After getting lost for 14 miles on a desert trail in Kingman, I completed the rest of my Arizona hikes with companions. During the brief time that my neighbours tolerated me, two ladies who were RVing solo invited me to go hiking with them. I wasn’t sure what to expect of the experience, because I had never spent time with anyone at the park. But, I figured, as long as I drove my own vehicle, I would be fine.
The ladies were up bright and early for the hike. I had a long night of work, so I got up a little late. I gobbled down breakfast, got dressed, and packed my hiking gear. I was out of there just in time for the planned 10 AM departure from Golden Valley, Arizona. It was a 30-mile drive to Grapevine Canyon.
I hadn’t looked up the trail and was preparing to be as underwhelmed as I had been on the Monolith Gardens Loop Trail. Yet, as we neared the location, I perked up in my seat. I was driving towards the most beautiful part of Arizona I had ever seen. “Finally!” I shouted in the car. “Somewhere in Arizona, I can fall in love with.”
Well, the joke was on me. “Welcome to Nevada!” my GPS told me, as I crossed the bridge from Bullhead City into Laughlin. I couldn’t help but laugh. In a few minutes, we made a right turn onto a dirt road. It was well-maintained but rough.
Back to the Silver State
Driving for just half an hour and being back in my new home state was a good reminder that I wasn’t far away from people who were a lot saner than what I had encountered in Mohave County. This part of the desert is also close enough to California to bear a striking resemblance to Joshua Tree National Park, but the colours aren’t as beautiful and the rock formations aren’t as delightful.
The area was originally inhabited by the Mojave Native Americans and they created more than 700 Petroglyphs. These writings and drawings date back to anywhere from 1900 AD to 1100 AD. Historians have no clear idea what they mean or why they were created.
Navigating this trail required more climbing and scrambling up and down the face of rocks than actual walking. It was so confusing that about a half a mile in, we met a lady who was about to give up on finding a safe way into the canyon. She was hiking alone, so we invited her to hike with us.
I wouldn’t call it dangerous, per se, but there are definitely some perfect opportunities to slip, slide and break bones. I barely took pictures on the hike, because we passed through a lot of areas where I needed both hands or would risk dropping my phone into places I could never recover it from.
On the way out, someone in another hiking group fell. We could hear the screams bouncing off the rocks while we walked back to the car.
Do not hike this trail alone. Even I wouldn’t do it!
I love scrambling through the crevices between rocks, particularly when I know the temperatures are not favourable for our slithering friends to be out and about.
At the end of this walk through the canyon, we had to climb out.
If you’re wondering how the canyon got its name, there are actually grapevines inside. The only picture I took of them was me getting lost inside them. There were also some surprisingly tall, lush trees for desert landscapes.
If memory serves, the ladies I hiked with referred to the mountain range as Spirit Mountain. I would have loved to see them against a sunset sky, but I would never try to hike back from this location under a dying sun.
This was the only hike I did with these ladies. After this, the one we met on the trail flew back to Florida, for work. One of the other two ladies was one of the many who ostracised me during my flag wars with the Confederacy. The other lady was a best friend of hers. While she denounced her friend’s actions as wrong and maintained contact, we never went hiking together again.
The final hike I took in Arizona was with a guy I had met through them. When these women cancelled our next planned hike out of the blue, on Day One of Ostracising Alex, he shrugged them off and came with me. That’s the hike I’ll be sharing next week.
If you ever make it to Laughlin, Nevada, I recommend getting a group of friends together to tackle this hike. When it starts to look impossible, start looking for safe ways to climb up and over obstacles to make it to the other side.
You might also want to take the day off. I had hiked Monolith Gardens Trail Loop just two or three days before this. I was sore for almost two days, afterwards!
What trail have you hiked that put your body to the test? What was it about the trail that made it challenging?