Friday, February 27, 2009

Ride 18 - Flat Top Mesa

"There ain't no view grander" around Mesquite than Flat Top Mesa, and I've got the pictures to prove it. [For a free Google Earth file of this route see: Ride 18 - Flat Top Mesa]

Despite there being some steep sections, dad decided my description was too enticing and wanted to go. Besides it fit in with our long time goal to "get down to the river (Toquop Wash)."

West on Pioneer then North (right) on Ben Franklin will bring you to the water tank and the Flat Top Mesa trailhead. A large open turnaround with a trail leading over a "berm."

As mentioned in a previous post, a "history of the mesa" describes how early settlers used to pasture their horses during the night on the mesa as it had only one way up. Later the trail was widened several times by grazing rights holders, uranium miners, power-line builders and a person with an M8 Caterpillar.

The graded road is wide, but does get a bit steep. There are only two issues I have with it. One is the idiotic placement of the gates on the steepest, narrowest section of the road. If you don't have a good parking brake - DON'T go up it. You need to hang on for dear life to exit your rig, piton up to the gate, let it drag you open under its weight, remount and re-park then do it all over again to shut the bloomin' thing.

Truly the hardest part of the ride is getting through the blasted gate! Once on top... the only choice is to go right or left. We took "right" and soon realized that the mesa is "way more" bigger than it looks from below.

There are rustic corrals, cairns, watering holes, rain gauges, funny looking cacti, sand dunes, sharp drop offs and, yes... the bazillion volt power-line that runs to Vegas jumps up to the top on one side and back down the other.

There's a trail that runs all around the perimeter of the mesa. And, remember I said I had "two issues"? That's the other one. The trail gets way too close to the edge to suit me. In more than a few places the road's shoulder is the air!

The vista's are incredible! The only drawback that we had was that the day was overcast and smoggy (yes Mesquite has a smog problem) so our photos weren't what we wanted.

You can see into Utah, Arizona and Nevada - and, we could finally understand just why we got "lost" on our attempts to find a connecting trail North out of the Mesa Boulevard trailhead.

On the East side you get an arial view of Dell Webb Mesquite, and if you spit real hard you can hit Gordon's neighbor's roof.

When you’re traveling, ask the traveler for advice, not someone whose lameness keeps him in one place.”

Be sure and click the photo icons on the Google Earth file available in the link above. This time I've loaded it with panoramic photos that I stitched together of the view from several areas.

In fact, I'll quit yapping and let you go do it now - you don't want to miss this one! [p.s. once we got all around the mesa it was too late to go to the river... again.]


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