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2011 Trip Report - SouthEastern Nevada

Southeastern Nevada

February 11 & 14, 2011

By Leader Dan W. Messersmith  

Friday, February 11: Dick & Connie and Dan & Jan Messersmith made the trip down to Katherine’s  Landing Campground on Lake Mohave and found a couple of good sites in the very  nice camp ground. After setting up our camping units, we headed over to Sam’s  Club to see if they had anything we couldn’t resist buying. We spent a little  money there, but not too much. As we had a fair amount of time left in the day,  Dick took us over to see a nice little beach area on the lake called Telephone  Cove. After a short visit there while the dogs played in the water, we headed up  a trail that would take us up Lower Grapevine Canyon. It was very dramatic and  beautiful, but alas it was a dead end drive. We had hoped it would take us all  the way up to Upper Grapevine Canyon where the major petroglyphs are located. It  was so nice, that we resolved to bring everyone back to enjoy the sights the  next day. We then returned to the highway and went up to Upper Grapevine Canyon so Dick  could see exactly where they were located. Heading back to camp, Dick took us  over the power-line road that leads down into Laughlin, NV. This is a dramatic  little trail with some great views along the way. It is a bit rough in spots and  slow going. Upon our arrival in Laughlin it was decided to eat out for the evening and we  decided to go to the Black Bear Restaurant in Bullhead City rather than fight  the crowds at the Laughlin casinos. Back at camp we retired somewhat early as there was a cold wind and it was too  windy to have a campfire.

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Saturday, February 12: (Better known as: “The Long and Winding Road”) Our meeting point for the Saturday day trip was the park north of the Riverside  Casino and Dick & Connie Taylor and Dan & Jan Messersmith were joined by Ken &  Ava Todd, Larry & Edna Brown, Gary & Cathie Myers, Jim Byrne and Homer Meek  (eventually). As planned, we departed at 8:45am and headed for Telephone Cove, minus Homer who  we expected to be there. Although it was a sunny bright day, it was windy and a  bit on the chilly side, which the wind did not help. We arrived at the cove and  enjoyed the beach area observing that the lake was filled with white caps. The  dogs took to the chilly water, but not for long. After enjoying the area and  using the restroom facilities, we headed up the trail to show the crew Lower  Grapevine Canyon. We slowly drove up the canyon to its dead end, enjoying the fantastic rock  formations and winding trail that intersected the deep wash in numerous areas.  This is a very beautiful canyon and well worth the trip even if it requires a  return trip to get out. Just gives you a great view going both ways. Upon our exit from the canyon and while heading back to the highway, I got a  message signal on my cell phone. It was Homer who was on his way to Grapevine  Canyon (upper section) to hopefully catch up with us. I was able to reach him on  his phone and he had already made it as far as Christmas Tree Pass. We told him  to hold there and we would eventually catch up with him. We stopped at Grapevine Canyon and hiked the 1/4 mile trail up to the  petroglyphs and spring. Sadly, some of the nicest petroglyphs had been removed  by thieves to sell on the black market. The dogs enjoyed the water coming from  the springs and we enjoyed the site in spite of the damage. Returning to our vehicles, we proceeded towards Christmas Tree Pass and Homer.  Along the way I shared a couple of Mohave Indian stories about the area,  including the legend of the Frog People. We saw several rock formations along  the way the people saw as various creatures.Just as we got to the beginning of  the trail up to the pass, we decided to check out a spot called Pipe Springs  Road and see the springs and perhaps have lunch. I took the opportunity to call  Homer and let him know our plans. I found that he was coming down the mountain  to meet up with us, which he did. The Pipe Springs Road ended in about 1/2 mile  and was blocked by wilderness signs and cables. Some folks walked down the road  to see if the springs were nearby, but none were found. We decided it was a good  place for lunch and set up using our vehicles to block the still chilly wind. After lunch we headed up toward the pass and found that people had reestablished  the custom of decorating the trees in the area. There was a time when the BLM  forbid it and took everything out. It was this custom that gave the pass its  name and it was nice to see that folks had not given up the tradition. BLM may  not be happy about it, but I’m not too happy about some of the silly stuff they  do. Over the pass we looked for a road that would take us northerly and did not find  the one we were looking for, so we continued westerly until we found an  alternate route that would get us over to the old Loran Station and on to Empire  Wash road. We worked our way down Empire Wash road enjoying the sights and historic mining  areas. Following the road we would connect with the Power Line road that would  wind its way northerly. This was a great road for lake overviews and observation  of the Arizona side of Lake Mohave. It was also one of those terrain following  roads that never seem to stop. Every once in a while you could see a long  straight road ahead in the distance. This was our objective to take us to Cotton  Wood Cove road and then on to Searchlight, NV. The issue was whether or not we  would ever reach it.

