Friday, November 28, 2008

Extra Ride - Devil's Fire and Kirk's Grotto

What is the son of the son of a mother's sister's daughter? Well, that's who came down to ride, and brought his dad. The GoogleEarth file is here -->   Devil's Fire/Kirk's Grotto. Click on it... go ahead.   And you can see the whole area at -->   Offroading Home Website

It was a great day to ride, even if we needed hats, gloves and jackets. Neither of them had been down to Gold Butte before (despite the fact that their mother/granny has moved down here). Even the 45min ride to the trailhead was enjoyable.

Parking in the mouth of the Mud Wash on Gold Butte Road, we rode down to where I had met the two "sink hole loggers" and walked over to the hole. It was still there, still deep and still full of desert puma's (probably). I tell you, that's one of the best reasons not to ride/hike in the desert at night!

Of course, in order to get to Devil's Fire or Kurt's Grotto you need to pass the Mud Wash Petroglyphs. They are probably the most accessible site in the whole area, and the least disturbed. Almost pristine - throwing a whole barrel full of water on the Fiends of Gold Butte's arguments about closing down all the sites.

Shortly before the corral we turned up onto the bluff and around to Kurt's Grotto. It was still as beautiful as last year. A chasim in the rock, hidden by a tree, leads to a grotto. A great place to eat a lunch - so we did. I found a small stalactite on the canyon wall, which must have taken hundred's of years to form. There are ancient petroglyphs on the canyon wall at the entrance, and a little way inside. The boys did some hiking in the hills and found two other sites with petroglyphs.

The grotto has nice spots to eat lunch - so we did; then, rode down into Gold Butte Wash and took the "cross-country byway" around the bluff and back into Mud Wash. Up a side wash, around the corner and across some flats there are palm trees at the base of a cliff - an Oasis. A refreshing site, and no wonder the migrating indians frequented it.

On the cliffs above are the sandstone formations of Devil's Fire. It's a beautiful site that can be enjoyed by simply looking up without the need to do any climbing. A couple of "geological looking types" pointed to where some petroglyphs are and the boys went to see them. Max sat and sketched a few of them for a school class.

I probably should tell you that several of the pictures that I took here last year, have already been accepted by "Panoramio," Google Earth's method of linking to photos, and are already available on the program when you zoom close to this area on the globe. And, of course you must have the "panoramio" box checked in the "Geographic Web" folder of the "layers" tab. [Bottom left-hand corner of the screen]

In the past there has been a "tussle" so-to-speak over who "found" the area and should be able to name it. Who do you think found it? The indians did; but, we no longer know what they called it - (I wish we could read petroglyphs better). At least a few early settlers to this area called it "Devil's Fire" in an old diary that I found at the museum - SO, that's good enough for me! [Besides, "Little Finland" or "Hobgoblins" makes no bloomin' sense! Go down and look. See what YOU think.]

It was getting a bit dark by the time we wound up this long trek and were back to the trailer. Oh well, there's always tomorrow.


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