Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Kanarraville Falls and Spring Creek Slot Canyon

It is hard to believe in a week’s time we had a temperature drop of almost 70° from the upper 80’s in Quartzsite to a very comfortable 60’s-70’s in Lake Mead to the chilly low 20’s in Kanarraville, Utah. The heat of Quartzsite is a welcome and distant memory. Although it is a bit chilly here we certainly prefer the cooler weather to the heat…..we are definitely not heat people.
Red Ledge RV Park & Campground is a nice little Passport America campground right in the heart of Kanarraville. I say little as we had a hard time fitting in, they were nice enough to allow us to take two spots along the edge (3 with the jeep and trailer). Laundry services, showers, free Wi-Fi and full hook-ups! We have not had full hook-ups in….(I really had to think about this one)…. almost 7 months!
Our site at Red Ledge
So what brings us to Kanarraville? Our #1 reason for stopping here was Kanarra Creek Hiking Trail – commonly referred to as Kanarraville Falls. This combined with a few other hiking trails and its proximity to the Kolob Canyon area of Zion National Park made this the perfect area for a layover on our way to Salt Lake.
Due to the rain and snow we had to put off our falls hike for the first two days. Instead we took a drive up Kolob Canyon during a snow storm.

You know you are in Zion when you start seeing the red roads!

Snow over the mountain
The first hike we ventured out on was the Spring Creek Canyon hike a really cool slot canyon hike just south of town. First, let me say that for a couple of people who spent the winter at sea level, this 5,000 - 6,000 elevation kicked our butts for the first hour or so. To get to the trailhead take Spring Creek Road to the east just south of town. This will lead you past the town ball field to a parking area.
Follow the trail for a mile and a half to the mouth of the slot canyon. The narrow walls, coloring of the walls combined with the green of the pines and white from the snow are really what made this hike! The main canyon goes for about a mile before it gets too narrow and overgrown to go any further. If you are really ambitious you can follow one of the several smaller slots that branch off but be prepared to do some scrambling over rocks and under trees. We apologize in advance for all the pictures but it was just so beautiful!

Headed down the trail

The entrance to the slots

Daisy in a little cave

A little scramble area

Daisy chill'in in the snow
Barb admiring the view

Looking up one of the side canyons

Barb ahead on the trail

Time to head back to the jeep!

Wow! Those were the words that kept coming out our mouths as we did the Kanarra Falls hike. The trailhead is right in town. We walked right from our campground but those passing through can pay $10 and park right at the trailhead. This 3.5 mile roundtrip hike (4.5 from the campground) rates as our second coolest hike ever! (Angel’s Landing is still #1).
The trail starts up a gravel road with a moderate grade eventually winding downhill where it meets the creek. From there the trail follows along, crisscrosses or is in the middle of the creek. I will tell you right now, it is impossible to do this hike without getting your feet wet. There were times we were hiking in water up to our knees, and it was none too warm! Don’t worry, your feet soon go numb and you can’t feel a thing.
Information at the trailhead
Starts with about 1/2 mile on this gravel road

No Daisy today....too rough and too wet!



It's peek-a-boo Barbie!
Every time we turned a corner we were in awe of the scenery, a waterfall or the color of the rock formations. The hike took us a total of 4.5 hours up and back. We really took our time going up taking a lot of pictures and spent about 10 minutes finding a geocache near the top of the hike. My favorite part of the hike had nothing to do with the scenery or a waterfall, nor did I get a picture let alone see it…..Barb had stopped to take a few pictures and I hiked ahead. When she caught up to me she was totally soaked from head to toe! As she tells it, she slipped on a rock and she fell backwards on her back. Since she was wearing her backpack she said she felt like a turtle trying to flip over! I asked her to reenact it so I could get a photo but she refused!
There are two waterfalls that require you to climb ladders.......

Ladder #1

Ladder #2

Not many people find this geocache! Time to head home......
If you are traveling I15 in the Cedar City/St.George are I highly recommend a stop in the quaint little town, you will not regret it!  

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Lake Mead Government Wash Free Camping Area

It was a good week, it was a bad week…..but that’s life right? There is a little good and bad in just about everything. That really sums up our week at Government Wash in the Lake Mead National Park in a nutshell.

Let’s start with the good…..
The Good….
·         We stayed for a 5 days at the Government Wash for free!
The short drive from Lake Havasu City to Lake Mead was uneventful. We pulled into The Boulder Beach Campground and drove around looking for the perfect site. Boulder Beach is a nice quiet campground just inside the park with no water, sewer or electric. Basically boondocking but paying for it. They do have nice bathrooms as well as water and dump stations.  After picking our spot, Barb went and got a payment envelope and we were about to put the $100 in it for our 5 night stay and we just couldn’t do it! Just up the road within the park is a free boondocking area we had explored last time we were here, let’s go there!
We arrived at the Government Wash camping area and set up in the beautiful spot at the end of a point.  
Our home for the week. Dino & Lisa on the left, us on the right

Daisy is not spoiled at all!

·         Barb had a birthday!
Thursday dawned bright and sunny as well it should….it was Barb’s birthday!!!!! What did we have planned on this special day? First up was to get Barb her birthday donut! Last time we were here Steve and Joan had told us about a great little donut shop in Henderson. Barb loves their buttermilk donuts so off we went. We pulled in with great anticipation, walked in the door and the donut case was almost empty! Barb walked up to the counter….no more buttermilks left! What a disappointment!
·         We got to see Dino and Lisa!
I stole this picture from Bill & Kelly's blog....