Well, we did reach it and we had a good time doing so. It was a long drive,  but towards the end of the straight section we found an old cemetery. We stopped  to take it in and found it a graveyard for both people and pets. There was a dog  section that bordered the fence line and at the end of the section was one man’s  grave. It reminded me of what I think was a Mark Twain quote, “I don’t know if  dogs go to Heaven, but I want to go where they do.” A Park Ranger came into the site just after we arrived and talked with Dick.  Told him that the site had been grandfathered in when the National Recreation  Area took over the area. He asked Dick if he knew how many people were buried  there, and Dick declared he did not. The Ranger then reeled him in with a  simple, “All of them.” We made our way back to Searchlight and the trip ended there with folks going  their various ways back home, to Laughlin or in our case back to camp.

Sunday, February 13: We met again at the park north of the Riverside Casino and were on the trail by  8:45am. Homer made it today. Our numbers were less today but we had some new  participants. Along with the Taylors, Messersmiths and Homer, we had Charles &  Mary Hughes and Keith Schweizer from Las Vegas. We had decided to make today a shorter journey and headed down the highway to  pick up the MoJave Road which we would take over to Fort Paiute. We found the trail and took it up through the washes and trails that would take  us over the hill and on. It was, as usual, a great drive in the desert. We saw a  number of hawks posing on rock tops looking for a meal and even a roadrunner  doing the same. It was noted when we saw cairns as many had been replaced by BLM trail markers.  We enjoyed the mostly sandy roads with a few twists, turns, dips and inclines  along the way. After crossing U.S. 95, we encountered the rockier plain that would take us to  Fort Paiute. When we got to the fort we found that it had been fenced off and  you could no longer drive down to the stream that ran below the fort. Lots of  kiosks had been put up and small foot trails installed by the National Park  Service. Some noted it was not an improvement. We decided to do our lunch stop there and enjoyed a nice social time while we  fed our bellies. After lunch, we headed back toward the Power Line road that would take us south  towards other things to see. At the Power Line, Keith said he wanted to head  back to Las Vegas so he took the line north towards Searchlight. We found this trail to be both straighter and much less wash boarded than the  prior days run and we made good time across it. At one point I had planned to  take a longer route but missed the turn ending up rejoining our Power Line road.  As it would take us down to old U.S. 66 we just continued on it enjoying the  desert scenery. As we approached the area of old U.S. 66 we encountered a railroad crossing and  one of the longest trains I have ever seen. From our early perspective, some  miles out, we could see the entire train which seemed to stretch forever. When  we reached the tracks, it was still crossing the road and we had to wait. Just  before it cleared the crossing, another train from the opposite direction  started across the crossing and we had to wait for it too. It was not as long as  the first and our wait was not long. Crossing the track it was only a short distance to old U.S. 66. We had thought  about going to Goffs for a visit, but decided to head on back towards home. We got back to U.S. 95 and headed north towards the Laughlin turn-off. After we  made that turn, the Hughes’ asked if we had ever been to Hiko Spring. As none of  the rest of us had, they took the lead and took us to the site. It was an area  just off of the earliest road through the canyons and provided a water source  for travelers along the route. It was a site of petroglyphs both ancient and  modern. Terribly overgrown with underbrush, only the dogs could get to the  water. Some of the historic petroglyphs were: G.A. Lane 1898, F. Holms (Holmes?) no  date and Dr. Benson 1911. (A Google search did not turn up any information on  these names that I could connect to the time or place.) After our visit there we made our way back to homes, hotel or camp. Another  great day in the desert was on the books.

Monday, February 14: Dick & Connie and Jan & I went out to breakfast then returned to camp. Jan & I  packed up our trailer and headed for home. Dick & Connie were going to go over  to Laughlin and play some of the games available at that location.