Monday, March 5, 2012

Kingman Wash Az - almost a washout

If you were starting to question our decision making with the last post - this post will DEFINITELY firm things up for you! 

We ALMOST ran into a HUGE problem with these two words:

This crazy story (can you believe that I have so many in such a short time!) began not far after we passed the Willow Beach and Arizona Hot Spring signs - next up - Kingman Wash.

Turning off this exit was one of the stupidest craziest things Derek we have EVER DONE! 

Crazier then climbing the rock wall out of the Arizona Hot Springs, crazier then getting stuck in the sand at the Imperial Sand Dunes and having to be towed out (remind me to tell you that one someday), and crazier then almost driving into a water filled wash north of Death Valley!

This years story picks up from last year at Willow Beach. Remember the Ranger that NEVER COMES DOWN - who sent us packing - twice?! Well, one of the places she offered as a boondocking spot was the bottom of Kingman Wash.

Unfortunately, just before we got to it this year Derek somehow retrieved this bit of information from the far reaches of his brain, turned to me and said 'I'm going down Kingman Wash'.

I just want to state here for the record I said 'We shouldn't go down a road we haven't researched.'

No luck - the Ranger had done the damage.

Kingman Wash road - not so bad - YET....

The above picture was just as were heading down - the LAST picture of our descent because the further we went the more freaked out I became and just didn't have the state of mind to take pictures.

The problem of course is that there was no place to turn around - we were committed to going all the way to the bottom! There were moments when the road got really narrow and really steep! No problem going down but as we were doing so I was saying to Derek - how are we going to get back up

My mind of course was racing back to our trip down through Utah in October when we were barely moving trying to get up a steep incline on route 191.

Anyway - we made it too the bottom. I won't bother you with all the thoughts going through my head at this point and the awful feeling in my stomach about how we were going to get ourselves out of this one!

It was late in the day by the time we arrived having spent most of the day waiting for our truck to be fixed in Kingman.

The mountain sheep were just making there way up to their overnight spot up in the hills.

Cassia and I took a walk down to the water - I wasn't exactly on speaking terms with Derek!

Cassia enjoyed lots of time playing in the water just after we arrived and the next morning.

As Cassia and I were walking back to the trailer we stopped and spoke to the owners of the van and travel trailer that were also parked down at the bottom. When we arrived Derek pointed to the rig and said - 'see! they made it down!' I went to investigate because as we were getting close the fellow (Tommy) was headed over to a group of partying types with big trucks. He hollered out that he was looking for some help to get out! 

And so I had a telling conversations with Tommy his wife Kari and Tommy's mom. They too were worried about getting out having started the trek in and discovered - what? yup - no where to turn around!

I admit I felt a tiny bit better when they said that they had more hope of us getting out with our 4x4 truck then with their van and larger trailer. 

I also slept a little better that night since they had mentioned that friends of theirs were camping across Lake Mead. They already had a call into them for assistance with the climb out. 

The next morning we decided to do a bit of hiking - it really is a beautiful area - looking back. The 4 of us headed up this road but it wasn't long before Roofous and Derek had to continue alone while Cassia and I headed back to play in the water. The lake seems to be a poplar place for scuba diving.

Derek really went way up and got some great pics - you can see our trailer on the left.

When Cassia and I were walking back to the trailer we heard Derek call our names. If you can believe we looked up and he was at the top of this - mountain. I'm glad I didn't have to watch him climb up - he said it was relatively easy because there we a lot of foot holds. 

That's us - parked beside the outhouses - very few level places to park at the bottom of Kingman Wash.

Super view of Lake Mead.

THE road!

Later Saturday morning I noticed that Tommy and Kari were packing up - I headed down to hear the plan. Their friends were on their way and actually arrived while I was there. They were going to pilot us out and help as needed! 


We quickly packed and headed out. Since everyone agreed that we would have the easier time we went first.

Our pilot truck.

Once we successfully got passed one of the worst climbs, Tommy's friend pulled over - also because there were trucks coming the other direction. Not only did we have to contend with the steep climbs but the road is one lane with tons of blind curves. Kari was most nervous about that with their rig.

