2011 Trip Report - Piute Wilderness
Piute Mountains Wilderness
February 19 and 20, 2011
written by Leader Mal Roode
The weather for this trip was forecast to be cold, wet and windy. In spite of the weather, eleven people participated - Steve and Debbie Marschke, Glenn Shaw, Mignon Slentz, Ron Lipari, Bob Jaussaud, Nelson Miller, Ellen Miller, and Charles and Mary Hughes.
We met at Essex at 0830 where Bob Jaussaud pointed out an old building. He said that when it was open for business they sold pickled quail eggs among other things.
Our first stop was yet another old WW II desert training base. Bob Jaussaud found it years ago. There were rock alignments and some stakes but not much else.
Our second stop was at some hunting blinds on top of a hill that Glenn spotted. There were quite a few of them and they look like they were possibly made by Native Americans. I have just heard from Joe de Kehoe that these hunting blinds are probably observation sites for war games that took place out there during WW II.
We slowly made our way through the Piute Mountains climbing up about 1300 feet to about 3600 feet. We stopped for lunch at some impressive boulders. Descending the other side we saw Ward Valley open up before us and we could see all the way to Lake Havasu. We stopped several more times at interesting looking places. At the last stop we walked around a short weathered red sandstone bluff. We found a few petroglyphs there.
We made it to our camp spot near Sunflower Springs at about 15:30. Tables were set up and happy hour and pot luck were under way with an assortment of delicious foods. Ron brought out his 45,000 Btu portable heater for those who wanted an alternative to a campfire. After dinner we were dazzled by light shows. There was a thunderstorm to the Northeast and we could see the lightning far away. As the moon rose slowly on the horizon it was a beautiful yellow orange. Then we started seeing strange lights to the East. At first we thought they were from a train or a car or maybe even fireworks. Steve got his binoculars out and verified they were indeed fireworks. We thought maybe they were from Lake Havasu.
During the night it rained a little. Ron's heater was a popular spot as the temperature was 36 degrees Sunday morning. We got underway about 08:30 and soon found ourselves at Painted Rock. We found water, pictographs and petroglyphs and a cave we crawled through which led to an opening in the side of the rock where you could see the water far down below. This was an awesome site and after about 2 hours of exploring I left the group in the capable hands of Bob Jaussaud. I headed North to Essex then to home and work.
Thanks to everyone for attending and supporting me on my first trip. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!