Saturday, April 8, 2017

Gold Butte National Monument, NV (3/23/2017)

In December, 2016, President Obama designated two new national monuments, one in Utah and one in Nevada.  The one in Nevada is called Gold Butte, named for a ghost town there.  The entry to Gold Butte is about 75 miles from Las Vegas and 25 miles from my campground in Beaver Dam, AZ.  More importantly, it is only 35 miles from Valley of Fire State Park, which has some of the most colorful and shapely sandstone formations found anywhere.  It's not surprising that some of those characteristics carry over into Gold Butte.

Gold Butte has a number of features that appeal to me.  In addition to the ghost town, there is the camping area called Whitney Pocket, an area where Indian rock art can be found, and an area called Little Finland, famous for its extreme rock formations.  Named for the "fins" of its red Aztec sandstone, not for any connection to the country of Finland, this area has been on my "to do" list for some years.  I was near it many years ago, but had no good directions to find it.  Now I have those good directions, so this was my opportunity to finally visit Little Finland.

From where you leave the highway, it is 20 miles to Whitney Pocket.  The road was paved at one time, but fully half of it has deteriorated to the point it is nothing but a jumble of broken asphalt on the ground, very rough.  So, while part of the trip is smooth, much of it is slow going.  If the road ever gets a new surface, I would love to dry camp at Whitney Pocket.  Until then, I'll go in the LRJ, but not in the motor home.

After two days of being grounded by cloudy, drizzly weather, I was determined to go this day, despite the concern for being in the desert when heavy rain occurs.  Flash floods can ruin your day, of course, but even a small amount of rain can make roads and washes impassable.  Naturally, I kept my eye on conditions, not wanting to make a serious mistake.  Getting to Whitney Pocket was no problem, since that road is high enough to provide safe passage.

Notice the threatening skies, and also the wildflowers in bloom.

The next travelogue will focus on Little Finland.  In the meantime, a video of the "road" to Little Finland can be seen at Road To Little Finland.    The end of the video is pointing directly at the plateau that is Little Finland.

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