The next morning it was off to the trailhead. A few miles outside the Tuweep Metropolitan area down typical "dirt" roads we get to Vulcan's Throne, from which the ancient lava boiled and flowed, and on which we were now going to hike down to the river.
It's a pretty intimidating route right from the get-go. Take enough water, and watch for the sharp lava everywhere.
Step by (big) step, down we go
Once again, the locals take an interest, but soon go back to relaxing and just watching.
Now it's steep and getting steeper. Use the poles for stability and pay attention to your footing.
Can you see the lava window?
Here's an interesting test. Just look carefully at one of the stero pictures. It kinda looks like a few rocks in a line to step over, then little dip, and a few hundred feet farther away, the ground starts to climb up again in to that flat area toward the shadows, right?
Now look at the stereo pair. About 50 feet in front of you, the ground plummets,and it's really a whole new level of steepness for the next phase of getting down (to the river)
Clamber down a few minutes more and this is what you see.
With Dave for vertical reference, take a look at the slope just before this next section down.
So slowly and surely, over the "edge" we go, and after going down another 20 stories or so, we get a good look at the river not so far below us...
Just a stone's throw away
We couldn't get there though. There had been a rockslide and a big washout that left the trail hanging, with a very dangerous down climb with no real hand-holds.
From a firm footing I snapped this shot of the dropoff, and without fall protection, this was the where we were gonna turn around. Enough is enough!
So back up we went, a long slog, climbing with both hands on the ground in front of us for the larger steps. Along the way we saw some interesting tidbits, like this pin. Somebody was sure an outdoor type - were they were hiking down to do some birding? ...Bald Eagles maybe.
And how about this one? Probably somebody, years ago, thought they would take a raft and all their supplies down to the river, or else they came up for some strange reason. And the pump got dropped or thrown away...
Here's a collection of pages from the Lava Falls trail register. I wonder where else these hikers have trekked...
Back at Camp
Now that the arduous hiking is done, it's time to lay out a few other photos from this segment of our Grand Canyon Journey, before we head out backwest. We'll go through Las Vegas and thence on to the Panamint Mountains for a short camping visit to Mahogany Flat and thereabouts.
... and onward to Bryce Canyon, then Mahogany Flat and the Mountains...