Monday, December 29, 2014

Whitney Pocket, NV

Where? About one hour north of Las Vegas on I-15 is the city of Mesquite in the Virgin Valley. Head east about 30 miles on the rough but paved Gold Butte Road to Whitney Pocket, an area of orange, pink and yellow rocky outcroppings in the desert nestled beneath the Virgin Mountains.

Whitney Pocket

Our campsite among the colourful rocks and joshua trees. There are several "dispersed" campsites in this area and other campers (mostly ATVers) come and go. We spend Christmas here.

Grady loves it here, climbing the rock faces and rolling around on the flat, rough sections. His climbing skills are greatly improved following our week here.

Many different lichens grow on the rocks, including moss which you don't expect to see in the desert. It's very wet here for some reason, perhaps they've had a lot of rain recently.

We spend several days just scrambling around on the various rocky outcroppings. This is a typical formation, similar to the "beehives" found in nearby Valley of Fire State Park.
Little Finland

About 20 miles from Whitney Pocket, down the very rough Gold Butte Road and sandy Mud Wash is an area known as Little Finland where unusually eroded sandstone shapes haunt the silent desert. I love this photo because it creates a wonderful illusion.

Much of the orange sandstone is streaked with white, probably gypsum deposits.

One of the "goblin" creatures overlooking the valley.

Another unusual, more elaborate shape. This block is about five feet high and eight feet wide.

Part of the ridge, with the eroded shapes towering into the clear, blue sky.

Looking south down the length of the half-mile ridge. The palm trees at the base of the cliffs look as if they've been planted here specifically to add a splash of green to the otherwise red/orange landscape. You might have trouble seeing him, but Brad is the blue dot on the cliff edge between the nearest two palm trees.
Gold Butte Road

The old mining location of Gold Butte, which was active only from 1905 to 1910 when gold was found in the area. There's really not much left here except a few concrete pads and rusted sluicing equipment. Although this photo is kind of boring, I include it because this area is so different from nearby locations.

Between Little Finland and Gold Butte Road is a short but interesting slot canyon known as the Seven Keyholes.

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