Gold Butte Campout, February 2016

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Yvonne

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Gold Butte Campout, February 2016

Like every year on President’s Day weekend, I headed out again to Southern Nevada to camp and explore in the Gold Butte area, now a national monument. The entire area is a true gem and so close to home in St. George that I really enjoy my weekends of exploration out there.
Because of the holiday weekend, it would for sure be pretty crowded, especially with the nice temperatures we were recently having.
That’s the nice thing about living in a desert environment – it was already warm enough for t-shirt and shorts during the day. My car was packed pretty fast and I stopped in Mesquite to fill up my Xterra. From there it was only a few more miles to the exit. I passed the Bundy Ranch and continued on Gold Butte Byway. I had a lot on my list for this weekend but decided to hike to the Lollipop rock art area first. The campsites near Whitney Pocket were all packed with campers, I was glad that I did not want to stay there overnight.

I continued halfway the road to Little Finland to the Pictographs on the cliff next to the road. From there a little spur road led up a hill and continued for about half a mile before it ended at a roundabout.


start of the trail

The trail to Lollipops is pretty sandy and also passes a sand dune. Shortly after that, I stopped at the first rock art panel which was in an alcove to the left. I found it last year on one of my scouting trips out here.





Soon I reached Lollipops. The rock art panel really looked like lollipops. I really liked that one a lot and went to visit each time I was out here.


Lollipops



After that short hike, I went back and continued to drive all the way to Little Finland. That’s where I wanted to camp tonight and I hoped no one had the same idea. I arrived at a deserted parking area next to the palm trees and set up camp on the “playa”. I really liked this spot a lot and from here it was just a short walk up the hill to visit the fragile sandstone figures of Hobgoblin playground.





The light was perfect now later in the afternoon, only the lack of clouds was a bit of a bummer. I walked around and took a lot of pictures.





I also visited the two rock art panels that were out here. One up on a cliff and the other on a slab of blackened sandstone. I discovered it two years ago. I’ve been here so many times and never saw it. That was pretty exciting.





The light was getting nicer and I enjoyed the walk around. Only a few high clouds were visible at sunset. That was a bummer.











After sunset, I enjoyed the campfire and later on a shot of my tent at night. The moon was still almost full and created a lot of light. I was too lazy to shoot the hobgoblins at night; it was also pretty chilly.



I broke camp pretty soon the next morning and drove back a bit. About the area of the horse corrals in mud wash, I parked my car and went on a scouting trip. I knew somewhere out there was a feature know as Keyhole Canyon, which included a rock art panel on its canyon walls. I had no description of where it was but had a slight idea. Since I scouted the area so many times without finding it, I was pretty sure that I would find it today.

I walked towards some pretty nice sandstone outcroppings and started to explore. The area was really pretty and I found quite a few rock art panels.







At one point I ended up in a box canyon and had to turn around. But it was pretty as well.



I walked further and soon found what I was looking for: a keyhole-shaped entrance to a canyon. I went in and finally, I was at the right spot. Pretty amazing that I finally found it without a map, description or anything else.





I also found a Great Horned Owl in it, it was resting on a tree high up in the canyon. I climbed a bit up to get a closer look, it still napped on its branch and I did not even bother it. That was pretty amazing and I really loved it.



Happy that I accomplished my search, I hiked back to my car and drove to the Falling Man Rock Art Panel parking lot. Despite the Falling Man, there was a lot more out here and I wanted to revisit a few of the rock art panels out here.
The hike around was nice, even though barely any of the wildflowers were visible yet. Some years they are really out early.





Anyway, I enjoyed the walk and also hiked to the 21 Sheep Panel, which was only about 1.5 miles away from here.





When I headed back, I hiked out via Newspaper Rock and then to the Falling Men.




the turtle was pretty awesome





The sky looked much nicer this afternoon and more and more high clouds were appearing. I really hoped for a nice sunset tonight. After I went back to the parking lot I drove again to the Lollipops roundabout. I decided to camp there tonight. It was a nice area and barely anyone showed up there. I was alone again and set up camp fast. I then enjoyed the location and waited for sunset.







