I left Molly at home. I can’t take a chance of Molly getting cactus spikes in her soft little paws. Besides the hike wasn’t going to take more than 90 minutes.
Armed with a water bottle and the NIKON I jumped in the car and drove the short distance on Vulture Mine Rd. to the BLM-area. The number of RVs parked there had increased a lot over the weekend.
Before taking off I had found the following description on the Internet:
The trail is unsigned and begins on an old jeep track that drops steeply from the parking area into a wash, and then climbs back up the other side. After about 100 yards the road forks- take the left fork. In another hundred yards the trail to the arch branches out on the left, and is marked with small cairns on either side. Keep your eye out for these cairns or you'll miss it! The trail is narrow, yet well-traveled, and the vegetation is up-close and personal on either side. Watch out for prickly pear and cholla sticking out over the trail. This stretch gently gains elevation, following a wash to the left. Soon the trail tops out at a low saddle. Not far past the saddle, at about 0.6 mile, is another fork in the trail- take the left fork again. This fork is cairned. If you take the right fork you will switchback steeply up the side of a hill. If you find yourself doing this, you are on the wrong trail! The route to Dana's Arch never gets steep at all. After turning left, the trail contours around a small hill with volcanic tuffs rising to the left before gradually descending off the hill and connecting with the bottom of a wash. When you start walking on the bed of the wash, you are just about to the arch. Keep your eye out for another small cairn on the left directing you out of the wash. When you climb out, the trail quickly disappears, and you can see the arch on the ridge immediately to the east (left).
I found out that one has to drive straight ahead from the BLM-camp towards the mountains. I parked where the Jeep road ends. The trail continues down into the wash, described above. Following the cairns it is not much of a challenge to find the arch.
Something which occurred to me on my return hike, was that I was all by myself out here. If I should fall, break an ankle or worse, my leg there wasn’t much help to expect. I did have my cell phone with me, but would it work out here, behind the mountains? Not likely!
So the learning experience of this is: let somebody know about your planned hike. make out a time when you have to call them or turn up again in person. Let them know your planned route and ask them to call in the SAR crew if the agreed upon time goes by without you turning up again.
The desert is pretty unforgiving if you get into a distress situation. I was just lucky today when I stumbled over a rock. I could just catch my balance, before anything worse happened.
And now back to Holtville:
Things are happening out there. The three pictures I received from Linda Suek are telling us
They are fixing the Bridge!