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Mojave-Sonoran Trail Thru Hike 2021 – Section 1: Valley of Fire to Echo Bay

Mojave-Sonoran Trail Thru Hike 2021 – Section 1: Valley of Fire to Echo Bay

panorama view of valley of fire state park nevada

Mojave-Sonoran Trail Section 1 Map

mojave sonoran trail thru hike map of section 1

Mojave Sonoran Trail Thru-Hike Section 1 – Valley of Fire to Echo Bay, 66 Miles

The above map only represents represents section 1 of 9 on the MST. For a more detailed map and general route info, see the Mojave-Sonoran Trail Guide page.

Mojave-Sonoran Trail Thru Hike Video

Mojave-Sonoran Trail Section 1 Journal

Day 0 – November 2nd: Getting to the Northern Terminus

I’m currently doing the van life thing, living in my van in between hikes. My buddy just moved to Phoenix and has a garage where I was able to store my van for the duration of my hike. I did all of my food shopping in Phoenix, packed my gear and took a one way flight to Vegas. I took an uber from the airport to a hotel on the far northeast side of town near the Nellis Air Force Base. This would be the shortest drive for me tomorrow morning to my start point.

Day 1 – November 3rd: North Muddy Mountains, Weiser Ridge, Valley of Fire

18.15 Miles
Animals Seen: 9 big horn sheep

After a long sleepless night, it was time to rise and shine at 6:30am. By 7:15 my Uber ride was there to pick me up from my hotel. The drive took about 45 minutes, and by 8 am I was at the Hidden Valley exit on I-15 just West of Moapa Valley. My uber driver didn’t say a word about dropping me off at some random desolate exit with nothing there. “See you later”, he said.

This random spot along I-15 is where I’ll start my Mojave-Sonoran Trail thru hike

My starting point is pretty arbitrary and meaningless. It only serves convince. As much as I wanted to just walk out of some small town to start my hike, this was the easiest thing to do.

Now it’s time to take my first steps on the Mojave-Sonoran Trail(MST). It’s an overwhelming feeling, a barrage of emotions. Mostly, it’s the feeling of calm before the storm; the intense physical exertion ahead weighs heavy on my mind. Even with two previous such journeys under my belt, I still wonder how such a feat is possible… especially when you are standing at the starting line. 675 miles of off-trail hiking is no joke. My pre-hike jitters are justified, but it’s go time.

First few miles on this easy road

The first three or four miles are on an easy dirt road leading up into the North Muddy Mountains. Soon enough, some elevation is gained, canyon walls grow taller and the expansive desert views improve. Also, the sound of the interstate dwindles. I find myself at a locked gate that says no trespassing. Beyond the gate is a large antenna and satellite dish, with a generator running. However, nobody around, so I push on past the gate and on my way. A series of small dirt roads leads me around a Hillside, where they fade into game trails.

Views from the first pass

mojave sonoran trail thru hike views north muddy mountains

Glen Peak and the North Muddy Mountains

Looking down on Weiser Valley and and Weiser Ridge, where I am headed next

Now, the views are quite good. Great mountain scenery with desert valleys below. Colorful rocks, caves on the mountainside, and distant views.

colorful wash hiking in nevada

Descending the wash

colorful wash hiking in nevada

I drop down into a wash, and start downhill. The mountains behind me are an impressive backdrop, and I look back frequently. Towards the bottom, I Fell down a couple of times. Catching myself on a rock, I received a small cut. Enough blood to drip, so I took my first break. I used to wear a pair of gloves when doing hikes where I expected bushwhacking, but fell out of the habit of it in recent years. Lately I have rediscovered their merits, and brought a pair with me this trip. I’m using the Fish Monkey Fingerless fishing gloves; soft flexible leather on the palm and a thin, breathable neoprene type material on the other side. Time to put these on.

hiking weiser valley nevada

North Muddy Mountains from Weiser Valley

hiking weiser valley nevada

Weiser Ridge from Weiser Valley

Out of the wash, I cross Weiser valley. Most of the walk here is on a dirt road. Cool, a little break from the off-trail stuff, even if only for a moment.

colorful hills in nevada desert while hiking

Such a colorful landscape

hiking up to weiser ridge nevada

The route up to Weiser Ridge

colorful hills in nevada desert while hiking

Intense colors

Soon, it’s time to find a way up to the top of Weiser Ridge. It looks tall and steep from the bottom, but my route on the map doesn’t look too bad. Time to climb. Mining claims scatter the wash, but their age is unknown. Over my first ridge, a heard of about eight big horn sheep are seen running away. Day one and already a good animal sighting!

hikers view over moapa valley nevada

View north across Moapa Valley to Mormon Mountains

hikers view of weiser valley from weiser ridge nevada

Weiser Valley from Weiser Ridge. Not bad for day 1 views!

