Bowl of Fire - Trip Notes for 05/08/2013

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Last Updated on 01/17/2019
MAP-Bowl of Fire
(Fig. 01) Click to Enlarge
Hike Trailheads: The Bowl of Fire (BoF) is located in the Muddy Mountain Wilderness Area, everything north of the Callville Wash. Everything south and east of the wash is within the boundaries of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. There are actually 3 trail heads one can use to approach the (BoF). Refer to (Fig. 01).  (Option 1) If you have a 4-wheel drive vehicle, start at Mile Marker 16 and drive up Callville Wash (Road #54). This leaves you with a relatively short 1/2-mile hike into the “bowl”. (Option 2) Hiking from the mile 18.2 mile marker parking area off Northshore Road, leaves you about a 1.25 mile hike to the “bowl”. (Option 3) Hiking from the trailhead at the 20.6 mile marker parking area, known as the Bowl of Fire North Loop. This loop trail, ending back at the 18.2 trailhead, is almost 8 miles, and is certainly the most difficult.
05/08/2013 Trip Notes: While the majority of today’s group traveled up Anniversary Mine Road (#54a) to hike the Anniversary Narrows, refer to the left side of (Fig. 01), Harvey and I hiked to the Bowl of Fire from the mile 18.2 parking area. From this trailhead, a large hill, known as Hill 651, hides a view of the (BoF). After hiking north and rounding this hill we then decided to take a slightly longer and more difficult route that headed slightly northeast, allowing us to enter the Bowl of Fire from its eastern end. Shortly after rounding the hill we had a Black Tailed Jackrabbit (Fig. 02) cross out path about 25 yards in front of us. Shortly after this we had a much closer encounter, where I nearly stepped on a Sidewinder Rattlesnake (Crotalus cerastes) (Fig. 03). Notice my footprint, just an inch above its head. Also notice to the left of his head, how the rest of its body continues to wrap around the visible coil, covered by the surrounding sand. Counting this, I would estimate its length to be nearly 30 inches. Looking at the center picture in the triptych in (Fig. 04), notice the bulge in the body directly below its head. It almost appears that he had swallowed something and was still trying to digest it.
(Fig. 02)
(Fig. 03)
(Fig. 04)
After crossing the Callville Wash, our route across the desert plain heading towards the mountain ridges in front of us, caused us to end up crossing dozens of arroyos, alluvials and bajadas (Fig. 05) created by thousands of years of erosion, that obviously made the hiking here a little more difficult. However, once we rounded the last bend, and approached the “bowl”, we were rewarded with some outstanding views and stunning rock formations (Figs. 06 thru 09). Hiking on this end of the (BoF) we came across several areas that contained thousands of Indian marbles. The dark red spots you often see in the Aztec Sandstone are iron concretions, where subsurface water has precipitated iron oxide around a nucleus in the sandstone. These concretions are more resistant to erosion than the surrounding sandstone, and eventually weathering affects cause them to erode into little balls known as Indian or Moqui Marbles. Click (Fig. 10) to enlarge and see these.
(Fig. 05)
(Fig. 06)
(Fig. 07)
(Fig. 08)
(Fig. 09)
(Fig. 10)
After spending some time hiking around inside the (BoF) and taking a lunch break, we eventually found the Bowl of Fire Wash, see (Fig. 01) and began our hike back to the trailhead. As we hiked this wash we came upon several interesting finds. The first, located high up on a very large conglomerate boulder, was what appeared to be the nest of a Red Tailed Hawk (Fig. 11). There were even a couple pieces of bone in the nest; the apparent remains of a captured prey. In the same boulder we even found a few rocks that contained some shell fossils (Fig. 12). About halfway down the wash we found the remnants of a desert bighorn sheep (Figs. 13 & 14). After scrambling down some large conglomerate boulders to exit the upper portion of the wash, our last find was a Long-nosed Leopard Lizard (Gambelia wislizenii) (Fig. 16). Even though we saw several other lizards on this hike, this one was the largest and most colorful. Everything considered with all of the day's finds, I would have to rate today’s hike a 10.
(Fig. 11)
(Fig. 12)
(Fig. 13)
(Fig. 14)
EFP-Mine 86
(Fig. 15)
Spotted Lizard
(Fig. 16)

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Slideshow Description: The slideshow above contains 38 pictures that were taken on this hike to the Bowl of Fire.

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