We continued on our own while the pilot truck waited for Tommy. We promised to meet them at the end of the road.

One of the worst - the end of an S curve with a real bad blind spot. Thankfully many trucks along the way could see us coming and pulled over for us!

I know it doesn't look bad here - but again I was too tense to take pics when the road was really challenging.

I've never been so happy to see highway signs in my life!

Back at the beginning of Kingman Wash Road - Derek checking the truck and trailer.

How Cassia handled the adventure - I guess the morning walk and the rumble of the road put her to sleep.

Yaaa - the pilot truck....

and Tommy! He made it through ok and only had to be pulled once.


We all stood around a bit congratulating ourselves for making it out! A collective sigh of relief!

As we were driving out even Derek admitted to his nervousness and said 'ok - I think I have learned my lesson - no more roads like this'  - not sure if I believe him!

Even though we saw numerous nice cars and vans at the bottom of Kingman Wash it really is a 4x4 only road. Just so you know! It seems to be a well visited place and popular as a party place  - so close to Vegas.

Darn that Ranger!

Keeps life exciting eh?! and the blood pumping!

ah ha! I just checked in with The Bayfield Bunch and see that we are not the only ones taking very questionable roads! At least Al and Kelly were just in their jeep but I would NOT have had the stomach for the road they took today! Some thing about this desert terrain and back roads - we didn't find any of this sort of trouble over in the deep south!


Today's Interesting Link: Here is something different for you! Here is the link to Life In Lytton - Daniel's Blog. Daniel is our computer guy back at the campground! He is the one that got us on to hi speed rather then the dreaded dial up! Daniel has great pics of the area that he lives full time - us - just in the summer. If you scroll down you can see the rescue of his aunt's horse that had fallen in a hole. 

I'll also relink here to our post a few weeks ago regarding the need for Camp Hosts at our two BC campgrounds this summer.


  1. Oh wow!!! Note to self: In future travels, resist urge to explore Kingman Wash!! Refer back to Teresas post on a Life Made Simple blog dated 3/5/12..........

    Safe Travels!!

    PS...Derek, LISTEN to the wife!!

  2. Teresa, you are a great story teller, because you literally had our stomachs dropping and our heart racing .... seriously !!

    Glad to hear it had a happy ending, and just look at all the stories you can tell around the campfire !!

    Most of us live pretty boring lives compared to you three ... lol.

    Take care ... hugs .... Trent and Teresa

    1. ahhhhhh thanks TnT! well now you know how I felt - I wish I had been reading about it not living it! Obviously one of us is up for adventure but not the other! Man I am such a wimp!

      I think I have enough stories to carry me for a while now! eh?!

      :) T

  3. Me and my wife are on our honeymoon, we rented a dodge avenger and hit up the hoover dam from las vegas... being the adventurer i am, we cam accross this road, the Kingman Wash.. and against he r advice i attemptes down this bumpy (remember we were in a dodge avenger) road. The further we got, with no signs of turn arounds, and the more steep and sandy the roads became.. i was getting nervous! Luckily we found a small, what looked like makeshift campsite we where able to pull off the road and i was able to pull up our location on my android and see that we were only about 1/3 of the way down this road! We decided to get out and climb a nearby hill where we got to see a bighorn sheep which was awesome!

    After reading you r post i am glad we turned around! My tires where spinning already and it sounds like the closer to the washout you get the worse it becomes! We also didnt see another vehicle, i guess the end of June is not a popular time...

    1. I'm so glad you turned out too! I wish we had had that option....but all turned out. I'm thinking that LOTS of people must do the same thing as us, Tommy and Kari and you guys. Sure would be nice if they posted a sign - or wait - I think they do! Maybe a very detailed sign would work!

      Thanks for writing about your trek down! The bighorn sheep were a highlight for us too!

  4. We visited Kingman Wash twice in two days. The road has a bit of washboard, and there are two steep hills, but it isn't a bad road compared to many we've taken. It doesn't require 4WD going in, but it's useful going out. It's a great place for hiking, and the paint pots are very colorful.


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