Before long I am on the final ascent to the crest of Weiser Ridge, and the views really begin to wow me. At the top, excellent vantage point of Weiser valley and now, valley of fire state park. The red rocks really stand out. I begin my walk south on the ridgeline, and wow!! Hard to believe views of this magnitude can be had on day one. Better than the CDT and BRT. Time for a snack and soak this all in.

big views from weiser ridge

moapa valley view from weiser ridge

What a view!

The view north from Weiser ridge provides a sweeping view over Moapa Valley and to several distant mountain ranges. Namely, the Mormon Mountains directly north.

mojave sonoran trail hiking north muddy mountains

Weiser Ridge is a fairly easy walk with excellent views

wesier ridge views

View east from Weiser Ridge

mojave sonoran trail hiking views wesier ridge

View south over Weiser Valley and the Muddy Mountains

The ridge line itself is fairly easy to walk. The rocks are extremely sharp, which makes for great shoe grip but horrible for longevity of the tread. My shoes were getting pretty torn up already. The west side of the ridge is mostly sheer cliffs and an occasional knife edge to walk. Truly excellent.

hikin weiser ridge in nevada

View east from Weiser Ridge. Looking for a way down

wesier ridge cave nevada

Small cave

When it was time to make my way down off the ridge and into the valley to the east, I found myself at a 40ft pour off. At first I thought it was not possible to climb. But then, I began to see a route down. However, it was extremely awkward to begin down climbing. I made it down the first ledge before turning back, deciding out was too dicey to risk it.

View up to the ridge as I try and work down one of the side canyons

Looking back north along Weiser Ridge

South along Weiser Ridge

Now I had to climb back uphill again and follow the ridge itself until I found another Canyon leading downhill. Unfortunately the next Canyon also featured a pour off, this one even less manageable than the last. A third canyon was even worse, a dry waterfall of perhaps 150-200ft. Not going to happen. Back up to the ridge, and keep walking south.

wesier ridge view valley of fire

View southwest. Next I’ll be hiking south though long outcrop of red rocks

hikers view up to weiser ridge nevada

Looking back up at Weiser Ridge

Finally, I found a way down to a lower ridge line by descending the hillside instead of a canyon. From below, the cliff band running across the mountain side was obvious, and quite impressive. By now, I was losing daylight, and had less than 2 hours before sun down.

nevada geology upheaval

I believe this is called “upheaval” in geological terms

nevada geology

You can imagine the forces at that caused these rocks to be tilted vertically

pink banding in rocks of canyon in nevada

Cool pink banding

The descent of the wash down to the valley floor was an interesting one. The geology here was tough to ignore, with large parallel dikes running vertically, flanking both sides of the wash.

Looking down the canyon to the beautiful red rocks of “tomorrow”

hiking a steep and narrow canyon in nevada

Rugged canyon

Interesting colors here along the walls of this canyon

Several pour offs to climb now, slow but manageable. The map doesn’t indicate anything too serious ahead, but these canyon walls are steep and narrow. Pretty nice walk though here.

Looking back up at Weiser Ridge. I came down that

Hike across Anderson Wash through narrow strip of Valley of Fire State Park land. BLM land at the base of the red rocks

sunset at red rocks along nevada thru hike

Time to look for camp

The red rock became predominant near the bottom of the wash and the valley floor. Daylight was fading fast now, and I made my way across the valley as fast as possible. The valley is part of Valley of Fire State Park, where there is no backcountry camping allowed. . I just need to cross the valley to enter BLM land, where anything is fair game.

I found my campsite just a half mile from my first water cache. A Sandy spot suitable for cowboy camping. With 18 miles on the day, I was ready to stop. Still, I felt pretty good for day 1, mainly just hungry. I drank the rest of my Gatorade with dinner, leaving myself a half liter for tomorrow morning. Stars were shining bright by 6:30pm.

