Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Ride 19 - Middle/Cow/Cabin Canyons

If cartography was our goal, we accomplished it "in spades" today! Like the infamous Gilligan we were "just going for a three day cruise" into the Middle Canyon to see if the Pencil Cholla was in bloom. [For a free Google Earth file of this route see: Ride 19: Middle - Cow Canyon (3.9M photos)]

Dad even thought it a laudable goal and decided to come with. Gordon had said that he would "preempt" his pooch's seat and let dad ride in his side-by-side.

We first went up Lime Kiln Canyon road to see the goldfish. Gordon thinks they are Koi Carp which is why they are so hardy. I never knew there was a difference.

Then we went back around and across the interconnect trail to Middle Canyon. There were a lot of things starting to come back to life, but the Cholla wasn't one of them. New to me was the large number of Mohave Yucca which had been burned to the ground and were now sprouting new fronds from their stubby bases. I didn't know they would sprout from roots.

Seeing's how we had a much more stable vehicle to ride we went a bit further up the canyon from the water hole which was being dug.

It's a beautiful canyon, but shortly turned into a bit too steep for my two-wheel drive rig. Dad suggested that he take it back down and around to the Cabin Canyon trailhead, and I continue on upward with Gordon to "find the mine" - his hobby.

The trail became at least "intermediate" in difficulty due to width, rocks, incline and camber; but, the views were spectacular, both up and down.

Taking a bit longer than we anticipated already, we did eventually top out and run across an abandoned mine shaft. There were rail tracks inside but they only ran about 125 feet before reaching the back wall.

Once on top, we did "explore" a trail along the ridge for a bit, but returned to the downward trail through Cow Canyon into Cabin Canyon. It had definitely become a "black diamond" trail. At the bottom we turned right, toward Mesquite, and quickly knew what Charlie had been telling me about its difficulty.

Under normal circumstances we would never have taken the rig over trail like that, except that the "return trip" was "sooo not gonna happen." Gordon said that he had determined if we came to a rock he couldn't get around, he was going to "winch the rock out of the way" rather than go back up and around.

As if it couldn't get any worse, it did! Some areas were such that I would have needed to "get out the winch"; but, fortunately, I was riding with a life-long heavy equipment driver who was very skilled. We didn't need the winch.

Dad had waited for over an hour and was a bit non-plussed for the ordeal. It may have been aggravated by the fact that he hadn't brought along his book to read - but who would have thought.

We noticed another cross-connect trail adjacent to the Cabin Canyon trailhead so we took it to see where it would intersect. At a fork we took the wrong direction and ended up going down to Cabin Canyon road via Indian Canyon wash.

I love to travel, but hate to arrive.”
Albert Einstein

By this time we recognized we were on a cartography mission so went back up to the trailhead and made another attempt to get the trail on the GPS. Eventually we met with Middle Canyon road and went back down to the trailer.

Gordon's dog ought to be grateful that he was preempted. After the Logandale ride, this one would have done him in!

[I went a bit bananas on the Google Earth map file I made for this route. It's a bit larger file due to the included panorama files of viewpoints and because I split the track into sections based upon difficulty.]


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