Day Three of last week’s winter getaway in Laughlin NV was billed as “Another Surprise Exploratory Hike.” It was certainly a surprise to me because, once again, I had no idea where we were going. The pleasant surprise was that this time the hike leader did.
We drove east out of Laughlin on highway 68 to the optimistically named Golden Valley. After a moment of panic regarding the location of our landmark Maverick store, we turned south and then west into the Black Mountains. Cruising southwest of Kingman in a locality I later discovered to be Sacramento Valley, I found it very bizarre to come across a grid of incredibly well marked dirt roads in such a sparsely populated area. Was someone expecting an enormous influx of residents into this desert quarter of northwest Arizona? Situated somewhere between Kingman and the casinos of Laughlin, it wasn’t very close to either but the infrastructure seemed ready for something.
End of the road, Black Mountains, NW AZ
Some serious arm-waving by the hike leader
The geology of the Black Mountains was discussed, as best I could without a geological map in sight, in my previous post. These are all Tertiary (≈ 65-2.6 million years) volcanics (see previous post for Harris 1998) of various tuffs, flows, and breccias.
Most remarkable about the hike today were the massive cliffs of lithic tuff (compacted volcanic ash consisting mostly of crystalline rock fragments) that towered all around us as we hiked through our nameless canyon. They were ginormous! It makes me wonder how much ash was actually thrown out of these volcanoes, how long each particular explosion lasted, and how far each layer can be traced on the ground.