took Prince for a longish walk up the washes on the BLM land to a rock outcrop overlooking the valley. It was really beautiful.

Wikieup is at the northern edge of the Sonora Desert. It is also at the northern edge of the saguaro cactus that is famous from all the old westerns. These cacti are huge and tend to grow in colonies of long straight lines that give the desert a strange stretched look. This is especially true when the sun is beginning to set and the long shadows stretching away for the cactus enhance the effect.

The number and variety of the scat that we found in the wash impressed Prince (bunnies, coyotes, cows, squirrels, deer, etc.). In Prince’s world they are all “mouses”, except coyotes, which are called “Wiley” after Wiley E. Coyote of cartoon fame. We actually ran into a coyotes walking back to the camp. Prince gave chase. Fortunately, Prince is getting a little older and slower and doesn’t chase as far as he used to do!

The next morning we were up early and out for another walk. Then we head off to the outskirts of Phoenix. We stopped in Buckeye, AZ. This was the only disappointment during the entire trip. The Woodall’s campground guide gave the impression that golf and great hiking were nearby. They were close if you had a car but otherwise the advertised activities were a little too far to walk. So we made the best of things and spent the late afternoon walking around the park.

The next stop was Catalina State Park located just outside of Tucson. This was a combination wilderness hiking and horseback-riding park. These are the type of trails that balance the challenge and length that we all like. They also tend to be under populated which means that despite leash regulation Prince gets to do some off-leash backcountry hiking. We walked part of the 8-mile loop trail in the afternoon and then did the entire loop the next day. It was one of the longer and more physically difficult hikes that we had done in a number of years. There was a very significant elevation gain. The backside of the hike had a “rock” road that was particularly dangerous with its ankle twisting boulders. The difficulty gave the completion of the trail a feeling of accomplishment. We all slept well that night.

The next morning we were off to Yuma. We were still looking for warmer weather. The days had been mostly cold and cloudy and we were ready for a nice day or two. We decided to stay at the Cocopah RV Resort. It advertised an 18-hole golf course and dog park. The park is located on an Indian Reservation. It was very well run and had the amenities as advertised. It worked out well for Corinne and I, as we got to play golf. However, Prince felt the dog park was not to his liking and disapproved of the limited number and duration of the walks.

The weather improved significantly during our stay. It was possible to play gold in short-sleeves shirts until the late afternoon as the sun was setting. However, while in Yuma, we had an earthquake that was reported to have started just south of Yuma in Mexico. It measured 5.8 on the Richter scale and really shook things up.

The next day we started to head north toward Las Vegas. We drove north along the Colorado River. This is a beautiful drive. The road meanders back and forth through farming country (pecans and vegetables), hard desert and eventually along the river.

Our next stop was La Paz County Park just north of Parker, AZ. We were surprised how large and spread out the park was. Although, it did not have great hiking, the gravel roads and beachfront sidewalks inside park trail provide a couple miles of walking with at least half meandering along the river. Prince was allowed to swim in the river and had a great time playing and wading in the water. On Saturday morning there was a flea market. We walked through it before the crowds showed up and picked up a few things for the RV.

We also got a chance to play 9-holes at the golf course across the street from the county park. The course was beautiful and very challenging. Unfortunately, they had too many players on the course and it took nearly 5 hours to play 9-holes. Furthermore, after a beautiful start to the day, it started to cloud over and get quite cool in the afternoon.

The next and last stop was in Davis Camp in Bullhead City, AZ. This is another county run park. It was also quite spread out. However, this park had a wonderful little forest of tamarisk trees that provided lots of excellent hiking and “mouse” hunting for Prince. Since it was along the river, it also gave Prince lots of opportunities to play and wade in the water.

All in all, it was a good trip. The weather was a little disappointing but we did get lots of exercise, found some new parks and hiking trails. We also played a little golf. This added a new and interesting dimension to our RV experience.

The following link will take you to a Google/Picasa photo album of a few pictures from our trip –

https://picasaweb.google.com/106279476688790953440/XmasTripInArizona

 

No Room at the Park

I hate hearing there is “No room at the park” arriving at one of our favorite State or National Parks.  Living in Las Vegas during the winter means that we are blessed with several dozen State and National Parks or Recreation areas within a 4 to 5 hour drive.  We are destination oriented, meaning that we have a very specific place in mind when we plan our trips. When there is no room for our recreational vehicle (RV) we are very disappointed.

