Wednesday, April 01, 2009

I am not the Devil's Advocate... I am the Devil.

After dropping my travel companion at the convention center for the business conference, the reason she had come out here, I headed up the interstate towards the Gold Butte area. I had found this place when scanning the Vegas area with Google Earth when planning the trip and decided to check it out. Previously when I had rented a compact, I got something like the PT Cruiser, but this time it was a small VW bug with pretty much the most minimal ground clearance possible. I think a Segway could go over larger rocks than this car.

It was a long dirt road drive just to reach this pretty well known geologic feature. Devil's Throat didn't end up being much more than a sinkhole-style hole-in-the-ground, but it was pretty big at least and interesting enough for me. I had wanted to visit a nearby area known as Devil's Fire (also called Little Finland or Hobgoblin's Playground). The pictures that were posted on Panoramio and displayed on Google Earth reminded me a bit of the Escalante area when I traveled the mid-west in mid-2007. The shortest directions had me driving along a small trail from Devil's Throat until I got to a mud wash and then driving along it for a good bit further. Due to the lack of ground clearance, I wasn't even able to go that far before I had to turn around. The GPS had another route that seemed to take me closer, but it involved another 40 miles of dirt road around a mountain range, but I decided to give it a try. After traveling all the way around I got to another road that would lead me up to the place I wanted to go, but that too was pretty much blocked after a short distance by just a few rocks less than a foot tall; uggg. I ended up just exploring a few side roads and then hiking up some random hill near Gold Butte itself and taking a few panoramic pictures. After hitting a couple of geocaches in the area, I headed back to Devil's Throat. I really wanted to get to Devil's Fire, so I ended up parking near Devil's Throat and just hiking my way in. The GPS had a straight line distance of a little less than 4 miles, but unfortunately a few mountains would end up getting in the way. It took about 5.2 miles of cross country hiking and route finding to finally reach the area I intended.

After finally getting to the area, and taking a lot of pictures along the way, I spent a little time exploring the area and found myself constantly back tracking when I got to a fragile area. On the way back I decided to simply walk along the Mud Wash so I could cover ground a little faster as I didn't want to be caught out after dark without additional water. The walk back was a bit faster and neat since I could see some of the petroglyphs that were on some of the rock walls. After finally getting back to the car, I headed out of the Gold Butte area, stopping around Whitney's Pockets for some last shots as the sun went down and headed back towards civilization to get resupplied with food and water. Overall it was a moderate 11-12 mile hike (on top of the other bits I had done that day), but it was worth the effort.

Here is a Google Earth KML that shows the hiking route I took; Devil's Fire Hike.


ashok said...


I read your blog with great interest and see how much trouble you had to go thru. I am also planning a trip in Oct. and would like to know your sugestions as to what type of vehicle I should rent?. If I rent the one with high clearance would I be able to go further than you did. I am planning to spend a day therer. What is the normal hiking distance i.e not the one you took. Any suggestion in this regard will be of great help in getting ready. Is the actual area where all the formations are too large to explore?. My interest is photographing these formations.

mblitch said...

If you drive, then the hiking distance is very minimal. you can park really close along the wash and simply route find your way up, hopefully on an easier path than I found. I only had time to spend maybe two hours putzing around before I had to take off due to not wanting to be out after dark.