Richard Erbe and I meet at Jacob Lake around 10:00 AM and make camp across the street in the campground. Tomorrow we are driving all the way to Toroweap and camping at the Tuweep campground for three nights. I had planned on doing a day hike in Snake Gulch after our trip to Toroweap, but since I got here so early today, we have time to do that this afternoon. After an early lunch, we head out to Snake Gulch.
It takes about a half-hour from Jacob Lake to reach the Snake Gulch trailhead. That entire stretch of road is suitable for travel in a passenger car. We arrive at the trailhead around 12:30 PM. There is one other car here. When we look inside the trailhead register, we see that other hikers have filled out one of the cards today and indicated they are doing a two-day hike. I'm guessing they do not realize that these trailheads are not monitored and no one will come looking for them if they don't return on time.
The two informational displays below are under the covered pavilion shown in the first picture above.
We leave the trailhead with only day packs. It's nice not to be carrying a forty pound backpack like I usually am. The trail is very distinct, basically flat, and easy walking.
In just a short distance, we see an old rock house on the other side of the gulch. Richard decides to stay here while I explore some over at the house. There is a drainage ditch that is a slight challenge to get across in order to reach the house.
Near the house is a welded pipe fence enclosure. It must have been hard to get a welder down here. I wonder if the owner kept cattle in there and that was why he needed such a robust fence.
My initial thought was that getting water to this dry location would have been quite difficult. Then I found a unique semi-circular concrete structure just outside the house. It was about fifty feet in diameter and sloped gently toward the small end, which does not show in these two pictures, but is where I am standing. It had curbing around it to prevent rain water from flowing out of the surface.
The catch basin above was positioned and sloped so that water would flow into the holding basin below, which was full of water. I wonder how they got all the concrete for these two structures down here. The workmanship on both concrete structures was excellent.
I make my way from the house across the drainage ditch and to the other side where Richard is waiting. Along the way, I pass some animal bones.
We pass a pretty nice Forest Service sign and then come to a wooden fence. There is a locked gate in the fence and a way for hikers to pass through the fence without allowing cattle through. There is also a wooden fence on the other side of the water way. It appears to us that barbed wire was strung across the stream between the two fences at one time, so maybe the house owner kept cattle or sheep in the field near his house.
Richard and I spend the next hour walking and checking out the gulch walls for petroglyphs, but do not find any. By looking around, we accidentally got off the trail. After a little back-tracking, we get back on the trail, which goes across the stream and to an over-hang area.
There are numerous petroglyphs under the over-hang area. We have indeed hit the jack pot. We take a short break here while admiring all the art work.
We estimate that we have gone just over two miles. Other trip reports indicate that there are a lot more petroglyphs at the five-mile point. We don't feel like going that far, but do decide to continue ahead and around the next corner. However, we don't find any more petroglyphs at that corner, so we turn around and head back to the car.
This has been a nice day hike and we didn't wear ourselves out.
Directions to the Snake Gulch trailhead.
south from Jacob Lake 0.3 miles. Turn right on FR 461.
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