Thursday, January 7, 2010

Ride 13: Initial and Lone Mesas

Believe it or not, that's what it's called — Initial Mesa! I rode with the Mesquite Kokopelli ATV club on their Saturday ride. We were to find the "real" border between Utah-Arizona-Nevada.   [For a free Google Earth file of this route see: Initial and Lone Mesas]

Every time we visit the "3-Corners" monument we spend much of our time palavering about why the monument is there, why Google shows a jog in the Nevada border that doesn't seem to be on the official Nevada State Map, and where (if not here) is the "REAL" state border connections.

The ride left from the Upper Hwy-95 Trailhead and was led by Hugh who took us across the desert to the west until we ran into …Beaver Dam Wash at the landmark known as "The Long Water Trough."

From there is was south to a fairly hidden trail that went through the trees and up onto the mesa. We eventually came out on the Mesa just above and north of the "3-corners" monument that we usually go to.

You know you are there because there is a poured-cement obelisk of sorts. No markings but there is an empty flag-stand next to it and one of those brass Geodetic markers which officially informs you that you are on "Initial Mesa." The GPS maps show you that the marker is "Initial Monument" – not very original but if it's set in brass, who can argue.

From there the ride continued around-the-corner (southwest) to the other 3-Corners. Comparing the dates, it does look like the one up on the butte was first ("initial") then someone set the other, more substantial, monument a few years later. What, on earth, was the story behind that?

The next stop, since we'd been to one rarely visited mesa was: Lone Mesa. The thing that both of these mesas share (besides being rarely visited) is that they can only be accessed from one side. We rode down the Nevada fence line into Sand Hollow Wash and along to Lone Mesa.

Some people are malicious enough to think that if the devil were set at liberty and told to confine himself to Nevada Territory, he would… get homesick and go back to hell again.”
Samuel Clemens, Mark Twain

The view from the top, over the "badlands," is really grand and was magnified by the fact that it was a crystal clear day with crisp clean air and the slight amber tint of the afternoon sun.

Returning we decided to head along the powerline trail and directly down into Beaver Dam wash. It was then a simple matter to run north up to the "Long Water Trough" to complete the loop.

The riding area south of Lytle Ranch Road has pockets of hidden old growth Joshua Tree forest, reminiscent of what we saw in our childhood trips from Utah to California all the way through the Nevada Desert.

There wasn't as many on the ride as I had expected (nor that it deserved) but it was a great "explore." Especially of trails that I didn't already have on my maps and of places which we often see but rarely visit.


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