Valley of Fire – Trip Notes for 12/05/2013 (Top of the World Arch - Hike)

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(Fig. 02)
12/05/2013 Trip Notes: On this trip to the Valley of Fire State Park with the Rock-hounds from the Henderson Senior Facility, I hit two spots that I had been to before; a place called The Cabins and a hike to a location called, The Top of the World Arch Hike. While five of us tried to find the trail to the Top of the World Arch, the remainder of the group hiked various locations including the Fire Wave and Mouse’s Tank. Before leaving the park for our journey home, we all enjoyed lunch in the picnic area next to The Cabins. This was my second attempt at trying to find a path to the Top of the World Arch, and unfortunately, it once again ended in failure. Hopefully, with some additional research and the maps in (Figs. 03 & 04) below, my next attempt will prove more successful. The yellow lines roughly indicate the areas that we hiked; whereas the blue lines are where we should have been hiking. Though it appeared that we were following a limited use trail out of the parking area (same as that indicated in blue – bottom right), once we got onto the sandstone rock areas, we lost the trail and started to head to the west too soon, which eventually took us way off course. On our return we actually passed an area that was well below a ridge-line that had an arch at the top (Figs. 01 & 02). Further research has indicated that this unreachable arch is not the one we were seeking, however, is visible from the trail to the Top of the World Arch. 
MAP-Top of the World Arch-2
(Fig. 03)
MAP-Top of the World Arch-3
(Fig. 04)
Thankfully, even though this hike was my idea and we failed in our attempt to reach our destination, my four hiking partners (Robert, Kathy, Dick and Mike), (Fig. 05) below agreed that the area we covered provided some great views, and some fascinating geology filled with a wide variety of colors (Fig. 06). To give you an idea of how cold it was, a short way into our hike we came across a small tinaja filled with water that was completely covered in ice (Fig. 07). Having hiked a considerable distance out and up, Robert and I were about to climb along the bottom of the smooth ledge in (Fig. 08) to the top of the ridgeline when we finally decided that we were in the wrong area. Of course, this then meant that we now had to back down a very steep, rocky ravine (Fig. 09) to reach the valley floor once again. If you look carefully in (Fig. 10), you can see Mike in the bottom of the picture, hiking back down in front of us.
(Fig. 05)
(Fig. 06)
(Fig. 07)
(Fig. 08)
(Fig. 09)
(Fig. 10)
It seems like Kathy (Fig. 11) and I were stopping constantly to take pictures of the beautiful landscapes, pool reflections (Fig. 12) and truly unique geological rock formations (Fig. 13). At the end of the hike we sat upon a large rocky knoll (Fig. 14) and had a “snack” while we waited for Bill to come back with the van.
(Fig. 11)
(Fig. 12)
(Fig. 13)
(Fig. 14)