Sunday, November 13, 2011

Exploring near Roosevelt Lake

While taking photo point pictures near Roosevelt Lake, I had seen several things I wanted to check out further when time and weather permitted. It wasn't supposed to be raining on Saturday (it's strange how often I have to take that into consideration in a desert during a drought), so I went out there to look at a small canyon formed by Parker Creek. I did get sprinkled on a couple of times out there, but it wasn't enough rain to get anything wet. It was overcast and gloomy, though.

Parker Creek. Barely visible in the background is the scenic and more popular Parker Canyon.

The first thing I found when I got down to Parker Creek was a gold pan.

At first it looked like Parker Creek was dry. That's because it had gone underground. When I got to the narrow part of the canyon, which has a solid rock bottom, there was flowing water. That was also when the weather started to bother me. It was so gloomy. I was surrounded by grey rock with a grey sky overhead. It was also eerily quiet. I like the quiet of the desert, but it was just too quiet. There wasn't even a hint of a breeze. Near the water, you could hear it trickling over rocks, but that was the only sound. As gloomy as it looked, I wasn't very interested in taking pictures. Since the light wasn't good for pictures, I didn't want to go to the effort of clambering upstream very far.

Gloomy canyon.

A short video with the sound of the water.

There was another thing that I wanted to check out in that area. Northeast of the A-Cross ranger station (which is now closed and boarded up), there's a clump of green on the side of a large hill (must be a spring there). If you look at the area on Google Earth, it looks like there are two large, white rectangles in the middle of the green. I wanted to know what those what rectangles are.

As I drove back to A-Cross road, I noticed a small room built into the side of a hill. I had seen a larger one a little south of this one. A ranger tells me that structures like this were probably used to store explosives used to build A-Cross road. The crew working on the road was housed on the other side of the hill, safely away from the explosives. Something unusual about these two structures is the concrete roofs. Usually, the roof would be made of something flimsy so all the force of an explosion would go up, without launching rock missiles.

Explosives storage.

From the top of the hill with the explosives storage rooms, I could see a structure of some sort in the middle of the trees on the side of the hill northeast of the old ranger station. I was getting really curious about what it was.

The (closed) A-Cross ranger station, and something on a hill.

The road to the ranger station is closed, also, but I was able to get reasonably close. For most of the way up the hill, I couldn't see what I was looking for and just had to go in the direction I thought I should. That usually works pretty good, though. I came across a couple of low walls along the way. They must have been built in an attempt to control erosion.

A low wall on the side of the hill.

I didn't approach the spring from the best angle. I struggled through dense vegetation and a pile of plant debris to get to it. There's a fence around the area and the plant debris came from clearing out the fenced area.

My first view of the structure. A fence inside a fence? And how could this show up on Google Earth?

I could see a gate and worked my way over to it. There was a sign there that said, "BAR ELEVEN RANCH WATER SOURCE KEEP OUT". OK, I know what it is, but I still don't know what the big white rectangles are. I figured the "keep out" part was meant for people that might mess with their water and went in, being very careful not to mess with anything. I would have gone around the outside to see what was in there if it hadn't been nearly impossible to move through the dense foliage outside the fence. Anyway, the white rectangles are the cement lids over large tanks that capture spring water. Mystery solved. The fence at the back is to keep dirt from washing down and covering the tanks.

The white rectangles.

Turns out that there's a trail going up to the water tanks. I followed it on the way down. It was much easier than the trip up there. It was getting dark by the time I got to the truck.


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