Friday, January 16, 2009

Ride 12 - Devil's Fire Hike

This is a "goddado" hike from a previous frustrating experience. A friend told me that there were more petroglyphs at Devil's Fire than what I had tought there were, and I just had to go see.  [A free Google Earth file of this ride can be had at: Devil's Fire Hike]

Unfortunately, when we got here last week, the BLM had done what they seem to do best: close the seniors, and anyone who doesn't hike, out - we're such a destructive lot! As we knew it to be a fairly level "hike" we decided to come back to our once favorite place.

Trailheading at the Mud Wash Trailhead, we rode down Mud Wash, past the petroglyphs, past the corral and into Red Pocket Springs wash. Around the corner to the right there was the blockade.

The walk is a bit difficult through sand up to your ankles. The Oasis was as we had left it 3 or 4 weeks previously. We walked up to the cliff wall and to the right (South), looking for a "wall and stairs."

We found some seeps and more palm trees around corners so they aren't readily seen. Continuing walking we came to a fence which needed climbing (no gate). Past that further, and almost giving up, we came upon an old crumbling rock wall. How it came to be there, I can't even conjecture.

Then, looking for the "stairs," was unsuccessful. However there was a sort of, less vertical area with a few handholds which would possibly lead to the top of the butte. We might have turned back had we been there on our bikes; but, having vested all that work and knowing we're not going to come back, we weren't about to give up.

I scrambled, literally, to the top. After a bit of searching I found a couple of glyphs on a wall behind me. Then scrambling up to the top of a very large rock I had nearly stomped on some more before I realized that the glyphs were on horizontal surfaces.

In all there were four such flat topped, very large rocks with glyphs on them. All of obvious antiquity compared with others in the area. They are grand and one wonders if we ever are able to interpret them fully, they might have anything to do with the ethereal quality of the rock formations all around. They truly do look like they have something to do with the underworld.

Travel for the young is a part of education, for the old, a part of experience.”
Francis Bacon

Getting down was more difficult than getting up, but was eventually accomplished. We both were bushed, but needed to walk the 3/4 mile back to the blockade. It was late afternoon and shadows were stretching - it gets dark early in the winter desert.

It's too bad to realize that it was the last time we would see what had become our favorite place. To me that's also a kind of desecration, we can be glad we risked our lives to keep our land free so the fiends of Gold Butte and the BLM can tell us we can't see it.


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