Sailing Aboard the S.S. Texas Toast

By January 3, 2020 January 27th, 2020 Campsites, Excursions

We still had much to explore from our Kingman Wash launch pad.  That involved hauling out the leaky inner tube that doubled as our pleasure craft, and hiking to the amazing Ringbolt hot spring canyon.

The day dawned bright and crisp, but instead of seizing it carpe diem style, we rolled out of bed in a manner befitting the semi-retired.  By two we were in the truck and bound out for the Willow Beach launch on Lake Mohave, within the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.  The Davis Dam forms the lake, which is crystal clear and no more than 50 feet wide in most places.  With the “All Aboard” whistle, we set off upstream for the mile or so row to our goal: Emerald Cave.

Along the way, our first mate took full advantage of the lack of much momentum, and clambered his way onto his back for a little mid-stream siesta.

After a mile and a half of heavy rowing (at least it looked like hard work from my perch in the bow), we had arrived.  The photo doesn’t do justice to the water’s incredible emerald hue.  I bounced us from side to side of the little cove, and still the seams held on our trusty little water doughnut.

By the time we were done cavorting, dusk had fallen over the canyon.  I did my part and pointed the way back over our stoker’s shoulder as she tirelessly pulled us back to the shore.  We arrived as night fell, and we quickly pulled the plug on the whole nautical affair.

The next morning we again crawled out of Kingman Wash to pay a visit to a local area hot pot.  Ringbolt (aka Arizona) Hot Springs.  The trail began at a wide wash, crossed under the highway, and then ran down toward Lake Mohave.

The wash quickly narrowed, and soon we were twisting our way through turn after turn, as the canyon walls towered above us.

After an incredible 3.5 mile down-hike through the ever-narrowing slot canyon, we eventually dropped right onto the shore of Lake Mohave.  The view gives an indication of the purity of the river’s waters.  Right at this point was the most ferocious whitewater rapids along the entire stretch of the Colorado, until the lake backed up over it and immersed forever its danger and its majesty.

Through the willows we saw the reason for Ringbolt’s name: A giant ringbolt driven into the rock face.  A series of these ran up the river, and ropes were passed through them, in the pre-dam days to draw boats up and over the monstrous rapids.

We traveled along the river for a ways before a very ambiguous trail turned back into a narrow canyon with a thin stream at the bottom that grew ever warmer as we wound up the little wash.

We turned a corner in the wash and there it was:  The 20′ ladder up to the hot pots themselves.  I hoisted Denver over my shoulder, and with Rebecca in front, made my way up, rung-by-rung.

Paradise Found!  At the top were three tubs, all dammed by sandbags. They spanned the 5′ wide slickrock canyon, and increased in temperature as one passed through them to the source.   Here’s Rebecca in the top-most, 107 degree pool.  We spent a solid hour relaxing the healing waters before beginning our hike up and out.

The return leg was both steeper and shorter than the way in.  High bluffs towered over the ridge walk until we spilled into the wash just south of our point of entry into the canyon.  A fantastic hike and with an ethereal goal, we were relaxed and ready for whatever adventures came our way next!

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