Amargosa Canyon

Part 3: Entering the Canyon!

The Amargosa River on the day after a significant winter storm

Right next to the town of Tecopa, California, the Amargosa River is typically sporting some water from the springs and seeps that feed it in this low-lying (about 1200 to 1500 feet elevation) groundwater discharge area.  This day, after a sizable winter storm, it is moving significant amounts of water southward!

This is the viewto the north, with water coming from the marsh and small lakes area to the west of Tecopa:

And this is the view to the south, with water entering Amargosa Canyon, our destination:

The Use of A Four-Wheel Drive Vehicle

OK, so I am a chicken.  When right at the start the road was slick and I had to keep going to keep going, I flipped a U-turn and parked the vehicle and walked instead!

These are my tracks coming and going to avoid that mud-puddle.

Even hoofing it was tricky, sometimes it felt as if my shoes were being sucked off my feet in parts of the road.  Could I have driven it after all?  Maybe.  There was a really soft section beyond the big puddle.  

But look here, just past the big puddle, the road appears to end:

Sure enough, a big sign meant the end of driving.  Walking added about 10 minutes to the hike in each direction, not taking the car down this road was a trivial inconvenience.  

Let that be a lesson to me: I had assumed this was a drive-through canyon, and 'assuming' is not always a reliable guide to reality!  What a rude revelation!

It is stricly a walk-through canyon.

So, let's follow the trail!

Entering the Amargosa Canyon

Behind this unassuming sign the trail very quickly gets scenic.  This is a scene from the trail looking back to town:

Some of the views when we look up and out of the vegetation are also very pleasant in spite of the obvious fact that the entire place was burnt out a few years ago, judging by the black remnants of trees and bushes everywhere:

The canyon bottom is forbiddingly muddy, and I am grateful for the trail being on higher ground, even if it lies in tall weeds and grasses at times.

Like the grassy area, this reedy area is also quite a nice if muddy and slippery surprise:

After emerging from these reeds, I took a look back and forward.  I was guessing I was approaching the midway point of the canyon.  I was surprised to see that the same thunderstorm I had admired from a great distance before was coming closer, and growing.

Turning south offered this view.  The golden mass signaled a tributary canyon, in this case a rocky slope with seeps:

It was easy to locate places where water seeped onto or near the surface: there were clumps of vegetation in such places, doing very well!

One of the nicer tributary canyons has higher walls upstream:

And a lower wall as it enters the main canyon:

It turns out that the vegetated slope (seen from a distance before) is an area of general seepage situated on a slope between two rocky ridges:

I am under the impression I am already halfway into the canyon, and need to start a fresh page to share its sights and wonders.


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