Monthly Archives: July 2016

Black Rock Desert Area, High Rock Canyon – June 1, 2016

View along High Rock Canyon

We left on Wednesday morning to visit High Rock Canyon. We tried to go there two years ago, but it was closed at the time. The High Rock Canyon area is closed from February 1 until the second weekend in May to protect Big Horn Sheep lambing and raptor nesting.

The sign for High Rock Canyon at the South entrance.

The sign for High Rock Canyon at the South entrance.

This year the road is open.

High Rock Canyon

The road into High Rock Canyon is mostly loose soil with rocks and shrubs close to the side of the road. We keep our eyes out for anything too close to us. At one point, we thought we went over a rock.

Native Americans arrived here 10,000 BC. This emigrant wagon road is part of the Applegate Cutoff heading to Oregon. It was used in the mid-1800s. We stopped at a well used cave.

Jon checking out a cave.

Jon checking out a cave.

When we stopped, we noticed that whatever we hit did some significant damage to the two lower boxes on the passenger side.

A view of the Fuso along the High Rock Canyon. Two of the lower boxes are significantly damaged. No idea what caused it.

A view of the Fuso along the High Rock Canyon. Two of the lower boxes are significantly damaged. No idea what caused it.

Since there wasn’t anything we could do about the damage, we continued down the road. The brush became more significant.

A view of the surrounding area from the High Rock Canyon Road

A view of the surrounding area from the High Rock Canyon Road

We reached one point where we had to do a little rock crawling to get down a ledge. We passed by a guy camping. He came out here every year to spend some time in this area. He didn’t think that we would be able to make it through the Narrows. It is a tight spot between a large rock and the canyon wall. He did reassure us that there was a place to stop and turn around before we reached it.

High Rock Canyon - the Narrows. We have to back up to get out of the tight spot.

High Rock Canyon – the Narrows. We have to back up to get out of the tight spot.

We reached a point where we couldn’t go any further. There is really thick brush on both sides. The canyon wall on the right is really close and slopes into the road. On the left side, there is another big rock surrounded by small trees and brush. It is so tight that we can’t see behind us in any of the mirrors. We have to back up about 50 yards in all of this stuff before we reach a point where we can turn around.

The view of the area we need to back down to get turned around when we reached the Narrows. We have to get past the large shrubs before turning around.

The view of the area we need to back down to get turned around when we reached the Narrows. We have to get past the large shrubs before turning around.

After getting out of the vehicle and looking over the area. I stayed behind the vehicle. We have radios and the Fuso has a backup camera to help us back up. It took a while, but we finally got turned around.

On our way back, we stopped at a historic engraved rock.

Historic Rock Engraving from the Pioneer trail through the High Rock Canyon.

Historic Rock Engraving from the Pioneer trail through the High Rock Canyon.

We climbed up into the canyon next to it.

A view of the canyon that we climbed up.

A view of the canyon that we climbed up.

It is really difficult to climb up due to all of the loose rock. Jon kept climbing. I stopped at the top of the scree. It was a great view.

View from the highest point I climbed up in the canyon wall.

View from the highest point I climbed up in the canyon wall.

Jon climbed to the top of the canyon.

Jon is the little tiny dark dot to the right of the small pointy rock in the area between the two large prominences.

Jon is the little tiny dark dot to the right of the small pointy rock in the area between the two large prominences.

The geology is very interesting to see up close.

Looking up at the canyon wall.

Looking up at the canyon wall.

There were a lot of wildflowers, too.

Lots of wildflowers.

Lots of wildflowers.

We headed back to the southern entrance of the High Rock Canyon. We didn’t find what caused the damage to the lower boxes of the Fuso.

We made a detour back to our campsite before heading down the eastern side of the Black Rock Playa. We plan to stop at the Hardin City ruins and Double Hot Springs. We hope to camp at Black Rock Hot Springs tonight.

 

 

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Black Rock Desert, Soldier Meadows – May 30 & 31, 2016

Campsite #4

Hot Creek Campground – Campsite #4

We camped out at the BLM dispersed camping area by Mugwumps last night. We headed north on 447 and stopped at  Gerlach, NV to visit the Friends of the Black Rock office before heading into the Black Rock Desert.

Friends of the Black Rock Desert

It is a great place to visit before heading into the area. They have lots of brochures and books and information about the area. There had been a mini Burning Man gathering during the Memorial Day weekend. We waited until Monday to hopefully avoid any holiday crowds.