Day 2 – November 4th: Valley of Fire State Park

19.8 Miles
Animals Seen: 3 big horn sheep

cowboy camping mojave sonoran trail thru hike

Camped under the stars last night

thru hike cowboy cmaping

Nice spot to wake up to

Beautiful night cowboy camping under the stars. Plenty of sleep, woke up feeling pretty good. 45 degrees this morning.

At the top of a small “pass” in the middle of this narrow canyon, overlooking my campsite from last night

Nice views in the canyon

Skipped breakfast and started hiking to the water cache, another half mile, over a small pass in a narrow canyon. Thankfully, my gallon jug of water was right where I left it two weeks ago. Here, I ate breakfast and distributed the water among my 1 liter smart water bottles.

hiking red rocks nevada

Towering red rock formations

What a cool landscape to hike

hiking sand and red rocks nevada

Colorful sand and red rock landscapes

From here, it’s another 5-6 miles to the Valley of Fire state park boundary. Most of this was through deep sand, apparently a popular spot for the ORV crowd. There were tire tracks everywhere, and occasional garbage strewn across the sand. Despite these eyesores, this area was really cool. I didn’t see any 4 wheelers either, so that was nice.

red rock arches in nevada

One of many small arches

petroglyphs on red rocks in nevada


colorful outcrops of red rocks in nevada valley

View down the “valley” I hiked

Red rocks, arches, small caves and alcoves, and even petroglyphs. Hiking here felt more like Utah than Nevada.

Nearing the top of the little pass

mst thru hike north fork overton wash

North Fork Overton Wash

After cresting the pass at the southern end of the canyon, I saw 3 big horn sheep. These guys are all over here. Nearing the end of the BLM land, the bulk of valley of fire state park was visible on the horizon.

hiker takes break in arch cave nevada

Break time in this arch/cave formation

hiker looking out over nevada desert landscape

View south form my break spot. I’ll be hiking this next

I told myself I wouldn’t stop to empty all the sand out of my shoes until I reached the state park, and as soon as I found a shaded spot (under a cool arch /cave), I took a break. Always a satisfying feeling, to be sand-free again.

hiking off-trail in valley of fire red rocks nevada

Hiking this crazy red rock landscape

colorful desert scenery nevada


In distance I could see cars glimmering in the sun. This is the parking lot for the Fire Wave and white domes, some of the most popular attractions in the park. This made for an easy landmark to shoot for. It was a mix of cross county hiking and a couple of dirt roads, and quite scenic.

cool rock formations valley of fire state park

cool rock formations valley of fire state park

Hiking the trail to Fire Wave

Once at the fire wave trailhead, I began the 7 wonders loop, which hits fire wave and apparently, 6 other wonders. The trail was loaded with amazing scenery, but I don’t know how official the wonder count is. It sure seemed like more than 7.

mojave sonoran trail thru hiker at fire wave


mojave sonoran trail thru hiker at fire wave

Tons of crazy colorful rock formations near Fire Wave

mojave sonoran trail thru hiker at fire wave

Fire Wave

Fire wave wasn’t as packed as my first visit a few years ago. No problem there. This area is very photogenic, and not just fire wave. If one had the time, he could easily spend all day on little side trips exploring this area.

mojave sonoran trail thru hiker in kaolin wash

Entering Kaolin Wash

mojave sonoran trail thru hiker in kaolin wash

mojave sonoran trail thru hiker in kaolin wash

Hiking the colorful Kaolin Wash

The “trail” follows a wash leaving fire wave, and this too was cool… A slot canyon of sorts, although not very deep. It makes up for that with outstanding colors to please the eyes. I found a shaded spot and took lunch. I really wasn’t too hungry, which is pretty typical for me in the beginning of a long hike, or any multi day backpacking trip actually.

mojave sonoran trail thru route in kaolin wash

mojave sonoran trail thru route in kaolin wash

After forcing myself to eat, I continued on the 7 wonders trail up Kaolin Wash. More excellent scenery. In fact, so excellent that my pace was really slowing down, stopping around every turn to capture the landscape from a new angle. So colorful, so beautiful. Occasional sections of short slot canyons really made this hike great.

valley of fire seven wonders loop hike views

Leaving Kaolin Wash for this canyon

valley of fire seven wonders loop hike views

Short slot section

valley of fire seven wonders loop hike views

What a wicked landscape

The trail climbs out of Kaolin Wash and follows a canyon north. Kaolin Wash was awesome, but it was a small scale landscape. Here in this canyon, the views are much bigger.

