Hoovering Over Lake Mead

By January 1, 2020 January 20th, 2020 Campsites, Excursions

After burning through yet another NYE in Las Vegas, we interstated our way into Arizona.  Just across the dam, Kingman Wash cuts 60 miles up into crazily colored country, and gave us the chance to drop anchor for an in-depth exploration by boot and boat.

Good ol’ Sam’s Town KOA, where my parents would take my sister and I in the pop-up.  That was the age when you could drop your kids off with the mobsters at Circus Circus while you spend hard earned money on the floor, and not be considered a neglectful parent.

We roosted here during the New Year’s Celebrations:  Me, with a feverish chest cold, and Rebecca, who’d just come down with the gambling bug!

Less than an hour’s drive east of Vegas, we clunked 3 miles up a rutted path before turning into the wash itself.  We found a suitable gravel bar in the narrow drainage and rooted to it. Fortification Hill hung 1500′ above us, and down a mile or so was the Kingman Wash beachfront on Lake Mead.  Perfectly placed to do some AZ exploring!

That first night crashed over us clear and bright, with the blue wink of Lake Mead just visible between the hilltops.

The next day we drove the few miles up the wash to the trailhead for Fortification (or as Rebecca called it, Fornication) Hill.  As we climbed, it became obvious we were the attraction for the steady stream of helicopters flying the path from Vegas to the Grand Canyon.  We were the last up the mountain, and with 1500′ elevation to make, we figured we’d be coming down in the dark.

There’s Rebecca, (typically) ahead of me on the ridgewalk up a spine, before ascending the obstacle of the cliff face.

The sun bled through the late afternoon’s cloud cover as we approached the cliff by way of a scree slope scramble.  Tough going, but the mutt loved it!

The view south from the trail of the Lake Mead NRA, and on to the Davis Dam, which backs up Lake Mohave.

The top finally reached, and the view southwest over just a clip of concrete from the Hoover Dam.  The bypass over the heights of Lake Mohave and the red rocks below made for quite the evening’s spectacle.  With dusk descending, and the tourist-filled choppers no longer running, we decided to high-tail back to camp.

It would have been a tricky route off the reef, but for the tall cairn I’d made showing the only route off the reef.  Two hikers were reportedly stuck up here earlier due their failing to find the elusive crawl down the cliff.  Denver, however, needed no cairn.  He unerringly followed the smell of his butt all the way back down.

The rise to the east is bloodied by the rays of the dying sun.  We needed no clock to tell us to hurry along.

Rebecca is nearly lost in the crimson gloom, but her smile had all the candlepower I needed to guide me down the darkened trail.

The Arizona sky looked like an O’Keefe color palette as it shrouded all detail and the mountain ranges to the far south became silhouettes.  We made it to the truck with the path lit by stars, and settled in for our first night under the AZ flag!

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