08:30 am - 04:00 pmEvent Category:Click to Register
Friends of Gold Butte
At the kiosk
Junction of Highway 170 & Gold Butte Rd.
Mesquite, NV, US
The CCC did a lot of work in the Gold Butte area including the dam at Whitney Pocket. They built a number of check dams on the bajada above Bunkerville, these are well known. Less familiar are the 2 check dams in Whitney Pocket Wash. That’s the goal of this hike. There have been several FoGB hikes in this wash but we have never reached the dams. Hopefully we’ll succeed today!
Like all my hikes I’ll talk a bit about the geology, here’s a little information on what we’ll see on this hike.
At Whitney Pocket we see the beautiful, variegated Navajo Sandstone which was formed ~180 million years ago in a huge sand desert. Most of the sandstone was formed as large sand dunes. The dunes were later colored red, pink, orange and yellow by small traces of iron.
I call the wash we’ll be hiking, Whitney Pocket Wash. As we enter the canyon area we’ll be passing Kaibab Limestone. This rock formed ~270 million years ago in a warm tropical sea and forms the rim of the Grand Canyon. Common fossils are brachiopods, coral, mollusks, sponges and crinoids and you may see these along the way.
This entire area has been faulted and tilted so there are some interesting geologic features to observe. Along the way we may see slickensides where the limestone has been polished smooth by movement against other rocks.
As we hike further up the wash, we’ll be moving back in geologic time. Our trail takes us into a thick stack of red sandstone and shale that are older. These formed around ~300 million years ago, when great masses of sand and mud washed down rivers from the east.
This hike is in wash with loose sand, rock and gravel, there is also a bit of rock scrambling. The round trip is about 5 miles, and a little over 400 feet of elevation gain.
You’ll want sturdy hiking boots, hat, sun screen and a pack for your water and lunch, a hiking stick will be helpful. Please remember to practice “leave no trace” ethics and as a courtesy to others please leave dogs at home.
When we return to vehicles please check under vehicles for any wildlife such as tortoises that might have taken up residence. This is more important in warmer weather but a good habit to develop at all times. Another good practice is to check you footwear for Cholla stickers, they are ubiquitous in the desert quite easy to step on without noticing.