We drove up the Soldier Meadows Road. We were here two years ago and wanted to spend a little time at the Soldier Meadows Hot Springs.  The desert scenery is striking.

Soldier Meadows Road

Soldier Meadows Road

We had a good view of the Black Rock and the Black Rock Playa.

View of the Black Rock and Playa.

View of the Black Rock and Playa.

We were passed by several vehicles going the other direction. We could also see the dust clouds left by vehicles driving down the road along the Black Rock Playa.

View of vehicle dust trail traveling down the Black Rock Desert Playa road.

View of vehicle dust trail traveling down the Black Rock Desert Playa road.

We were traveling in a National Conservation Area and there were lots of signs of animal trails.

Animal trails

Animal trails

After about 20 miles, we came upon a stopped vehicle. A young woman’s Scion IQ had broken down. She had been stopped along the road for a couple of hours. Meghan was able to text, but not make phone calls. Her little two-seater car had cracked the transmission case and she had run the vehicle until it stopped. The vehicle had gone beyond the point where we could help it.

Meghan and her Scion IQ. Her dog is inside. She has a reflective screen in the front window. It is not broken.

Meghan and her Scion IQ. Her dog is inside. She has a reflective screen in the front window. It is not broken.

We had the Delorme inReach two-way satellite texting device, we contacted her mother and a tow truck. Since Meghan was alone, we thought it was only prudent to contact the local sheriff department to let them know she was there.

She and her dog had walked up the road in an attempt to make a phone call. Since it was going to be a while before help reached her, we gave her some more water and I wetted down one of her towels to create some evaporative cooling for her and her dog. We also made sure she had our texting info so that she could let us know when she was safe.

We continued on the road. We were really glad we stopped for Meghan. We didn’t see any other vehicles after we passed her.

We stopped at the information sign as we headed into the Soldier Meadows Area of Critical Environmental Concern Area.

Soldier Meadows Area of Critical Environmental Concern Map

Soldier Meadows Area of Critical Environmental Concern Map

We headed to the Hot Creek Campground. It has five campsites and a pit toilet.

There are also trails leading to several hot creek pools.

Soldier Meadow Hot Creek Campground

Soldier Meadow Hot Creek Campground

Campsite #2 was already occupied. We stayed at that spot last year. It is the one closest to the Hot Creek.

After making a lap of the campground, we decided that #4 was the best choice.

Our campsite (#4)

Our campsite (#4)

Even with one other campsite occupied, the campground is still very deserted.

Our campsite at a distance.

Our campsite at a distance.

We spent a little time getting set up. It was already very warm. We hung out in the shade provided by the awnings.

Campsite #4. It came with firewood.

Campsite #4. It came with firewood.

A little later, we took a walk around the campground. One interesting feature of the campground is that the pit toilet is open topped. No roof at all. It blends in really well with the surroundings, too.

Roof-free pit toilet facility

Roof-free pit toilet facility

I took photos of the wild flowers in bloom.

Sulphur buckwheat

Sulphur buckwheat

We talked with our neighbor. Gary and his dog had been camping there for the past week. He said that there had been crowds over the Memorial Day weekend, but they had all cleared out by this morning.

Once the heat of the day had passed on, we followed the trails out to the Hot Creek pools to soak for a bit. There are several pools that have been created along the Hot Creek.

The creek is home to the Elongated Mud Meadows Springsnails, an endangered species. They need fresh flowing water to be able to survive, so the only pools allowed are the ones already in existence.

Elongated Springsnail

We spend some time in the most developed pool.

Middle Hot Creek pool

Middle Hot Creek pool

After a short while, we headed upstream to the next pool. They are both really nice places to soak.

Upper Hot Creek Pool

Upper Hot Creek Pool

We hung out at our campsite for the rest of the night. There had been firewood left at our campsite, so made use of it and toasted some marshmallows. The skies were beautiful.

Sunset from the Hot Creek Campground.

Sunset from the Hot Creek Campground.

It was even hotter on Tuesday, so we mostly hung around our camper.  We went to the Hot Creek in the afternoon, but the water was really hot and the rocks around it were scorching hot. We didn’t stay for long.

Hanging out at the Middle Hot Creek pool. The air temperature was really, really hot.

Hanging out at the Middle Hot Creek pool. The air temperature was really, really hot.

We had an uneventful rest of the day. We planned to leaving the next day to go up to High Rock Canyon Area.

 

 

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