Thursdays wind didn’t bother us out here in the Kofa Refuge. Seemed to be worse in Quartzsite. How nice it was to feel the warm breezes even though we we had a thin cloud cover. No wind in the night & all was quiet & calm. Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. But Friday was a different story:((
SUNRISE AT OUR HOUSE
HAD TO DRESS WARM AGAINST THE WIND THIS MORNING
Heavier clouds had rolled in overnight with winds picking up this morning & adding a definite chill to the air. A very short walk for us & we were soon back inside for a couple hours until temps came up a notch & the day brightened up a tad. Forecast calls for sunny days ahead beginning Saturday.
FOLLOWING A VERY HARD TO SEE TRAIL BACK INTO THE MOUNTAINS
We were finally out the door around 11 a.m.. Wanted to check out an area where friends Ann & Bill (Kofa Hosts on Palm Canyon Road) told us last time we were here where some additional tanks (water holes) were located. Especially looking for one which has a tall ladder leading to it. Ann also said it’s a beautiful boondocking area.
JUST AS KELLY WAS CHECKING OUR GPS THE BATTERIES DIED…MEMO TO SELF, ‘CHECK THE GPS BATTERIES AL’!!!!
With hand written directions in hand we headed north on Pipeline road running parallel to highway 95 on the East side. Saw tracks leading off toward the mountains & with difficulty followed them in for a few miles until we lost the trail.
ABOUT TIME TO TURN THE LITTLE BUGGY AROUND
Lost the trail again while trying to make our way back to Pipeline road but with a bit of criss-cross wandering we did pick it up again & found Pipeline road. A few miles further north along Pipeline we did find a solid looking dirt road again heading towards the mountains & this one turned out to be correct for what we were looking for. Road ended at a Kofa Vehicle sign & chance encounter with a lady in a car gave us walking directions for the Hidden Valley Tank often referred to as Ladder Tank.
HEADED OFF WALKING TO THE BASE OF THOSE MOUNTAINS WITH PHEEBS OUT FRONT…IT’S A WIDE ANGLE SHOT SO PHEEBS IS NOT REALLY AS FAR AHEAD AS SHE LOOKS
PHEEBS LEADS THE WAY, SHE ALWAYS SEEMS TO KNOW WHERE SHE IS GOING
TURNS OUT PHEEBS IS HEADING STRAIGHT FOR THE THE GAP IN THE MOUNTAIN CALLED HIDDEN VALLEY TANK JUST SLIGHTLY LEFT OF CENTER
About a mile walk to the mountains. Nice to be out walking instead of being jostled in the Jeep. Pheebs just loves getting out & racing around everywhere smelling everything. The gap in the mountain side leading into Shelter Valley is very hard to see but see it we finally did. We still were not sure we were on the right path but looking ahead we could see a lot of green foliage in a large earth depression. We knew from experience this was a spot where a lot of water would flow from the mountains through this narrow canyon & out onto the desert floor.
ENTRANCE TO HIDDEN VALLEY TANK
We still were not sure we were in the right spot until looking ahead & up I caught site of something man made just up the narrow canyon a few hundred yards.
HAD OURSELVES A FEW BOULDERS TO GET OVER FIRST
A large tin roof type structure high up & sure enough there through the brush growing along the creek bed we spotted a steel tube ladder leading up a dry waterfall to what appeared to be a cement dam in the rocks. In reality this was a waterfall created untold centuries ago. In fact it is still a waterfall in the rainy season. Yes, this was the tank we had been looking for. Kelly at this point was ahead of me so started up the 40’ ladder. She quickly realized it was not the thing for her to do & came down. Pheebe in the meantime was trying to scramble up a bunch of lose gravel in the dry waterfall alongside the ladder.
I HAD STOPPED TO TAKE A COUPLE PHOTOS & WHEN I CAUGHT UP KELLY WAS ALREADY ON THE LADDER
GOING UP – COMING DOWN
I don’t mind heights & don’t mind climbing most things as long as they are solid. I do not do shaky ladders leaning against buildings but this steel ladder was solid so up I went. Climbing the ladder was the easy part.
LOOKING UP THE LADDER
LOOKING DOWN THE LADDER AFTER TRANSITIONING ON TO THE ROCK FACE
LOOKING INTO THE TANK…WATER COMES IN FROM LEFT & POOLS BEHIND ROCK & CEMENT WALL…THE BIGHORN SHEEP COME HERE TO DRINK…REPAIRS LAST YEAR TO THE ROCK WALL
Today’s heavy wind blowing though the narrow canyon slot created a wind tunnel effect at the top of the ladder as I struggled a bit to transition myself off the ladder & onto the rocks at the lip of the waterfall. No easy feat with the strong wind & I knew this would be the difficult part when I came back down. Kinda took me back a bunch of years when I have been known to climb a few Micro-wave towers & a small town 80’ water tank half a dozen times. Thanks to steel tubing embedded in the rock I was able to make it up further & above the tank for a look see inside. Lot of loose rock on the steep incline but with good hiking shoes & a sharp eye one can do it. Took about a dozen photos.
