Indian Pass

From our base camp near the sand dunes of Glamis, we set off on a clear October morning for some exploring.  Our first stop was a location in the Palo Verde Mountains that was written up by Delmer Ross in the November, 2002 issue of Rockhound Notes.  The goal here was a small hill of pastelite, a fine grained type of jasper.  The Indians of the area used it for arrow and spear points.  We traveled north on Highway 78 to the Milpitas Wash crossing and then turned northeast into the Palo Verdes on M0661, Old Palo Verde Road, which winds its way along a wash through the access corridor in the Palo Verde Mountains Wilderness.  Several natural arches can be seen from the road and this turned out to be a scenic and enjoyable drive. It could probably be done by a sturdy high clearance two wheel drive vehicle, but we felt more secure in our trusty Jeep Liberty with its four wheel drive.  As you exit the mountains to the north look for the small knob of Pastelite Hill at 33*21.148N and 114*46.493W.  There is still some nice material there and we did some collecting. 
Before heading south to Indian Pass we explored a four wheel drive road that led to an old manganese prospect.  We found a deep trench and a very poignant memorial to Karen Hyduke.  Any information that you might have on this memorial  would be appreciated.  We then retraced our tracks on Highway 78, turned south on Ogilby Road, and just before Gold Rock Ranch turned east on A272, Indian Pass Road.  This is a wide, well graded road all the way to the pass itself.  Along the way there are some good collecting areas for petrified palm as well as for dumortierite, a rock that looks much like lapis lazuli.  On a previous trip we had stopped here and done some collecting.  This time we were going all the way to the pass before we stopped.  It is at the very top of the pass that prehistoric Indian trails can be found, along with an unexplained type of petroglyph that consists of scratches through the varnish on hundreds of volcanic rocks.  These scratches take the form of lines, squares, diamonds and oblongs.  To view this area stop at the turn out to the right of the pass where the BLM interpretive panel is.  You will then walk into the field of lava rocks to the north to find the trails and scratched rocks.  Harold Weight wrote a nice article on this area in the February, 1949 issue of Desert Magazine.
After exploring this area and walking on the old Indian trail and seeing the incised rocks, we found ourselves yearning for a time machine so that we could find out what was going on here!  It's a beautiful area with sweeping vistas and jagged peaks.  From the top of the pass we dropped down into Gavilan Wash that would eventually lead to the Colorado River.  This section should only be attempted in a four wheel drive vehicle.  The eroded road drops swiftly into a sandy wash and then twists its way to the magical, life giving blue and green environs of the river itself.  There is a nice campground at 4-S Beach.  It was completely deserted when we passed through.  The juxtaposition of the arid, forbidding hills we had just passed through and this watery paradise we were now viewing was quite a shock.  As the sun dropped low we headed back toward it on the Indian Pass Road.  Our day was over, but if you'd like to relive it then click on the photo link below!


Click here for photos.