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2009 Trip Report - Gold Butte, Nevada -MOE

Gold Butte, Nevada Run - MOE

November 13 & 15 2009

By Dan Messersmith

Friday, November 13

The trip was scheduled to depart from Kingman Regional Medical Center in Kingman  at 8:30am and at the appointed time, only Dan Messersmith and Ted Kalil were on  site. I had received word the night before that Dick could not make the trip  although he really had wanted to go. Ted and I were off and on our way to  Overton, NV to meet with the rest of our group. I made a quick stop at the Alan  Bible Visitors Center (Lake Mead Visitors Center) to buy my lifetime pass for  National Parks as I had just recently turned the magic number of years to do so.

We arrived in Overton a bit late as the traffic at Hoover Dam and construction  along Lake Meade slowed our progress. Everyone who was expected had arrived and  we joined them in the Lins Market parking lot. Waiting for us were: Alan Hodes,  Bob & Karen Monsen, Mal & Jean Roode, Mignon Slentz, and David & Bobbie Vick.  After getting introduced, we used the services of Lins deli to gather in our  lunches before heading out.

After lunch we made a quick stop for last gas at the Maverick Station before  heading out of town and up onto Mormon Mesa. The Monsens ran sweep for me.  Making our way over to the eastern edge of the mesa, we turned northerly and  worked our way along the edge enjoying the beautiful fall colors along the  Virgin River valley below. After a short time I announced that we

had arrived at Double Negative. A large chunk of dug dirt and rock from two  areas of a small indentation of the mesa that line up across a short divide from  each other. Some call this art. (the artist did) Some have doubts. All enjoyed  the stop and the discussion of what is art once more. You can Google it and find  out more information about it. This work may challenge folks to appreciate art  for arts sake. If nothing else, it provokes one think about it, and I believe  that is what art is all about.

Continuing on a northerly direction we finally got to the power line road and  took it easterly until it dropped (almost quite literally) off the mesa. I just  asked that everyone trust me and follow me over the edge as they observed my  rear differential and bumper disappear from sight.

All followed and enjoyed the steep, winding trail down to a wash that we would  take northerly. The wash is an easy run to an even nicer graded road that takes  you back up on the mesa to the old highway that parallels Interstate 15. A quick  stop for a comfort break and then easterly to where the old highway winds itself  back down off of the mesa once more to the modern Riverside, NV road.

Crossing the Virgin River at Riverside, we immediately turned right on the far  side of the bridge and headed out into the Nevada Strip toward Gold Butte. The  map I have calls this the Old Overton Road, which may account for why so much of  it is old pavement.

When we reached the end of the pavement, we searched for a campsite around the  rock formations called Whitney Pockets. After a short search, we found a place  and set up an early camp. Mignon, dragged in a bunch of firewood and I brought  out some wood I was carrying for that purpose as others set up their camps. Soon  got a fire going for warmth and ambiance and cocktail hour began.

We enjoyed our fire, cocktails and dinners for the evening and retired to our  respective camps for the evening.

Saturday, November 14

The group got up around sun up and Mignon got us a morning fire going. We were  on the road by about 8:30am. The road was very dusty and we had to spread out a  bit to keep from choking. The Monsons were running sweep for me again and kept  everyone in line.

Our first stop was the Devils Throat. This is a large sink hole in the desert  and has been fenced off for safety purposes. After all had an opportunity to  look it over and take pictures we took the trail westerly to do the west loop of  the Gold Butte Back Country By-way. This is a narrow but scenic route. When we  dropped into a wash it would take us by a large formation of red rocks which  contained a nice set of petroglyphs. We stopped and took time for folks to take  them in.

Moving on towards Gold Butte, we continued to enjoy the great rock formations  and strata that make up the area. Karen, who has been taking some geology  classes, was able to fill us in on a good number of the formations we were  observing.

