Friday, January 2, 2009

Ride 8 - "Three Corners"

What a great ride today! Parts of it almost felt like when Luke Skywalker flew his x-wing down the trench of the Death Star! [For a complete Google Earth File see here: Three Corners]

We trailer'd from Snowbird Headquarters over to Beaver Dam, the home of Ralph, Dad's friend. He is an "old timer" in the Overton/Beaver Dam corridor and has hundreds, if not thousands, of hours logged on ATVs in his "life log" of rides.

The ride he wanted to share with us was up Beaver Dam Wash to 3-Corners (Utah, Nevada, Arizona). We dropped off the bluff from his house into the wash and headed Northwest. The actual stream bed changes a bit with nearly every storm, but you can tell the trails have seen lots of use.

Along, multi-colored gravel washed down from areas miles away, through willows taller than your head, by the side of cliff's and embankments and up to the "trees" near where the power-line crosses the wash.

From the clump of trees, containing a "farm-house" of sorts, a trail goes to the East over to old Highway-91. That's the Mormon Wagon Trail that settlers used to use going from Salt Lake to California and points in between.

Directly up the wash, at the Utah/Nevada border is the "lowest point" in Washington County, in fact all of Utah. On this trip, however we didn't get up that far, because just shortly before that the wash splits. Beaver Dam Wash goes straight, Sand Hollow Wash turns to the Northwest.

That's when the ride got really fun. The wash walls got red and steep and over the rig. The trail began winding serpentigenously through the countryside. At some points you didn't know which direction you were going. Not difficult, but very unique.

Eventually, the trail came up on top of the bluff and you could see the desert ahead. A cattle fence needed to be crossed at the gate (close behind you). The area is obviously popular to the type of people who must ride to the top of every hill they see. The true trail runs to the right, along the fence, to the top of the hill.

Once on top, the fence was the guideline through an example of the kind of Joshua Tree forest that used to mark this whole area along Hwy-91. Travelers from Utah to California all saw it before they built the freeway system (I-15) through the gorge. Much of it was burned many years ago and hasn't grown back, even yet.

Cross another fence line were Joshua Trees which still had the seed pods on them from last year. A sight that is very uncommon over in the Mesquite-Bunkerville-Gold Butte area. And then 3-corners.

A cement post marks the spot, and there is the usual USGS survey marker. There had been an ammo box with a log at the site for years, and it was interesting to read the many years worth of visitors.

Sometime this last year, Ralph told us, someone has brought a pole and flag to the site which now stands attached to the fence. Additionally, the ammo box has been covered with a piece of plastic which should be returned after your visit.

After lunch, we explored another trail which went perpendicular, to the West. Our GPS showed that it would eventually lead to a cross roads which would take us South back home, or North up to Lytle Ranch Road running along the foothills.

We saved that for another ride and turned South back to the trailhead. The Joshua tree forest eventually gave way to lower flora: Buckhorn Cholla, Golden Cholla, Creosote, Mesquite and Prickly Pear Cactus.

This was one ride we felt that we didn't finish.

2 comments:

Jay Smelkinson said...

Is it possible to get the best directions including turns and approx distances from the Littlefield exit on I-15? I am looking to do this in about two and a half weeks. Thank you, Jay jayrsmelkinson@gmail.com

D J said...

@jay ... in the past couple weeks readers have told me that my files (after 8 years) are no longer available from dropbox. I've contacted them and found that without notifying me they've decided to change all the url's to files (several hundred of them). Obviously I can't drop everything and completely reprogram 10 years of work overnight. so I need to do these things on a one-off basis. I've altered the link above on the page but don't know if it'll even work on your computer set up. Here is the link they give me: https://www.dropbox.com/s/y0oz9e179xcq3ed/8th%20Day.kmz?dl=0 but again not sure it'll work for you - hope you can get it. you may need to copy and paste it into your browser.

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