14-Aug-2004 -- My wife told me I was running out of California confluences to visit…
North of Kingman and east of Meadview lies the intersection of 36 North and 114 West. Following Pierce Ferry Road northeast from US-93, we turned right onto Meadview Road, right again onto Shore Avenue then left onto Grapevine Wash Road (4wd) until we reached a corral and windmill at about 4:30 in the afternoon. Travel down the wash would have been possible for about another half mile or more but monsoonal thunderstorms were threatening and with the possibility of a flash flood, the last place you would want to be with your vehicle is in a dry wash. The temperature was warm but not too hot for this time of day.
I set out following a 10 waypoint route I had created and loaded into my eMap using National Geographic TOPO! Arizona’s 1:24000 charts. This route would take me almost due east, optimized as best as I could through a couple small passes and then directly to the confluence. Even at this scale chart, terrain contours were of insufficient resolution to depict the multiple small climbs and descents I would encounter along my planned route.
Deviating from my route, I took the path of least resistance (up a small wash) and ended up due south of my objective with a fairly large hill between where I was and where I wanted to be. Travel to the confluence from this point involved crossing several small ravines, each with about 20 to 30 feet of elevation change.
The confluence itself lies in the center of one such ravine running northwest to southeast. Zeroing out my GPS receivers was a fairly easy task. Picture #1 looks southeast towards the Grand Wash Cliffs. Picture #2 looks southwest and is very similar to the first visitor’s (David Earl) picture #3. Picture #3 looks northwest down the ravine I would hike out. Picture #4 looks northeast towards Lake Mead. Picture #5 shows my GPS receivers reading all zeroes at the confluence. Picture #6 looks northwest and shows our vehicle at the windmill at Grapevine Wash.
For my return hike, I followed the ravine to the northwest and out the dry wash until I intersected the much larger Grapevine Wash east-northeast of where we had parked. This added somewhat to the overall hike distance but a plot of my track log shows that it is a smooth and steady slope back down to where I parked compared to the sawtooth elevation plot of my inbound hike. It was also considerably faster.
For future visitors, I would recommend proceeding northeast from the windmill at N36 00.280, W114 02.198 then down the wash by vehicle (if capable) or on foot crossing the Grapevine Wash in the vicinity of N36 00.546, W114 01.402 and entering the east-west ravine near N36 00.572, W114 00.895. When you get to N36 00.143, W114 00.172 bear right (southeast) which will lead you directly towards the confluence. This routing will save you about 500 feet of total elevation change throughout your hike.
Returning back to Meadview, we elected to continue north and down to Lake Mead since we had never been to this part of the lake before. It was nearing sunset and we were able to see that the water level in the lake was extremely low! I had heard that it was almost 100 feet below normal and a large white bathtub-like ring was observed as far as we could see around the lake. By the time we made it to the water, twilight was fading and we decided to head for home back across the Hoover Dam. Lightning and virga were observed in the distance throughout the day but the thunderstorms never did make it to us. It’s amazing how much you can miss such simple things like a desert thunderstorm.
Total distance hiked was 5.79 miles in 2:14 from the windmill. Measured from the turnoff onto Pierce Ferry road from US-93, our round trip time was 5:00 including the 30 minute excursion down to Lake Mead. Another great confluence adventure!