Dino and Lisa were reported to be staying at Sam’s Town RV Park in Las Vegas so we thought we would surprise them by dropping by….. after all we had not seen them in 3 long days! We found their rig and were chatting outside when I looked next door and thought I saw a jeep I recognized…. I walked over to get a closer look and sure enough it belonged to our former boss’ Chuck and Claudia from our road mapping job last spring! What are the odds? They came out and the 6 of us visited for a few while before saying goodbye.
The next day they moved out to Government Wash and parked next to us! (Wait….maybe I should have saved this for the “Bad”!)
·         We got to see my sister Judy!
      My sister Judy, her husband Mike and a few friends were coming to Las Vegas for the Nascar race. We met them at Margaritaville and had a great dinner.   They had traveled from Florida getting up at 3:00am (ET) so by the time we got done with dinner about 6:00pm (PT), they were beat. After saying goodbye to them we walked the strip to take in some of the sights.
Marvin, Judy, Mike, Barb and I
The Birthday Girl!

Bellagio Water Show

·         Barb got a donut!
Friday morning I woke up at 5:20am, got up and was getting dressed when Barb woke up and said, “What are you doing?” I replied, “Going to get you a buttermilk donut!”. So off I went into Henderson and scored on two buttermilk donuts!
·         We got to go kayaking again!
After our initial kayaking adventure at Lake Havasu we had the itch to get back on the water again. We put the kayak in just below our camping area and spent about an hour on the water. Of course Daisy fell in again, 6 times! I am beginning to wonder if she is doing it on purpose. We tried to go with Dino and Lisa later in the week but it was too windy.
Daisy....all wet!

Cool rock formation

Cinnamon Teal
 ·         Barb got her hair done!
Before we hit the road Barb worried about how she was going to get her hair cut and colored. She had been going to the same stylist for years. Her stylist prepared her for life on the road by giving her all the makings to color her hair on the road, in fact she offered to teach me how to color it. Barb wanted nothing to do with me touching her hair so she would get it done the infrequent times we were back in Minnesota.
Fast forward to now, the coloring has been sitting in the box for two years until this week. Both Dino and Lisa are former stylists and were nice enough to color Barb’s hair for her!

Theres my beauty!
  ·         We fed the fish and ducks at the Marina!
We had stopped by here on a previous trip but did not have a camera with us. There are fish and ducks everywhere. Very cool spot to stop if you are in the area. The fish just get into a frenzy to the points where they climb over each other right out of the water! Lisa and Barb were seriously grossed out by all the sucking mouths at the top of the water.
Stripe Bass and Suckers were everywhere!

See the Redhead diving under the dock?
Lips only a mother could kiss

Feeding Frenzy!!
Hen Redhead

Drake Redhead

Drake Ringbill

Drake Common Merganser
·         We got to hang with Steve and Joan!
Over the course of the 5 days we saw Steve and Joan several times......Bowling, jeeping, hiking, eating out and game night!……

Nice form!
We had not been bowling for years; Barb did pretty well, while I on the other hand….not so much.
At $40/person, the seafood buffet at M casino was very good and well worth the money. Afterwards we walked the casino gambling a bit; Joan played Pai Gow while Barb and I walked around playing some slots. We walked out $9 ahead ………
Along with Dino and Lisa, the 6 of us went on a jeeping/hiking combo adventure. Leaving the park to the south, we crossed the dam and turned off onto a two track dirt road that led to a wash. It was a really cool trail leading in and out of the wash through some very scenic areas.
Steve and Joan led the way

Dino and Lisa rounding the corner
There we go!

Very rugged terrain

We even saw a few sheep!
After a few miles the jeep trail ended and the hiking started. The hiking trail led down the wash to the Colorado River where an old River Gauger's Station. In the 1920's this location was used to measure the impact of the dams on the Colorado River; depth, flow, silt..... really an interesting piece of history.

The trail head where we parked
Dino squeezing through a tight spot
Headed down the wash....
Joan and Lisa headed up to the station
View up river

The whole gang!
A couple more great views while jeeping

Game night! We played several card games......

Fruit Salad.....Barb was the big loser!

The Bad….
·         The wind, partying and litter is out of hand in Government Wash.
Wind is expected when you park at the end of a high point next to the lake but when it came up at 1:45am blowing over tables, chairs, our grill and rocking the trailer that really disrupted our sleep. The next day it was so windy we had to pull in our slides!
There seems to be quite a bit of partying out here on the weekends. During the week it was fairly quiet at night with an occasional car driving by after dark but on the weekend about a dozen cars pulled in on the adjacent point, built a huge fire and started partying until the wee hours of the morning. The noise isn’t too bad as it is temporary but the subsequent litter is everywhere. The shoreline is littered with bottles, cans, fishing line, diapers and other debris.
·         Barb is black and blue all over!
Over the course of the past week Barb bruised the arch of her foot after stepping down on a rock wrong. She scraped her elbow and both palms of her hands when trying to ease down a smooth rock. As she explained it to me… “The coefficient of friction was overcome by mass which turned into velocity when combined with gravity”. And she was bonked on the head at 2:00am when I reached for the phone on our overhead shelf to see what time it was.
·        Trying to park a crew cab dually truck in Las Vegas sucks! We eventually found a spot but we   had a frustrating and intense 20 minutes.
The good’s far outweighed the bad in both quantity and severity providing us a great week. Time to continue our journey north, we said our goodbyes to Dino and Lisa as well as Steve and Joan.  We won’t see either of them for months if not a year or more L.