Friday, November 30, 2018

RonnieAdventure #0336 - Arrow Canyon Wilderness Area, Clark County, Nevada

Arrow Canyon - Picture by Jim Boone, Ph.D., Ecology 
Several years ago, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Wilderness Specialist invited me to join him and his family on an overnight outing to explore the Arrow Canyon Wilderness Area, which includes the bajadas and canyons located in the northern part of the Arrow Range of mountains about 45 miles northeast of Las Vegas. Due to a scheduling problem, I could not make it on the Friday overnight; but I arranged to meet him in the wilderness area early Saturday morning. When Kolohe learned about the outing, she immediately volunteered to go along. 

The Arrow Canyon Wilderness Area contains 27,530-acres and received wilderness status as part of the Clark County Conservation of Public Land and Natural Resources Act of 2002. Extensive petroglyph panels are found throughout the area, along with agave roasting pits, shelter caves, stone scrapers, and broken arrowheads. The area is also home to desert bighorn sheep, chuckwallas, desert tortoise, and numerous other desert animals and birds. I'm not a paleontologist, but Jim Boone, Ph.D., Ecology, states that "Fossils are common in the area, and it is possible to find crinoids, brachiopods, corals, and other marine organisms, as well as the roots of Lepidodendron trees. Many of the fossils date to the Cambrian period, 500 million years ago, when these rocks were mucky sediments accumulating at the bottom of the ocean."

After obtaining wilderness status, all trails within the wilderness area were closed to vehicular traffic and a 4-wheeldrive vehicle was required to reach the wilderness boundary. Since there are no official trailheads, we arranged to meet at the wilderness boundary.

When we arrived at the designated location, all we found was a canyon full of brush. Since I knew the approximate location of where they had planned to camp, Kolohe and I struck out following an old trail. After wandering around in several arroyos, we finally located the BLM Wilderness Specialist and his family. On the way through the wilderness area, we also had time to explore some dry washes and slot canyons. 

There were a wide variety of petrogyphs in the canyons, some types of which I have never seen before. 

In many places, the canyon walls are so tall that sunlight seldom reached the canyon floor. 

We also located some fossils that were estimated to be about 500 million years old, but did not find the fossilized Lepidodendron Tree Roots.

Lepidodendron Tree Root - Picture by Jim Boone,Ph.D., Ecology
We also located a grinding area and a famous triangular rock covered with petroglyphs. There are many theories about the rock petroglyphs; but no one knows for sure what the symbols mean, or if they are just doodling. 

Arrow Canyon Wilderness is not a popular destination, so we spent the entire day enjoying the wilderness area, desert scenery, and the solitude without ever seeing any other homosapiens.