valley of fire seven wonders loop hike views

A geological wonderland

valley of fire seven wonders loop hike views

Stunning landscapes are everywhere in Valley of Fire State Park

valley of fire seven wonders loop hike views

Red to white

The trail leads back to the fire wave parking lot, where I began the loop. Not the most direct route for a thru hike, but it would be a shame to walk by the highlights of this amazing place for the sake of making good time. And this was some spectacular scenery. Few places I’ve been compare with this kind of color.

panorama view of valley of fire state park nevada

Valley of Fire State Park

valley of fire state park landscape view

valley of fire hike views

Hiking near White Domes

Back at the fire wave parking lot, I easily yogi’d some extra water from the first person I asked. Then, I continued hiking towards the white domes parking lot. The ridge route in between fire wave and white domes provides an excellent, sweeping view of the bulk of the park.

mojava sonoran trail thru hiker in kaolin wash

Another slot canyon section of Kaolin Wash

mojava sonoran trail thru hiker in kaolin wash

Looking back at the slot canyon section

mojava sonoran trail thru hiker in kaolin wash

Those colors are unreal

It’s a short hike on the white domes trail to an old movie set, for the 1965 film “The Professionals”. Then the trail intersects Kaolin wash again, which leads to the Prospect Trail. This isn’t a trail at all, it’s a route that’s occasionally cairned. More cool slot canyons, more colorful and jagged rocks. It’s very rugged for what a state park is claiming is a trail. Good views.

mojave sonoran trail thru hiker on the prospect trail vof nevada

Views from the Prospect Trail

mojave sonoran trail thru hiker on the prospect trail vof nevada

Mostly good walking in the wash

mojave sonoran trail thru hiker on the prospect trail vof nevada

Sometimes the wash narrows and there’s climbing obstacles

The Prospect Trail ultimately leaves Kaolin Wash for another unnamed wash that continues due south. It’s late afternoon now, and very clear that I won’t be able to hike out of the park boundary today like I had planned. There is no backcountry camping allowed in the state park (lame), so I began to think about alternate plans. At the end of the prospect trail, there is a dirt road that leads to a paved road, which leads to a drive in campground. Looks like a 3 mile or so detour, but what other options do I have, other than illegally stealth camping? The bonus of this plan is the running water at the campground. Water… Sold.

mojave sonoran trail thru hiker on the prospect trail vof nevada

Cool rock formations along the wash

mojave sonoran trail thru hiker on the prospect trail vof nevada

Hiking the Prospect Trail

mojave sonoran trail thru hiker on the prospect trail vof nevada

Leaving the wash, there is now a trail. This is one of the few trails along the entire MST route that is marked on a map!

Most of the prospect trail follows a fairly easy wash, despite occasional deep sand. There were a couple of climbing obstacles, especially if you wander off course. The hike was a good one, but I was getting tired now. I hadn’t eaten anywhere near the calories I’ve been expending, and had barely peed all day. I needed to keep pushing on though, and make it to the campground before dark.

valley of fire sunset nevada

Sunset over Valley of Fire

small arch in valley of fire at sunset

After cresting a hill, I got my first view of the actual Valley of Fire, for which the park was named. I could see the campground in the distance, and with 45 minutes to dark, it was going to be close. Great desert views, enhanced by the colors of the setting sun. I left the road and took a wash that ran directly to the campground, and made my final push. I was really hitting the wall now.

I walked into the campground with the last bit of light fading fast. It was pretty full, but a couple of open spots. I used my last reserves of energy to set up my tent by headlamp, feeling weak and a little light headed. It was nice to have ruining water and be able to do a quick rinse and wash up. I tried eating, but couldn’t stomach much. It’s a weird feeling to be hungry, and not be able to eat. Nothing tastes good, and my stomach just doesn’t want anything in it.

Tonight was a perfect example of why I despise drive in campgrounds… Barking dogs, whining children, and some inconsiderate people playing some crappy music loudly, for hours. Thankfully, I bring ear plugs, for just this occasion.

I felt surprisingly good at the end of day 1, but day 2 has taken its toll. I’m feeling achy and cold, but it feels great to be able to lay down for the night. On my summer hikes, I might hike 14 hours, utilizing every bit of sunlight. But with shorter days this time of year, daily mileage is shorter, and nights are longer. This means more time to rest. And right now, I’m not complaining.

