Thursday, January 19, 2012

Will and Zak's Colorado source to sea

Over the weekend, I was provided the opportunity to play a small part in Will and Zak's journey down the Colorado river that they started in October. They contacted me via They were scheduled to pass through Yuma on MLK Jr. day, which I had off. I let them know I was happy to help out which what I could.
 Floating into Yuma
 Wondering who this guy taking pictures is

I saw from their spot that they would reach Yuma around around 10. I headed down to the river at East Wetland park to say hello as they came by. They were pretty easy to spot. I have never seen anyone else paddling the river, especially not in pack rafts. After spotting them, I meet up with them on the beach under the Ocean to Ocean Highway in Gateway park. They hadn't found a good camping spot the night before and so had skipped breakfast. I told them there was a good diner across the street. We stowed some of the gear in my truck and went over for breakfast. We discussed their plan for the day. They wanted to reach Morelos Dam, which was right at the boarder of Mexico 11 miles down stream, before the end of the day. They invited me to join them if I could get a boat. Unfortunately due to the holiday the kayak rental place was closed. I told them I could hold on to their packs and meet them at the dam later in the day.

Picking up two guys on the Colorado river where it boarders Mexico is a little sketchy. I timed their journey well, and arrived at about the same time they did. There were Boarder Patrol in the area, and they became pretty interested when I meet up with two guys coming out of the river. Luckily I had their packs so the BP didn't have much gear of theirs to search, and after checking our shoe tread, we were free to hang out around the dam.
Morelos Dam where the Colorado ends
Little blue boat next to the Dam

This was the end of the easy part of the trip. The logistics of getting into Mexico and down to the Sea of Cortez would be hard, because there is no water in the river bed after Morelos Dam. The Colorado is a dry river bed from the dam for about 75 miles down to the Sea of Cortez. That means it is either hike or try and navigate the maze of dangerous irrigation canals. The canals can't be counted on to have water flowing in them, so at any time you can run out of water. When I wasn't at work I tried to help them figure out some of their logistics, before sending them on their way.

Here is the first video of their trip.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Jan mountain bike near Yuma

Heading out for the first time this year back to Laguna Mountains for some biking. I headed south for the first time. Based on the map I expected to find a lot more trails closer together on the south side. I didn't find as many as I expected. I think I found enough single track I could link all together without using the jeep trails much. Maybe next time.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Palm Canyon, AZ

The Yuma climbing club confined for the first time, and took a trip out to palm canyon. speaks of a 3 pitch water streak in palm canyon. I had never been to palm canyon, so I wasn't sure how easy it would be to find this climbable water streak.

 View up the canyon from parking lot

There was a promising looking water streak at the opening of the canyon. The approach was a little rough. Once we reached the water streak we found it to be pretty chossy. The surrounding area was more chossy, than the water streak, but the streak still wasn't good climbing.

 The climbing club at the bottom of the water streak

After the first water streak didn't work out too well, we continued up the canyon trail, looking for the 3 pitch route.

 The Palms

A little ways up the canyon we stopped at this promising looking spot. The bottom 15 feet or so were not too chossy. We spent a little bit of time bouldering here. 

In the end we never did find the climbable water streak. We will have to contact the guy from the forum to find out more information on this climbing spot. Not sure if it is worth while to climb here since it is almost just as far away as Valley of the Moon, which has much better climbing. There is some good hiking and exploring to be done in Palm Canyon, but not so much with the climbing.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Tumco gold mines, CA

After searching the CA BLM site I found out about Tumco mines and it wasn't too far from Yuma. It is an old gold mining area that still is mined at, but with more modern mining practices. I wandered around for about 3 miles in the 100 degree fall.

Current mine

It was easy to get to. The parking area didn't offer much information, but you could see somewhat of a trial with shaded benches and site marker. So I just headed off in that direction.

There is not much left of what was at one time the town. A few foundations and shacks, and the leaching tanks are all that remains.

This area still has some old mines. They look pretty inviting, but some articles about people dying in them was enough to deter me.

Since i had no guide of any type I didn't know what most of the marked sites were. other than the leaching tanks.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Picacho State recreation area, CA

Picacho, is a little park along the Colorado river in CA. I discovered by accident on my trip down Indian Pass road. At the end of the road I hit the park, and the fee area which was one of the things that caused me to turn around.

I did some research and found there was an easier route into the park, Picacho road, which is mostly unpaved. It is a well kept dirt road, passable by passenger cars, rvs and trailers, but the going will be slower. In my truck I can make it from Yuma to the park in about 45 minutes.

A web site recommended the stamp mill trail and ice cream canyon. I decided to make that my first hike, because it was a nice long loop. I did it back in October when the daytime temps were still hitting 3 digits. It was my first time using my iPhone with the GPS app. I was really impressed with the views of the Colorado river on this hike, It is around this area that the Colorado goes from canyons to the flat open desert. The stamp mill from the days of gold mining are also pretty well preserved.

Today I made my second trip to Picacho. I decided to hike the Red Rock falls. It is a pretty short hike if you just walk up the wash to the falls. By a happy accident I missed the falls because I took a side canyon and looped up and around above the falls without seeing them until my return trip. After about a mile of following the wash I started following the wild burro trails. Then I headed back down to the wash and took a side canyon, before deciding to go to the top of one of the low peaks for some photos. I became slightly disoriented after I was done taking the photos and almost set off in the wrong direction. I managed to regain my bearings and head back to the main wash that has the falls. When I reached the falls I was surprised. It is just a cliff with a little spout. I am sure it looks pretty impressive when there is water flowing through it, even if just a trickle.

 Desert Pool

Red Rock Falls from the bottom

When I finished Red Rock, I wasn't quite ready to leave yet so I decided to hike the Stewart Lake trail. This trail can be done as a loop, but I did it as an out and back. Near the campgrounds the trail was pretty overgrown, and in a few other areas there were some sharp desert plants across the trail. This was a pretty easy hike offering some good views of the Colorado river.