When we reached Gold Butte, we took in the sites and everyone broke out their  lunch provisions. After a leisurely lunch and visit, we headed southerly along  the Scanlon Ferry Road to find a trail that would take us down to the lake for  our second camp for the trip. We made a couple of stops along the way to allow  for the gathering of coyote melons as Mignon collected them to sell to artists  who painted the gourds and in turn sold them at craft shows. When we arrived at  Catclaw Wash we started our gradual descent. It was an easy drive. A short way  down the trail we encountered a lone bovine that all presumed was the cattle  guard we kept seeing

signs about.

Enjoying our drive, Mal eventually called out over his CB that his GPS had just  put us in Lake Mead proper as it still showed it at a higher level. We would  eventually be 120 to 150 feet below the high water mark \for the lake. In the  lead, I was searching for a way down to a great looking sight near the water. I  took first one route and then another. On the second attempt I found myself in  deep sand and I got stuck. A bit of digging and lower tire pressure allowed me  to back up into more stable ground and get out of the soft stuff. A third  attempt at a route to the beach was successful and we all got down near the  water.

This part of the lake is actually part of the Virgin River drainage area and  what is more commonly known as the Overton Arm of the lake. Our camp was  approximately 7 miles north of where the Virgin River and Colorado River joined  prior to the lake being formed.

As we were setting up camp a Park Ranger boat made its way in to check us out.  The two young men were Ranger Steve Glaser and Ranger Greg Johnson. Several of  us went down to the water to greet them and we had a nice conversation with them  as they asked the questions they need to ask as part of their duties. One of  their first comments was that they didnt see many groups like us in this area as  it took a great deal of effort to get to where we were located. When we told  them we were from Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah, they were even more  impressed with our efforts.

They were very good at their jobs and offered some trash bags which I accepted  as I had not brought any large ones. I gave them my card and got their names for  my log and they were on their way.

We gathered firewood again for the night with Mignon in the lead. As it was  still early, I took Buddy for a walk along the shore and he had a great time  running in and out of the water along the way. The only thing that would have  made him happier was to have had Sassy there to chase and be chased.

Cocktail hour came around and we enjoyed the early campfire and fellowship. As  it got darker, we had a great sunset to observe and most took time to get their  dinner.

After sunset, we enjoyed the fire some more before retiring for the night. That  evening, a hard wind blew most of the night.

Sunday, November 15

Camp was up and moving by sun up and Mignon had a morning fire going to greet us  once more. We would head for home today and did not have much of an itinerary  planned.

We got going after breakfast and headed back up the wash. About half-way up we  encountered another single bovine, different from the day before and someone  commented the cattle guards must have changed over night.

When we reached Gold Butte, we stopped for a little while and Mignon had to look  at her engine as her engine service light had come on. After a good look, it was  suspected that the dust was messing up her sensors and we moved on.

Folks had asked if we could go up to Whitney Pass on our way out as some of them  had not seen the pass before and I agreed it would make a nice side trip. After  I got them to the top, I decided to take them around to the BLMs Whitney Pass  Administrative Site as it has a great view of the valley and Arizona Strip area.

We got to the site and enjoyed the views for some time. As we were planning on  going out via the Old Overton Highway, several folks asked if it would be OK to  go out Lime Kiln Canyon instead. I agreed to take them out that way and it was a  good call. It was a beautiful drive and certainly nicer than retracing our  steps. Several of our travelers had never been through Lime Kiln Canyon.

We got to the Lime Kiln Canyon Pass and stopped for one final view of the  Arizona Strip and then began the descent into the canyon and on to Mesquite, NV.

At Mesquite, folks got gas and headed for home. Buddy and I again went via  Overton back towards the lake and Hoover Dam. Mignon came along until we got to  Rogers Springs. Buddy and I would stop so Buddy could have a swim and Mignon  headed for her home in Boulder City.

It was another good trip for the books and the smell of wet dog all the way home  made it worth it the stop to see Buddy play in the deep water spring and chase  the little fish.