Sunday, October 29, 2017

More River Time

The group of twelve that camped behind us said they were staying two nights but loaded up and left about 3:30 p.m. the second day. It was really interesting to watch them. I would have been very uncomfortable launching a group of that size that late in the day, but it seemed to work for them.

After a quiet second night at Arizona Hot Springs, we headed down stream. Our plan was to visit viewpoints along the river for an earth cache and then set up camp at Cranes Nest Wash (Mile 55.9) for a couple nights.

Unlike our first day, we had glassy water for the move from Arizona Hot Springs to Cranes Nest. I love paddling into reflections!

I love some of the geology in Cranes Nest Wash. This is an area that is typically ignored by folks on the river. Part of the wash has beautifully layered rock, with the layers running vertically. I especially liked this rock that we thought should be called the Eye of the Needle.

Further up the wash we found water sculpted pour overs

and pot holes. Given how rarely there is any water flowing in the wash, it's hard to imagine how many years it took to sculpt these rocks.

I loved the way that the conglomerate is all shaped by the water flows, leaving all the rocks even.

The lower part of the wash is in a wilderness area. There is a road that comes part way down the wash. At about .6 miles from the river is a nice sign indicating a camping area and No Target Shooting. Down the wash a bit further, where the road ends, is another sign, clearly used as a target!

By the end of time on the river, I was looking pretty grubby.

Unlike when we first started paddling this section of river, there is now a 32 page guide book printed on waterproof paper that points out many of the highlights. It's also available as a large pdf file from the Boulder City library.

We were blessed with another paddling day of light breezes. Easy paddling but hard to get reflection pictures.

We took out below the boat ramp at Willow Beach Marina. (about River Mile 52.5)

This section of the river was recently highlighted in Backpacker Magazine. Unfortunately, that article had lots of incorrect information.

There is no fee for camping in the Black Canyon but there is a $22 fee for launching at the dam. That fee is reduced if you have a Senior Pass. In addition to the launch fee, you MUST pay a shuttle service to launch you at the dam. That price varies depending on if you are providing your own boats or renting boats or using a guide.

This section can also be paddled upstream, launching from Willow Beach Marina, saving the cost and missing the experience of launching at the dam.

If you want to launch at the dam, I highly recommend our friends at Desert Adventures in Boulder City, NV or Desert River Outfitters in Bullhead City, AZ.


  1. Enjoyed the tale...loved the reflections. Hope to paddle there someday!

    1. It's a beautiful area and a wonderful day trip if the wind isn't blowing.

  2. Oh, how I love those reflection shots! So serene! Looks like a wonderful trip. What is the status of Kathy's canoe project?

    1. Kathy's canoe looks just like it did over a year ago. Between stuff sneaking ahead of it on her list and mine, we haven't even ripped the strips.

    2. Oh, got it. Well, I look forward to following the project when the time is right for you both...