A couple times when we were further back from our boondocking spot we could see some red rock buried back in the mountains behind us. Today we hiked out to see what we could find. Our hike was only 5 miles but it took us 3 hours because there was no trail and we weren’t sure where we wanted to go.
CCC Dam & Neopolitan Arch
Before our canyon exploring, we checked out some of the different formations by where we are boondocking. Whitney Pocket is the outcropping of red and white sandstone rock crags down the road from us. First we hiked to the dam. We climbed the dam stairs to see the dam built by the CCC during the Great Depression when the federal government put men to work. During the 1800’s the west had been unusually wet, giving ranchers plenty of forage for cattle but also giving them the wrong impression of the climate. By the 1900’s the land was drying out and the ranchers began building dams and other water control structures like this dam at Whitney Pocket. There isn’t any water to dam up now, but the structure still stands.
Across the gravel road was another giant rocky formation and we headed over to have a look. There isn’t too much to say about the Neopolitan Arch. I assume it’s called that for its color. We didn’t spend much time here because we had a canyon to explore!
We hiked across the hill to the beginning of the canyon behind Whitney Pocket. After descending to the wash, we followed that for quite a ways. It’s a narrow wash with jumbles of rocks and lots of sticky plants so the going is quite slow. There is no trail, we just headed up the canyon. A few times we climbed out of the canyon to get a view of where we were headed and wow, this is really rugged landscape.
After a couple miles we came up against a giant towering bowl of red rock cliffs. Why not head up? This was EXTREMELY slow going and difficult terrain that required making a route. A couple times we had to correct course when the piles of rocks and ledges became nearly impenetrable but after a lot of work, we finished by scurrying up the steep rock slab towards the top. We hoped we could descend the back side and loop around to our start. Happiness ensued and after splitting an energy bar we hiked down the backside to meet up with a two track and then gravel road that led back to our camp. True wandering.
We pigged out on leftover black bean and chicken tostado leftovers and began to plan the next day’s adventure.