Aztec Tank – Trip Notes for 02/20/2014

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(Fig. 01)
About 10 miles behind the town of Goodsprings Nevada, Aztec Tank is a deep wash at the south eastern foot of the Mount Potosi Range. It is reached by following Pauline Mine Road, which runs parallel to a large red Aztec sandstone outcrop located at the end of the Goodsprings Bypass Road. Using the beginning of Pauline Mine Road as a trailhead (Fig. 01), it is about a two mile hike to the area of Aztec Tank. Shortly after we started hiking, I noticed a fairly large rock (Fig. 02) in the middle of the road that contained just dozens of what appeared to be fossilized coral. As we continued hiking up this road, we also passed what was one of the largest “collection” of tumbleweed (Fig. 03) that I have ever encountered.  About halfway out there is a large tan sandstone outcrop, visible in (Figs. 01 & 10). Unfortunately, it wasn't until we were back at the Goodsprings Pioneer Saloon having lunch that we learned that it contained a grouping of ancient petroglyphs. We will have to explore this more on a future hike.
(Fig. 02)
(Fig. 03)
After a couple of miles, we headed east onto Aztec Road (Fig 04). This road climbs up the large sandstone ridge and then runs along Aztec Tank wash, located several hundred feet below (Fig. 05). At one time this whole area was quarried for its beautiful sandstone. We spent considerable time hiking along this road, studying the unique geology (Fig. 07) and enjoying the beautiful views in every direction (Figs. 06 & 08). At one point we were even able to capture a glimpse of Las Vegas way off in the distance. After we finished hiking through the old quarry area (Fig. 09), we began a return hike, down the west side of the sandstone ridge and back out to Pauline Mine road (Fig. 10), and back to our starting point. Once we reached the van, those who had stayed back pointed out some wild horses that were way off in the distance. Using my 480mm zoom, it was hard to get a good handheld picture (Fig. 11).
(Fig. 04)
(Fig. 05)
(Fig. 06)
(Fig. 07)
(Fig. 08)
(Fig. 09)
(Fig. 10)
(Fig. 11)