I‘m back to sharing the adventures we launched from our dispersed camping site at La Posa South BLM in Quartzsite, AZ! On February 12, we decided to go on a road trip to visit the Dripping Springs site located high up in the hills to the east of us. I read about this area in the 2020 Quartzsite Visitor Guide. The description indicated there were hundreds of petroglyphs to be seen at Dripping Springs and that was all I needed to spark my curiosity!
Dripping Springs gets its name from a spring that originates in a cave here providing a year-round water source – and apparently if you enter the cave you can hear the water “dripping.” Remnants of an old stone cabin and arrastra can also be observed here. I was not familiar with the term “arrastra” so I looked it up! It’s a “primitive mill for grinding and pulverizing gold or silver ore.” Well, that certainly fits with the mining history of the area.
Most people access this area riding an ATV utilizing the various BLM dirt roads that criss-cross this vast land. I started asking around for information on the best way to approach the area via a 4-wheel drive truck. I received various responses ranging from “you cannot get there with a pick-up truck as the wheel base is not short enough” to “you can get within a mile on the dirt roads off Gold Nugget Mine Road.”
One thing was clear. We needed a map. I purchased a La Posa Travel Management Map published by the BLM that covered the area in question. It listed all the primitive roads by number and would serve as a guide for us. I also stopped in to the local Chamber of Commerce and verified the information we had received. Whether we could get to within a mile of Dripping Springs by vehicle was still questionable, but the woman at the Chamber of Commerce was very nice and printed off some maps from the Quartzsite Off-Road Atlas to supplement our BLM map.
Armed with our navigation aids, we set about to access Dripping Springs from the north. We traveled east on I-10, exited at Gold Nugget Mine Road and followed the directions to the primitive road # 0065 that we needed to start our ascent into Dripping Springs. We promptly got lost since the iron road signs were very confusing. We dead-ended at a working mine and had to backtrack to our starting point. It was at this time that we met the Quebecois who was traveling in his old Westfalia and had pulled over along the dirt road to camp for the night. We chatted with him for awhile since he is basically our “neighbor” to the north and then went on to find our route.
We found road #0065 again and drove a short distance only to realize that it was going to be a little sketchy whether we could actually continue given the road conditions. We parked the truck and decided to hike into the spring estimating that it might not be that far.
As we started our hike, we heard a voice yelling to us. It was the Quebecois who we had met earlier. He ran up to us and asked if we minded if he joined us on the hike. He was alone and wanted to explore but was hesitant to do so without a map or a companion. We enthusiastically said “Yes!” and we enjoyed a nice walk and great conversation with our new friend. His English was excellent and he was impressed by my knowledge of the local plant material – so he was okay with me! He had just retired, experienced a recent health scare and decided to travel before it was too late. Driving straight through from Quebec to Arizona – his only goal was to see the desert. His wife was to be joining him in a few days and he was going to rendezvous with her in Las Vegas.
We never made it to Dripping Springs although we did make it to what I think was the Dos Picachos Mine just a mile before the steep ascent to the spring.
SOME OF THE MINE SHAFTS WE SAW
It was getting late in the day and we needed to turn around. We parted company with our French friend once we reached our truck and wished him well.
Our second attempt to reach Dripping Springs was the very next day, February 13. Reviewing the maps, it appeared that we could ride our bikes directly from La Posa South along several primitive roads to reach the spring. If we took road #0059 from the end of the dispersed camping area and then followed #0058 and 0058B, we would be within hiking distance again. I would not be robbed of my chance to see these petroglyphs!!
PLANTS ARE STARTING TO BLOOM IN THE DESERT
It was a great bike ride for me, however, since Jim’s old mountain bike has no front shocks , he was not comfortable. We managed to make it onto road #0058B before turning around and heading back. We rarely saw or heard any ATV’s during our jaunt and the scenery was beautiful. I was disappointed that we never made it to Dripping Springs but the bike ride was awesome.