Day 3 – November 5th: Valley of Fire, Rogers Spring, Muddy Mountains

17.49 Miles
Animals Seen: Jack Rabbit

I didn’t sleep that great last night. Not because of noise, as I had my earplugs in all night. But this morning, a screaming toddler had me packing up at fast as I could. I went over my maps for a while trying to figure out my next move. The mileage I’ve hiked to get to this point was much greater than my estimates. I could backtrack to the prospect Trail and continue on my route as planned, but instead I chose a different route. The plan Now is to walk the base of the muddy mountains through valley of fire, which would all be off trail. Cool.

hiking valley of fire state park

Hiking in-between Arch Rock Campground and Atlatl Rock Campground

hiking valley of fire state park

Awesome scenery in between two popular campgrounds

I started today’s hike by going up and over the red rocks separating the Arch Rock campground from the Atlatl Rock Campground. This was a cool shortcut, scenic and direct. But after that, it was cross country hiking for much of the day. People in the campground gave me some strange looks as I walked through with a full backpack and set out into the open desert. With no backcountry camping allowed here, it’s just day hikers, and I stick out like a sore thumb with my full pack.

peaks of the muddy mountains sticking up over wash

Hiking a wash Valley of Fire

cholla cactus in front of the muddy mountains nevada

Muddy Mountains

The muddy mountains provided a Scenic and somewhat imposing backdrop as I wandered my way through a series of washes. At first I was quite happy with my decision to walk the base of the muddies, but that was for the first bit where I was just following a wash in the direction I wanted to go.

hikers view of the muddy mountains while walking across valley of fire nevada

The Muddy Mountains

hikers view of the muddy mountains while walking across valley of fire nevada

Up and down through all these washes…

Eventually, in order to continue on my trajectory, I had to leave the wash and go over a series of ridges that separate the washes. This became old and tedious rather fast. On top of all the PUDs (pointless ups and downs), the weather has been heating up. Today will be in the mid to upper 80s, and 90 tomorrow. At this time of year I was hoping for the 70s. It’s hard to complain though, it snowed back home in Michigan. Anything but snow. I’m a desert rat and won’t shy away from that.

hikers view walking the valley of fire nevada

Hiking through Valley of Fire

hikers view walking the valley of fire nevada

Valley of Fire views

hikers view of the muddy mountains while walking the valley of fire nevada

Muddy Mountains

Some of these washes had a lot of what I believe to be gypsum deposits. As an amateur rockhound, I enjoy seeing anything out of the ordinary. I also saw a couple of larger pieces of semi-petrified wood. It was still brittle in spots, not quite as well formed as other specimens. Of course, there is no collecting allowed in the state park, but I didn’t want any of this stuff anyways. I’ve seen better!

hiking valley of fire wash

Entering Valley of Fire Wash

I was feeling pretty tired this morning, but after I began waking again, felt fine. However, I drank 1.75 liters this morning before leaving camp and still haven’t had to pee. That means I’m dehydrated more than I think. I made an effort to drink more water, while also trying to stretch out my supply so I don’t run out before I reach my next water source.

hiking valley of fire state park

Valley of Fire Wash. I would have followed it further, if it didn’t take me out of the way

hiking valley of fire state park

View of Valley of Fire Wash

hiking valley of fire state park

Valley of Fire Wash

Most of the washes I hiked today were pretty small scale. However, there was one that was pretty impressive… Valley of Fire Wash. This is the main wash running through Valley of Fire.  Deep cut red rock, very alluring. I walked above it though as I needed to go over a pass. There were many small arches in this area, and a plethora of small caves and alcoves. A very interesting landscape, much like the bulk of yesterday.

red and orange landscape of valley of fire nevada

View across Valley of Fire

hiker view walking muddy mountains nevada

Hiking around the Muddy Mountains

hiking through valley of fire

After cresting a small pass, the landscape opened up and I was only a mile and a half from my water source, Blue Point spring. I’ve walked out of the state park boundary now and entered the lake mead national recreation area. Now there was a series of game trails all leading to the same spot… The place I am going. Along the way I saw lots of horse and burro scat. Over another small hill, I could see a couple of palm trees. There’s my spring.

