Mojave Arch Hunting

Categories: Utah

Sometimes on road trips through the back country of the Mojave I’ll see arches off in the distance or high on rocky slopes but it’s far too hot to get out and go check them out. So I make a note of them and during the winter I keep them as an option for days when I don’t really have anything else to do. A couple of these arches are in the Beaver Dam Wash area to the west of the Beaver Dam Mountains. I decided to go check them out on two different winter days.

The first arch I had spied from the road on two different occasions. The first time I couldn’t quite tell if it was anything other than a large cavity in the mountain top. These cavities, or sucker holes are very common, but on another trip at a different time of day I saw a spot of light inside that cavity, which meant there must be at least a window to the sky up there. From the road though, that hole still wasn’t visible.

The big cavity as seen from a little ways up the mountain.

Do you see Kona? I’m surprised at how well her simple black and white pattern helps hide her in very different types of environments.┬áIt’s a steep climb getting up to the arch and if I hadn’t brought along my dog I would have had a hard time figuring how to get back down.

Getting closer revealed a good sized hole and the structure of an arch around it.

Kona thought this arch was really cool! There must have been some great smells in there for a dog. The ground was awkward but there was plenty of room to stand under the arch.

On the way back that day I spied another arch or hole on the top of this mountain. It’s right above the road.

We ran into a herd of deer with a good buck. I’m amazed deer can survive out here in the summer. I’m amazed anything can.

A week or so later when it had snowed in mountains above Ivins I went back out to look at that other arch I had seen. In the distance is Nevada and the remote Clover Mountain Wilderness.

Looking southwest at the Beaver and Virgin Mountains. At this point it was raining and about 45 degrees. I only had a non-waterproof down jacket but it didn’t matter as long I kept moving.

My favorite weather in the Mojave is dark gloom with scattered sun rays.

I like the semi-random but still organized spacing of plants in extreme environments, although trying to walk an efficient line of travel through them is irritating.

While the first arch I visited was considerably larger than it looked from a distance, this arch turned out to be much smaller up close. One of those funny tricks of perspective the desert can play on you. I had to crawl through this one and the other side is a cliff.

The big hill we had climbed was pretty interesting so after the arch we had a look around.

Looking back along the ridge we had been following.

 

It was like a nice spring day in Alaska, so Kona was having a good time.

The trip to the arch that day didn’t take too long so on the way back I drove up a road I hadn’t been to called “Welcome Springs” road. It ended up being a really neat place so a few weeks later I returned with Maree and Kona to hike around what I found out later was the remains of an ancient two mile long land slide. You can see pictures from that trip HERE.

As the clouds parted on the way home there was fresh snow on the Beaver Dams.

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