Saturday, March 27, 2010

Ride 28: Tassi Springs Trail

Most of us who have ridden around "the Butte" a lot actually long for a ride like this one.   [For a free Google Earth file of this route see: Ride 28: Tassi Springs Loop]

There is a lot to see down here – more than most places – but after awhile it takes on a bit of… let's say… "familiarity." So you can understand when you take a ride that you haven't been on before and see things that you haven't seen before and find that it is a bit unexpected to boot!

A friend and I realized recently that although we were using the same "label" were were talking about different places: "Cottonwood Wash." Did you know that there were two?

The first is in Nevada and I've posted about it previously – Cottonwood Wash leading to Devil's Cove. The other is mere… miles away in Arizona and leads to Grand Wash Bay. That is where this ride goes.

Additionally, for years I've been asked if I've been to the "rock house" and didn't have a clue where they were talking about. The several descriptions I've heard included that it was "down toward the lake," "near Scanlon Ferry road but not so far," "was like a 'mansion' in the desert," "people may not be living there any more," "by an air-strip" and "it even had a swimming pool."

Almost none of those descriptions fit this house but we were assured that "this" was the "rock house." The house we found IS down by the lake, but it's ON Grand Gulch Road not Scanlon, NOT a 'mansion' to me, WOULDN'T call beautiful Tassi Springs a desert, definitely NO one has lived there in a long while, IS near a runway of sorts, and this rock shower/tub IS the closest thing to a "pool" we could find!

When we arrived, two men from the US Park Service were there re-pointing the mortar between the stones, so they were able to show us around and claimed that this was the house that people were talking about. There is a guest register and a warning against getting too "friendly" with the rocks, stones, detritus etc. around the place; because, the rodents of the area are known to harbor the Hanta Virus.

So "please keep your pets, arms, hands and legs inside the vehicle at all times" and don't go touching anything then putting your fingers, or small children, in your mouth before washing them. (The workers touching the stones were wearing surgeons gloves, if that tells you anything!)

Continuing on the trail you pop up on top of the mesa where you get a grand view of the ranch, Tassi Springs, the lake and the long-since-used runway. Continue further and you take your rigs swimming in the lake – at least according to your GPS unit.

At the south end of the bay you can see the natural dike between Lava and Paiute Points, which lets the Colorado River into the cove when the lake is high enough to top it. However, it isn't – so it doesn't – now. There is spring-water entering the bay but there is also a huge amount of dead "evidence" of better fishing days all along the shore.

Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned forever skyward, for there you have been, and there you long to return.”
Leonardo Da Vinci

The return was back up the deep-walled wash, across streams (several times) and past landmarks which I can only wish now that we knew about while we were down there to see what we were seeing. I've marked a lot of those places on the map accompanying this post so you don't have to make the same mistake as we did.

When we reached the intersection with Arizona County Road 111, we decided to take it up to Pakoon Springs then to the trailer. The road is graded-dirt all the way and dips several times into protected areas which burgeon with flora of all kinds.

It was there that we saw the seasons first blooming Joshua Trees of a previous post. They are still "constructing" Pakoon Springs but we weren't able to discern "into what" from the road.

Past the Whitney Ranch and Graveyard, the view from Whitney Pass was spectacular, as usual.

There was one problem with the ride however. All along the road we saw other roads leading off toward "distant stuff" which looked really neat, and more than a few times I heard Gordon say: "I wonder what's down that road."


Post a Comment

Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. I will, of course, be moderating all comments to make sure (a) they conform to the standards of good taste set forth by Offroading Home; and (b) nope that's pretty much it.