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2023 Trip Report - Gold Butte National Monument and Grand Canyon Parashant National Monument

Gold Butte National Monument and Grand Canyon Parashant National Monument with Dave Burdick

By Marian Johns • Photos by Marian Johns, Nelson Miller & Deborah Nakamoto

Jeez! It was 24 years ago (1999) that I was last in the Gold Butte country and even longer ago that I’d been in the Arizona Strip where the Grand Canyon Parashant, New Mexico is located. It was a (mostly) fun adventure to revisit these areas on Dave Burdick’s recent trip. I also saw a lot of new territory in both of these national monuments, neither of which were monuments back when I last visited them. Even though they are in different states, they are adjacent to one another.

There were just four of us: Nelson Miller, Dave Burdick & Dean Linder and myself – Marian Johns. We started off by taking the paved road into Gold Butte, New Mexico which has deteriorated terribly over the last 24 years. It ends at Whitney Pockets. There we poked around for a while and then headed west down Mud Wash and on to a pretty area called Finland where we found beautiful wild palms, burros and a nice camp spot.

The next day, we back tracked some and managed to find some petroglyphs I remembered from years before. Then we headed west and enjoyed some grand vistas before turning south along the Gold Butte Wash Road which I’d never been on. We ended up at the town site of Gold Butte where there’s not much left to see.

We continued on south passing quite a few burros on the way to the Overton Arm of Lake Mead. We stopped at the high shore line and while Dean hiked a quarter mile down to the water, I picked up some fresh water clam shells.

Nelson found us a nice campsite that night; it even came with its own firewood.

The next day we stopped to see the Devil’s Throat before heading east. Years ago it was not fenced, but now it is and you can’t even get close enough to see the bottom - unless you know about the gate that happens to be unlocked, and someone who knew that just happened along at just the right time, so we went on in the unlocked gate and saw it like it was years ago.

Over in the Grand Canyon Parashant N.M. I noticed the roads seemed to be rockier than they were in the Gold Butte N.M., but the scenery was just as grand if not more so. We somehow managed to find a trail along Cottonwood Wash. The scenery here was fine, but I didn’t have much time to admire it because I was so busy driving the rough road. This trail seemed to go on and on and we never did see any cottonwoods.

Eventually though we came to Lime Kiln Rd. and this turned out to be even worse than the Cottonwood Wash road – much worse! It was the worst “road” I’ve been on in years - mile after mile of crawling over boulders at two to three miles per hour. I was just praying that I didn’t break anything before I got to a good road. And that finally happened at the Lime Kiln Campground about 10 miles south of Mesquite, Nevada. Nelson was so pissed at that road he just kept going and drove on home that night. I think he wanted to get as far away as possible from that road as fast as he could. But I was a wreck – so tired! I didn’t want to drive any further that day. Dave and Dean stayed in the campground too and we drove home the next morning. ~Marian

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