Last weekend we packed up and headed for Valley of Fire, a Nevada State Park.  This might be one of the best state parks in the country.  It has great hiking, breath taking geology and ancient and modern history all wrapped up in one park.  It is by far one of our favorite destinations.  Unfortunately, due to work challenges we did not get away as early as we hoped.   By the time we arrived, the local camp host was putting out the “No camp sites left” signs. 

A friendly park ranger suggested that we try either Echo Bay campground on Lake Mead or the mesa overlooking Overton (Snowbird Mesa).  He recommended the mesa saying that it had the other advantage that it was free!  We phoned Echo Bay campground, but it was also booked solid.  When we drove by Snowbird Mesa, we noticed that there were hardly any RVs and they were very dispersed.  It was getting late in the day, and Prince was well into a campaign to remind us that it was time for his walk.  So we decided to take a chance!

Snowbird Mesa is located about 5 miles south of Overton on Highway 169 on top a plateau.  The area is part of the Lake Mead National Area but is managed by the Bureau of Reclamation.  There are spots to park an RV on both sides of the road.  There are no services, so this is what is really meant by the term “boondocking” or “dry camping”.  The top of the Mesa covers several square miles.  The Mesa spreads out from the highway along several “fingers” with canyons interconnecting below.  The RVs were well spread out.  A neighbor we spoke to later in the weekend indicated that many of the RVs had been here since the late fall, but many had started to break camp and head north.

We found a spot away from the other RVs that gave us a good view of the landscape from our windows.  Once we finished the usual coach shut down and leveling procedures, we were off with Prince to see if we could find a spot for a brief hike. 

We found a road built by the electric company that led down into a deep wash/canyon.  What a find! It was cooler and sheltered down below the mesa on a warm and windy afternoon.  The canyon opened out into a series washes and canyons.  Since there had been a lot of rain this year, the water had worked its magic on the canyon walls causing landslides.  In some places, the canyon was completely blocked by fallen mud.  The water had carved out large mud fingers that were molded into new distorted statues.  Even a casual examination of the wash affirmed the power of water when it gets moving in the wash.

We walked a couple of miles down the wash finding new and interesting surprises around every corner.  We had not brought water or dog treats, so we decided to cut the walk short for the afternoon.   Returning to the RV we found the sun starting set over the western hills.

The next morning, we decided we would set out on a longer walk giving the Mesa a closer examination.  The view from the top of the Mesa was amazing.  Snow-capped mountains rose up in the east, the canyons and washes cut meandering lines in the desert landscape.  To the north, the town of Overton peaks out from around the hills.  There were electric lines heading in several directions across the desert.  Although this add unfortunate scars to the view, the electric company has placed maintenance road along the lines and these roads make excellent hiking trails.  We followed one of the roads that headed across one of the branches of the Mesa.  We followed it to the southeast.  It followed along the edge of one of the canyon/washes then up and over a hill.  The view continually changes as you go through the various elevations.  The cacti were just starting to sprout buds and in a few more weeks they would be covered with flowers.  At several points the road we followed branched out.  One of these branches led down into a wash.  We decided that since it was warming up, we would find some cooler hiking areas for Prince if we walked down into the wash.  After a couple of miles, we ran into a marker (a can with some rocks) that we had seen the previous day, indicating that we had intersected the wash we walked in the previous afternoon.  We headed up the wash eventually arriving back where we started.  It was the perfect loop hike which we all enjoyed.

Sunday morning found us up and out early.  We were headed across the highway to explore another electric line road.  The road wound its way down to the bottom of the wash about 500 ft below the top of the Mesa.  We found the Gypsum Mine transit road at the bottom.  Heading north towards the town of Overton, we followed the road along a wash that was a half mile wide in places.  When we got down to the processing plant, we crossed the wash and followed the electrical line road back.  There were an amazing number of small animal prints in the freshly blown sand.  A lot of the prints were reptiles but some were desert hares and squirrels and coyote. 

 As we finished our hike, it was warming up and Prince was tired.  We got ourselves underway for the trip home within.  However, we had to make a short stop in Overton to get an ice cream cone, something that always add a sweet conclusion to a lovely trip.

We had a great weekend at an unexpected location.  We would definitely go back as we barely cracked the potential of the area.  For those that also want some of the benefits of a nearby town.  Overton offers a museum, several hardware stores, groceries and a great ice cream store.