Sunday, December 8, 2013

We Fell Into a Burning Bowl of Fire

With all due apologies to Johnny Cash, we decided to make a wilderness hike into the Bowl of Fire. After too many hikes around Lake Mead where we've seen piles of garbage along the shoreline, it was time to go where there are no trails and the only footprints were our own.

The Bowl of Fire is a small valley of red sandstone mountains in the Muddy Mountain Wilderness Area near Lake Mead. 

There are no direct trails into the Bowl. You just set an eye line route and navigate cross country through the desert.

The great thing about back country hiking in the desert is that the lines of sight are so numerous it is almost impossible to get lost. Wander off course exploring in any direction and getting back on course is relatively easy. 

The Bowl of Fire keeps getting closer and closer.

Although the way across looks flat, we ended up crossing a few dozen washes along the way. This was one of the largest. Someone had managed to drive a jeep up this one. It was the only sign of other people we would see.

We finally came to a wash that took us into the Bowl.

Once inside the valley, we found many more washes to cross.

Once we reached the center of the valley, we picked out the largest wash leading into the red mountains and set off into it to see how far we could get into the Bowl. 

We've seen a lot of limestone deposits in sandstone formations before, but this spiderweb of lime was the most interesting yet.

We finally reached the end and found some interesting shades of green growing in the sandy spots in the cracks.

Making our way back out was as interesting as coming in. We crossed our own tracks a few times, but followed a different path out for the most part.

It was a pretty easy eight mile hike so we took the rest of the day to get the knuckleheads out for a swim in Lake Mead. We'll have to come back in the spring when it's warm enough for us to join them.

We did another "off the beaten track" very impressive slot canyon hike with some friends who were also boondocking near Lake Mead. Being a lazy blogger, I'll outsource the description of that hike. You can check out that hike at their blog Life's Little Adventures


  1. That looks like a great hike. Next time!
    So who won the canine swim meet?


    1. When the dogs get to swim, everyone's a winner. But you know Karly always owns Jake.

  2. Beautiful photos. It was great meeting you guys! See you on the road!