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2017 - Trip Report - Plomosa Mountains and Dripping Springs

Plomosa Mountains and Dripping Springs

by Bill Powell

Our group met up outside the Rondy HQ at 9:00 a.m. and convoyed to Quartzsite, AZ where we regrouped before continuing onward.  The expedition consisted of nine vehicles and 17 intrepid Explorers including, leaders Bob Jacoby and Bill Powell, Ron Ross, Nancy Maclean, Eileen and Terry Ogden, Bill and Julie Smith, Marian and Neal Johns, Joan and Ted Berger, Fredrick Raab, Danny and Norma Siler, Steve Jarvis, and Kate Fesselman.

From Quartzsite, we drove North on AZ 95 and then turned right onto Plomosa Road (aka Bouse Highway). About six miles later, we turned left off of the pavement. Over the next 2 . hours, we followed several BLM dirt roads in a clockwise loop around and through the Plomosa Mountains.

The beginning portion went North along the base of the mountains.  This meant crossing washes every so often.  Most were shallow and easy to negotiate. However, two of them were more difficult to traverse and some vehicles had to take two or three tries to get over the opposite rim.  There were also some sandy patches, but everyone was able to negotiate those easily.

Turning East, we gradually worked our way up a canyon and through a pass to the other side of the range.  Several times along the route, including the top of the pass, we stopped for photos as the desert was very much in bloom

Coming down the back side of the mountains, we traveled some distance down a wash before eventually turning right back onto the Bouse Highway.  Just before returning to the spot we had left the highway that morning, we stopped at a turn out for lunch and a short hike to “The Fisherman” intaglio.

After our lunch break, we drove back to Quartzsite and got onto the Interstate headed East.  A few miles later, we exited onto Gold Nugget Road.  Within a few hundred yards we were rewarded by the end of pavement and proceeded a mile of so before turning right onto BLM roads again.

We continued in a Southward direction for a couple of miles to the ruins of the Desert Queen mine. After exploring and photographing the mine, we saddled back up and proceeded back the way we came for about a half mile before turning South again toward Dripping Springs.

The route then went through a series of washes before making a series of steep ascents and descents over some hills and down into a narrow canyon.  Going down the canyon for some distance, we made a sharp left and made a final steep climb out of the canyon to Dripping Springs. There was a large enough area to park all of the cars and everyone got out to stretch legs and explore the area.  Some of us went down a short path to the spring which seeped out of a low cave up against the cliff.  Near the parked cars there was the remains of a stone cabin and two large boulders with petroglyphs.

At this point, we decided to continue down the canyon to complete the loop rather than return the way we came.  This proved to be an interesting choice as there were several spots in the next mile that were difficult for some of our vehicles to negotiate.  Everyone managed to get through without damage, but we were slowed down considerably while guiding people over the obstacles.

We finally made our way out of the canyon and back onto the flats.  Several miles later we emerged back onto pavement in Quartzsite.  Everyone then made their way separately back  to Blythe and arrived just in time for the Saturday banquet. A long, but satisfying day.

                                     ~ Bill