Once at the spring I was surprised to see how much water was flowing. I made my way to the source, where there was a USGS monitoring station and a small dam holding back half a bath tubs worth of water. The water temperature was in the eighties, not cold by any means. Good for bathing, less enticing for drinking at that temperature. But hey, beggars can’t be choosers. I began filtering water for the first time since I began this hike. It was now that I realized how slow my sawyer filter was filtering. I had used it this summer and it was working fine. Lately, I get the feeling that Sawyer filters are not good anymore after sitting a few months. This filter had definitely not seen freezing Temps, and it had been back flushed regularly. It took a solid 45 minutes to filter 4 liters. Not acceptable. I will need to replace this filter ASAP.

row of four wooly mammoth pal trees at spring in nevada

Wooly mammoth palms at Blue Splint Spring

I also took the time to rinse out my clothes and wash up a bit myself. I never use soap anymore out in the wild, I feel that rinsing is good enough. And man, did this feel good.

reflection on rogers spring hot spring pool lake mead national recreation area nevada

Rogers Spring. Paradise? Oh, brain eating amoebas in the water. There’s always a catch!

It was 4pm now and I have three or four miles of road walking on Northshore Drive to get to my next destination. Along the way I passed Roger’s spring. There’s a reason why I didn’t get my water from this one… The brain eating amoebas that thrive in this water source. There are signs here that advise you not to dunk your head underwater, or risk infection. Infection often causes death. While I’ve read that the amoeba can be filtered out with a one micron filter (Sawyer is .1 microns), there really is no reason to mess around with this water when there is another non-amoeba bearing water source nearby.

hiking along the base of the muddy mountains at sunset

Hiking the base of the Muddy Mountains

The thing I despise most about walking paved roads is that a solid 50% of the traffic won’t move over in inch for a human being walking on the shoulder. These are the lowest form of people. I only wish I could buzz by them in my car while they walk somewhere, but I get the feeling these folks don’t do much walking.

hiking a canyon in the muddy mountains nevada

Canyon entrance into the Muddy Mountains

hiking a canyon in the muddy mountains nevada

Looking back out of the canyon at the base of the Muddy Mountains

As the sun went down over the muddy mountains, I left the road for a wash that paralleled it. Access into the wash is easier here than further up the road where it gets much steeper. With 30 minutes of daylight I began to work by way into the lower reaches of this deep and narrow canyon. Very impressive!

hiking a canyon in the muddy mountains nevada

Working my way up the canyon

I found my campsite, hemmed in at the base of a pour off, at a junction where the canyon splits. I finished setting up my tent utilizing some of the last daylight. I was happy to have reached camp with at least a few minutes of daylight left, unlike the previous two nights.

While this canyon is deep and narrow, where I am in the lower reaches, there is still enough open sky where I was hopeful that my Garmin inreach mini would be able to send my nightly “I’m OK” message. But after an hour and moving the thing around in every direction in position, I gave up. This thing definitely has its limitations.

Day 4 – November 6th: Muddy Mountains, Lake Mead National Rec Area

11.28 Miles (Half Day)
Animals Seen: None

Had a pack of coyotes moving in on my position around 3 AM. They were very close but when I got out of my tent and chucked a few rocks down the canyon, they went away. I heard them again at 6 am.

muddy mountains canyon pour off climbing

I tried climbing up the 40 foot vertical pour off that was just beyond by campsite, but I found the rock to be very slick and the lack of proper handholds would have made a descent very sketchy, if I needed to back out. And since this was an untested route, there’s a good chance I would have had to turn around. This was basically the only way to get up into the muddy mountains and continue along the route that I had planned, so I had no choice but to back out of the muddy mountains and head directly to Echo Bay Campground. Bummer, but I knew not everything I had planned along this route would work out.

hiking a canyon in the muddy mountains nevada

Nice canyon views

hiking a canyon in the muddy mountains nevada

hiking a canyon in the muddy mountains nevada

Views up the canyon

After trying a few scrambling routes to progress sup the canyon, I gave up and turned around. I would say that it certainly IS possible, but with a full pack on and no climbing gear, it’s much riskier. It’s too bad because this canyon would provide a critical route for a route that cuts off the walk all the way around the Muddy Mountains. There’s a pass above Fire Alcove into the Muddies from Valley of Fire, and this canyon would be the ideal route to connect to Echo Bay. But damn would it be a hairy descent down some slick rock at the spot I turned around at. It’s a shame too because it looks more open on the map above this point. I still think it’s an option for the right person.