TIN ROOF OVER THE WATER PREVENTS IT FROM EVAPORATING
I COULD SEE A TRAIL LEADING FURTHER UP THE WASH BUT THIS WAS FAR ENOUGH FOR ME
With the winds ripping though there I didn’t stay long & began my descent. As expected the backward transition from the rock onto the ladder was a bit of a momentary challenge but slow & easy does it and that’s what I did. Minutes later I was petting a happy & concerned little Pheeber buns at the bottom of the ladder:))
LOT OF LOOSE ROCKS & GRAVEL SO ONE HAS TO BE CAREFUL WHERE ONE STEPS
BIT TRICKY GETTING DOWN TO THE LADDER
A LAST LOOK DOWN THE CANYON BEFORE CLIMBING BACK DOWN THE LADDER
Bit of a rock scramble coming back out of Hidden Valley Tank but it’s those rock scrambles that are so good for our leg muscles.
WHEW, GLAD TO BE THROUGH ALL THAT
Exiting the canyon Kelly noticed a ridge running along the trail & wondered what was on the other side. With that we walked up on top of the ridge & spotted the remains of a very old truck of some kind. For sure there will be a story behind it but how the truck got there or who drove it there we have no idea. Maybe some of you old time car buffs can identify what this might have been at one time. I’m guessing something out of the 20’s or 30’s.
Nice walk back to the Jeep as the cloud cover began to slowly break up & shower us with a few momentary splashes of sunlight. Just so great to spend another few hours walking & exploring around the mountains & deserts of the Great American South-West. It’s a land where the scenery & adventures never stop if one does not want them to. A land of history, mystery, & great stone castles in the air………
We were soon back to the Jeep & bouncing our way along the dusty desert road back out to highway 95 Fifteen minutes later we were tiredly back to the rig. With winds a blowin we retreated inside for the rest of the afternoon.
SORRY FOLKS BUT KELLY MADE ME POSE FOR THESE
Saturday morning with a few basic directions in hand we are off again & this time our goal is to find 2 more water tanks hidden somewhere in the Castle Dome Mountains not far from where we are camped. We are told if we can find Gray & Arch tanks we may also find a grinding cave with Petroglyphs & a sleeping cave. A grinding cave probably means Indian grain grinding holes in the rock but no idea who we will find sleeping in the sleeping cave if indeed anyone is sleeping there at all. Maybe a few old reposing Ghosts perhaps.
SCENERY JUST GOES ON FOREVER HERE IN THE SOUTH-WEST
COME ON DAD YOUR LAGGING BEHIND
Peter & Bea at AMERICAN TRAVELER had themselves a real struggle trying to get themselves out of Florida due to icy road conditions & massive traffic jams on I-10. Enough was enough with the Florida weather this winter & they are trying to make their way out to the South-West. With a bit of luck they may have made it to Texas today. Or, they may still be locked in ice somewhere in the South-East:((
GORDON W in our Shout Box asks. ‘
what does your neighbor think of your south gate using his driveway’? The short dirt & gravel section leading in from Ghost Town Road to our neighbor’s gate is a right of way & has always been used by our property & also the neighbor directly south of us so we’re good to go there.
Thanks to bobm for the link about Dish TV on Nick's Blog. Guess we won’t be rushing into anything there anytime soon. Actually all we really have to do is just pack up our satellite dish at home & bring it with us. That’s what we used to do. Don’t ask me why we haven’t been doing that because I just don’t have a good logical answer to that question. Kelly is the TV watcher in the family & enjoys her nightly shows. She watches TV & I sit here working on my daily post with headphones on filling my head with music. I do that so I do not have to listen to the television. However there are times when I too have things I would like to see whether sitting at home, boondocking, in transit, or wherever. I would liked to have seen CNN’s special about the Beatles Thursday night. Also Jay Leno’s last show this Thursday night. I watched Johnny Carson for many years & while traveling booked into a Motel in Billings Montana back in May of 92 just to see his final night. Now just b
ecause I grumble a lot about TV programming does not mean I think all TV programming is bad Ed. But of course you knew that…..right:))
GROANER’S CORNER:(( The Marshes were shown into the dentist's surgery, where Mr Marsh makes it absolutely clear that he is in a big hurry. 'No expensive extras, Doctor', Marsh demands, 'No gas or needles or any of that fancy stuff. Just pull the tooth and get it over with.' 'I wish more of my patients were as strong minded and as brave as you, Mr. Marsh, 'said the dentist admiringly. 'Now, which tooth is it?' Mr. Marsh turns to his wife and says: 'Show him your tooth, honey.'