It did not disappoint and soon after I started my campfire. I also used my black light a bit and searched for scorpions. And of course, they were almost in every sandy part. I saw at least 25.







They were pretty cool. Because of all the scorpions, I decided to keep my shoes inside my tent.

Sunrise the next morning was really nice and colorful.





Shortly after that I broke camp and headed back home. Even though I had Monday off due to the holiday, I had to finish a paper for my history class that was due in four days. Despite a full load of work for university it was great to get out a bit and play. And I really love to have amazing locations like the Gold Butte Area so close to home.
 

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#3
Beautiful pics!
 

WasatchWill

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#4
Wow, Yvnonne, those are some amazing photos! What an enjoyable looking trip at a great-looking place for exploration with some cool discoveries and a lot of great rock art and geological textures. Great TR! I really liked that silhouette shot that looks like a dragon or wolf head. The scorpion shots...not so much. :eek: . In all seriousness though, those were neat too with the black light affect going on. Do you still live in St. George, or do you call Hawaii home now? It seems like almost all your pics on IG lately have mostly been those amazing lava shots you've been posting over the last year or two.
 

Yvonne

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Wow, Yvnonne, those are some amazing photos! What an enjoyable looking trip at a great-looking place for exploration with some cool discoveries and a lot of great rock art and geological textures. Great TR! I really liked that silhouette shot that looks like a dragon or wolf head. The scorpion shots...not so much. :eek: . In all seriousness though, those were neat too with the black light affect going on. Do you still live in St. George, or do you call Hawaii home now? It seems like almost all your pics on IG lately have mostly been those amazing lava shots you've been posting over the last year or two.
Thanks Will
Last June I moved to Hawai'i for good. I worked for a few months for the company traveling back and forth for a week each month while still in school but it was too much and at the end also too expensive.
Since I moved to the Big Island, I'm out at the lava at least 2-6 times a week. Often with guests on our tours. It's like a dream came true with a fun job plus play time each time you go.

These desert trips were amazing as well, I always loved exploring and hiked randomly across the desert. That's when you usually find the best stuff. I hope one of these days I can head back for a few trips and do more camping and exploring.

I'm so way behind with trip reports I decided I have to start at one point with something. Be ready for more in the near future. Lava and desert trips
 

Ben

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#7
this was fantastic, thanks for sharing it. i love that there is so much rock art out there.
 

Miya

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#9
OoooOOOooo amazing! Thanks for sharing. Such a stunning report! Love the owl!
 

Vegan.Hiker

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#10
Such amazing photography. Hard to pick a favorite but if I had to it would be the night tent shot. Absolutely stunning.
 

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#12
Hey Yvonne.....Any opinions about a person traveling out to Gold Butte in a regular car? I have been studying it on Google Earth. It looks like it turns to dirt near Whitney Pockets? Pass that I would assume it is a progressive decomposition?
 

Yvonne

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Hey Yvonne.....Any opinions about a person traveling out to Gold Butte in a regular car? I have been studying it on Google Earth. It looks like it turns to dirt near Whitney Pockets? Pass that I would assume it is a progressive decomposition?
the road is paved to Whitney Pockets. After that it is dort and can be pretty rough and washed out, depending how many storms there were throughout the winter. I had years when it was super smooth and easy, but last year and in 2016 it was all washed out and rutted in many spots. As soon as you turn into mud wash, it is sort of dirt and sandy.
I would definitely recommend high clearance to get so some of the spots. I doubt that a regular car can get to many of the locations
 
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#17
that's one of the advantages of my Tokina wide-angle lens, love the way it creates sunbursts
Thanks. I didn’t realise they come out better with a wide angle lens. I just got a Canon one - will have to try it


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