2009 Trip Report - Willow Beach
February 22, 2009
By Dick Taylor
Sunday Feb. 22, Ten rigs with Twenty Adventurous People, plus Four dogs made the off road trip to Willow Beach. The starting point was Calicos Restaurant for coffee, breakfast and discussion of the coming event. Six rigs left the restaurant at 8 AM to pick up four more at the Dolan Springs turn off to make up out ten rigs, Following are the folks and pups that made the trip.
Dick & Connie Taylor & their dog Sassy, Dan Messersmith & his dog Buddy, Jim & Jeannie Jacobs, Charles & Mary Hughes, Larry & Edna Brown, Shelley Lossing, Sue Baughman, Elke Meister, Ingrid Purder & her dog Scotty, Buck & Karol Buckler, Mike Jose, Bob & Sue Jaussaud & their dog Toby, & Gail & Donna Andress.
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After getting us all bunched up & on doing a radio check our first task was finding the turn off to get us started on our dirt roads. After a little coaching from the Dolan Springs bunch we made a left turn on 7th St and picked up the road.
Our first adventure started as we were working our way through a bunch of twists and turns to get on the straight as a string road we needed to be on. The leader had an old beat up copy of a Delorme Arizona map and the sweep had real neat set of topo maps of the area. A number of questions came up on how our leader managed to get us on the right road. In his defense the leader stated either he was good or he was lucky. The group opinion was lucky. I take this opportunity to thank Dan for the maps and all his help in navigating this trip. We were surprised to see all the new BLM Route markers posted along the road. The comment was made that when a map is published showing these marked routes navigating efforts will be a lot easier.
At our first closed gate we were informed by Gail Andress about an interesting area to our left at the base of the mountain. We all agreed that with so many interesting place we could see that we could not do them all in one trip. One of the goals of this run was to visit a number of old mine sites around the Gold Bug and Mohave mines.
With some more map noodling to find these mines Bob & Sue ran across what looked like an old dugout structure on the side of the mountain. Being we were hot on the trail to our main mine site we passed this area by, Disappointment was in order as we found our mine had been brought back to life. With today's price of gold this mine was being worked and was posted no trespassing as well as having a locked gate across the road. This didn't make us feel welcome and after some discussion we returned to the dugout that Bob & Sun had found. The group had a great time exploring the area and found many old foundations and something that looked like it could have been an old arrastra. Bob using his best sales pitch was certain that we had made a real find. In his attempt to prove the point he lost out when he could not find any bare earth where the pivot post could have been. After more discussion the group agreed on this find being an old tank bottom. The dugout looked to be a dynamite storage room. While exiting the area we though we may have observed a gravesite. Dan went over to get a closer look and confirmed it was indeed a grave. Having no head stone or other marked we could only speculate on age and who occupied the sire. We did agree on it being a pleasant place to rest in peace.
Leaving this area we traveled through some country that had been well worked in the past looking for that big find. The road we were on was angling back towards the trail we needed to be on to get to Willow Beach. Knowing we were close to our connection we circled up for lunch. With 10 rigs, 20 folks & 4 dogs lunch was a fine time to visit with friends we have not seen for a while. As lunch was ending there was much discussion on exactly we should intersect the main road. After many map readings and GPS taking Dan went down the wash we were in to do some scouting. He soon returned to announce that the leaders luck was holding and we were pointed in the direction to intersection we were looking for.
Exiting our lunch site we took a pole line road northwest passing a number of mines and quarries. As we were passing under the location of a couple of micro-wave towers we picked up what looked like an old haul road as it was much wider than what we have been traveling. A map check shows us that our turn for Willow Beach was just ahead. This was a narrow almost two-track that took us over the last of the mountain and we started our down hill leg to the river. In our decent the scenery was spectacular. Years of erosion had carved the volcanic mesa into a series of flat top mountains and canyons. Our road down the wash was now truly in Jumbo Wash.
As we entered the Lake Mead National Recreation Area the park service had it well signed and the rules for travel were posted. We were pleased that we did not encounter an entrance station to charge us a fee to enter. Passing though the first approved camping area the question came up about our ability to get down the river in Black Canyon. Some in the group reported seeing vehicles from their boats while on the river where the power lines cross. When we reached the power lines there was a sign on the service road stating Big Horn Cove was just 4.7 miles ahead. Being this close we decided to go for it and hopped on the power line service road.
Now this road turned out to be a real 4wheel drive road. As our decent took us closer to the river it dropped into a narrow canyon. Here the road and the stream shared the same base. Picking our way through the rocks we could see all the different strata in the walls depicting all the material that had been deposited over the eons and then cut by water as it made its way to the river. 4.7 miles doesn’t seem very far and one would think it wouldn't take to long to cover it. Not the case, Our descent was slow going and around each turn another fine sight would greet us. We knew we were getting close as the canyon got wider and was full of all kinds of bushes and trees. The final approach to the river was narrow and we had to park along the road and walk down to the water. What a great sight this great river flowing through the Black Canyon with its sheer walls towering above us. The only thing that could have been better is if we were able to see some of the Big Horn Sheep that inhabit the area,
Our trip out seemed to go much faster and we were soon back to the main road to Willow Beach.
This is where we ended out trip with a visit to their store and some ice cream. A great time was had by all and I thank you all for turning out and making this a fun trip.