Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Lake Havasu

After kayaking the Black canyon the first time, I headed out for some road exploring. John (the fisherman) had mentioned the road out to Grand Canyon West, where the new skywalk is, was not too far down the road. I found my way in and drove some 35 or 40 miles out to the reservation. It was late in the day, but just outside the reservation is BLM land, and I would scout out the area, camp outside that night and check out the canyon tomorrow... Funny how some things don't work out. The drive in had awesome scenery, but was rock strewn gravel road, so that made for slow going, along with numerous stops to take pics and wander around. Weather was building in the area, and by the time I got onto the reservation, lightning storms were passing over, and the sun was ready to set. I reached the tour outpost and found that all you are able to do is buy into a guided tour. None of the packages looked too appealing to me, but I really wanted to get a look at the canyon from here, and to see the skywalk. It was not open to the public yet, and you wouldn't get me out on it with a gun to my head, anyways :') I would come back in the morning, discuss the details of the various packages and decide on one that would cover what I wanted to see. On the way out of the reservation, the storms really took hold. Now, the spots I had scouted for camping did not look good based on their proximity to washes, or that they mudding out pretty bad. That and the fact it was dark, and it did not take much for me to decide to scrap the idea. Once back out to paved road, I headed towards the lake looking for a spot. Well I won't go through all the details here, but I ended up spending the night in Kingman, Ar, some 45 miles further south down the road! Don't ask me how I managed that...So, no canyon tour, and now what?
Well, I am only 60 miles from Lake Havasu. It is spring break, and hmmmmmmmmmm. Oh, OK. I may look my age, but I am still a kid at heart ;').
The whole deal that made the city of Lake Havasu, the London Bridge, and now spring break is amazing, but I find the biggest feat was the digging of the channel after the bridge was erected. A mile in length and up to a couple of hundred feet wide.
I spent a good part of the day at the channel and bridge area, explored the "island", took a chilly dip in the lake, and spent the evening trying to keep up with the college kids. Nope, you can't really "go back" again :'). It was fun trying though.
I made my way south to Bill Williams River Wildlife Refuge ( I was able to paddle about 2.5 miles in before the river petered out. It was nice, quiet and scenic up in here. I saw dozens of beaver dams, but no beaver. Lots of waterfowl, and plenty of carp. I actually had a bat flutter by on the river. That was unusual. Lots of butterflies, and even the sounds of a large swarm of some type of insect. Lots of fish jumping, and I had hoped to catch a glimpse of the endangered razorback sucker, which is being planted here, but no actual visuals. After getting off the water and visiting Parker dam for a late lunch, I took a drive out the refuge's gravel scenic road, hoping to see Javelina ( Well, if you want to believe that the blurs in the pics are indeed two of them...shot from a half mile through the windshield. It was a scenic drive and a nice way to end the day here.
In the morning, I made my way back north, passing through several state and federal parks and rec areas, and landed in Laughlin, Nevada. The lake here is more like the Colorado then a lake. South is an area called Topock Gorge, which sounded like it's be a nice paddle, but I again ran into the problem of portage. At times I think I need to just scrap the kayak, pick up a partner and stick with the outfitters :(. Anyways, Laughlin was a nice visit. I was able to do several caches, muggle a group of fellow cachers at one, do the riverwalk and enjoy a cool evening. I spent the night at Camp Davis, right on the riverside.
I headed north on the Nevada side, on hwy 95. Wind today was posted at gale force, so even though I managed to find a few decent launches, kayaking was out.
I made one of my favorite "discoveries" on this leg of the trip. ElDorado Canyon! There was not much info on this in the literature I had, but it just sounded interesting, so off I went. The richest gold mine area in Nevada history, a steamboat landing, a hideout for deserters during the civil war, location of a couple of eccentric little communities, adventure and kayak outfitters, home of some of a couple of the more famous renegade indian warriors of the region. A ghost town (Nelson). I just stumbled onto this place. Cool. I made a stop at Jubilee mine, which was massive! The entrance was a couple of hundred feet wide, and when they blew the openings, they left pillars of rock to support the mountain. There dozens of shafts at the back of this huge cavern. Someone had noted in paint on a rock about the dangers of unfound nitro caches still left in the shafts, and since all of the outfitters made stops here, the litter and other human "deposits" was disgusting. I did not venture further in then the cavern entrance.
At the end of the road is an overlook, but also a series of BLM gravel roads that lead to washes, mines, coves and who knows what else. I chose a road to the nearest cove, hoping the wind would die down tomorrow (forcasted as such), allowing me to paddle. On the road in, I passed an old "dump" on an s-curve that had exposed itself through erosion. A 3 foot thick section of old tin cans layered in the soil. I took a closer look, and noted the bottom of a bottle exposed. Working it loose, I pulled out a 1959 *I think) Hires rootbeer bottle: ).
Anyways, a very cool place. No kayaking in the morning, as the wind had just died down to small craft. This is a "must do" for those with a sense adventure and love of western history. ElDorado Canyon rd, about 10 miles south of Boulder City off hwy 95.

No comments: