Thursday, January 8, 2009

Ride 9 - Logandale Trails

What a great place to ride! Just outside of Logandale the state's trail system has been a bit neglected the past few years but has the beauty of Valley of Fire along with designated trails, markers, campgrounds and sites to see. [For a full Google Earth map file see: Ride 9 - Logandale Trails]

There are many trails marked to ride. The most used, and least problematic for off road vehicles, is "Trail A," which is the one we took - sort of. From the Logandale Trails trailhead, we rode down the canyon into the valley.

Trail A is shaped like a "boot" and can be taken in either the clock- or counter-clockwise direction. We chose to branch initially to the right (counter-clockwise) along the trail.

Magnificent cliffs to the left and desert to the right gave an interesting ride. There were restrooms at Basset Campground but we saw no campers. More than half-way down to the heel of the "boot" we took a trail leading into the desert and mountains to the right (West).

We thought that it would circle around and rejoin the trail but it didn't. Instead it led to the cliffs and up a canyon which turned out to be a dead-end. We retraced and took a less used trail back across the desert and came upon what looked like markers for an old archaeological dig. The GPS map was labeled "Silver City." It would be interesting to know what the town was like.

A unique aspect of the stop was that we saw a seldom seen cactus - the Cottontop Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus polycephalus). Named because of the ring of cotton where the blooms once were. These seem to grow where there is a bit more moisture and not necessarily on hill sides like the barrel.

Back on the "A-Trail" we were looking for the "H-Trail" but must have missed the marker. At the heel of the boot we attempted to take the H-Trail in reverse but again missed a turn and ended up in a box ravine which seemed to have more archaeological markers.

Back on the "A-Trail" and half-way down the "sole" a trail ran to the north and we took it into some high red cliffs. Finally it ended in a box canyon filled deep with fine sand dunes.

Back on the "A-Trail" we nearly missed the marker to turn North; but, we didn't. It took some fairly intense navigation to negotiate the steep climb up and over some boulders. Then it was cross desert, North, on fairly washboard, sandy trail.

At the "toe" markers said "L-Trail was straight ahead so we needed to surmise that this was the tip of the boot and we needed to turn West again. It wasn't long before we met the first of three marked petroglyph areas, and found them by the side of the road. They looked quite ancient and worn.

Further along the "buckle" was obvious because of the Park Service markers and barriers. This was the hiking trailhead. Just across the barrier was the second petroglyph which looked quite a bit less worn.

It was a fairly easy hike up over slickrock and boulders to a small dam which, in times of wet, created a holding pond. It was dry now but you could tell it had done its job and the foliage was lush. Continuing up to the end, we were rewarded by the third group of petroglyphs which were extensive and more pristine than all the others before.

Another small stone dam created a watering hole from the seepage in the rocks. The petroglyphs were as good as we've seen, but requires a bit of hiking.

Back on the "A-Trail" we shortly came upon the most difficult stretch of the trail. It was quite steep and required some side to side negotiation which made us glad we chose to go counter-clockwise and could go down instead of up.

The remainder of the trail back to the trailer was uneventful back up through some high, red-walled canyons to the beginning.

This one was a "do-over."


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