entrance to a deep and narrow canyon in the muddy mountains nevada

Looking back at the canyon I came out of

view of the mudyd mountains from northshore dr

The Muddy Mountains

After a brief road walk on Northshore Road, I began hiking cross-country SE towards Echo Bay. At first I stayed out of the washes, they were small and somewhat choked with vegetation. After while, several washes converged into Calico Wash, and it became large enough to walk. This area really wasn’t all that interesting, but it was necessary to reach Echo Bay campground in the most direct fashion. The other option was to walk further to a road, then road walk into the campground. I’ll take the cross-country hiking instead.

hikers view walking calico wash lake emad national rec area nevada

Hiking Calico Wash

hiker find desert tortoise shell in nevada desert

Desert tortoise Shell

The most interesting thing I saw this morning was a desert tortoise shell. This is only the second time I have found one. Believe it or not, it’s actually illegal to collect the shell of a dead tortoise on any type of land. So, I snapped a picture and was on my way.

view of echo bay campground lake mead nevada

Echo Bay

When I reached Echo Bay Campground, I went into the pathetic little store and bought a couple of cold drinks. The inventory here is so small, I could almost fit all of it in my backpack. This is no joke. The only thing they sold that was a step up from the food I had in my backpack already was an egg salad sandwich, and that it was probably left over from eons ago, back when the water level of Lake Mead was higher and people actually came to Echo Bay. Now, it’s kind of like a ghost town.

abandoned hotel at echo bay lake mead

The abandoned hotel/restaurant at Echo Bay

abandoned hotel at echo bay lake mead

A relic from a time when Lake Mead’s water level was higher

abandoned hotel at echo bay lake mead

Looks inviting

I’m also not kidding when I say Ghost town… There is an abandoned motel and restaurant across from the store. With tons of urban exploration experience under my belt, having lived in Detroit, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go inside this one. Access was easy, all of the windows were broken and boarded up, but some of the boards were just leaning against the windows.

graffiti in abandoned hotel at echo bay lake mead

The Room of PI Customs

graffiti in abandoned hotel at echo bay lake mead graffiti in abandoned hotel at echo bay lake mead

Inside, pretty much your standard abandoned building… Broken glass, mattresses laying everywhere, and of course, lots of graffiti. The graffiti is always interesting, and this place was no exception. This was a pretty neat little side adventure.

mst thru hiker in echo wash retrieving food cache

Echo Wash

Next, I went down into Echo Wash and dug up the food that I buried two weeks ago. Everything was still there, so that was good. Whew. Before the hike, I couldn’t find any information online that said caching wasn’t allowed in the Lake Mead NRA, but I have a feeling if one were to ask, the answer would be no. It’s unlikely that a few hikers doing this here and there would cause any impact, now would it likely attract much attention. However, alternate options for food caching at Echo Bay would be to leave it inside the abandoned motel somewhere in odor proof bags (kinda risky), or asking the little store if they will hold it for you. You can’t mail anything here, so you’d have to come in person before the hike to set this up. There are also campground hosts at Echo Bay, I bet they wouldn’t mind holding food for hikers for $10 or something.

I could have just taken my food and continued on Section 2 now, but my appetite still wasn’t there. I was having a hard time eating the food I have in my backpack already, so I wasn’t that eager to eat the stuff I just dug up. I’ve been in this situation many times before. The best way to get past it is to get a day or rest in town, and pig out on town food to kick start my appetite again.

I ended up getting a taxi, for an exorbitant price, that drove me into Overton well after dark. I got a hotel, and plan on taking a zero tomorrow for some R&R.

Day 5 – November 7th: Zero Day in Overton, NV

I wasn’t planning on coming to Overton at the end of section 1, but a day of rest and town food will do wonders for me. I didn’t have to do any food shopping since I dug up my food cache in Echo Wash, so that was a nice time saver. I washed my clothes and made small repairs/adjustments to my gear. I tried backflushing my sawyer filter a bunch of times, but it’s still slow. I’m a long ways from anywhere that sells a new Sawyer, so I’ll have to wait at least until the end of Section 3 when I get to Boulder City. I should be able to get an uber to Henderson and hit the local Walmart for that. In the mean time, slow water filtering.


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