Thursday, February 4, 2010

Road to Jarbidge: To the Jarbidge Forks

The Jarbidge Mountains—visible in the distance to the south and southwest (left)—are in Nevada; we are still in Idaho, trying to make it to Nevada. Here, we haven't really come to the end of the 3 Creek–Jarbidge Road, we've merely come to the end of the pavement: Pavement Ends.
The sign says: Hill [squiggly] Slow - Next 2 Miles.
And with the north end of the Jarbidge Mountains in the background, the dirt road curves and descends into the canyon of the East Fork of the Jarbidge River. The sign says: Watch For Ice. I didn't see any ice, but it was fall—maybe not the right time of year.
The road down into the canyon is fairly narrow, with a cliff on the right and air on the left. I didn't notice any pullouts, so taking photos of the scenic canyon was tricky.
I stopped briefly in the middle of the road at one point and looked south up the East Fork toward the Jarbidge Mountains.
I then completed the descent, arriving at the bottom of the canyon at the same time I arrived in Murphy's Hot Springs. The place appeared to be inhabited, but I didn't drive in to see if a commercial hot springs is currently in operation. The Idaho Office of Energy Resources lists Desert Hot Springs Resort (aka Murphy's Hot Springs) on their Geothermal Springs of Idaho page; they then link to Hot Spring Heaven (dated April/May 2000), which tells the history of Murphy's Hot Springs and gives an out-of-service number to call for information or reservations. So, another trip will be required determine the status of the springs and small settlement.
Driving northwest along the East Fork of the Jarbidge River, I spotted a couple pullouts occupied by hunters and other campers. The road is narrow enough in places to prevent the passage of two side-by-side vehicles, so I had to watch constantly for traffic coming around corners, traffic that included people on 4-wheeler ATV's. The sign says: Watch For Falling Rock.
These are some of the rocks that warrant watching, in case they start falling. The exposure is most likely part of a formation commonly or at least locally known as the Dorsey Creek Rhyolite or rhyolite of Dorsey Creek. I didn't stop to examine these rocks: I didn't see pullouts in appropriate places. Maybe some other time.
I finally arrived at The Jarbidge Forks, Idaho—at 3:10 in the afternoon on the first day, and 12:15 pm on the second day. This is where I decided to turn around on the first day, not knowing that I could have gotten gas, food, and lodging 23 miles down the road in Jarbidge, Nevada.
The Jarbidge Forks consists of the intersection of the East Fork of the Jarbidge River coming in from the southeast, with the main Jarbidge River coming in from the southwest. Farther downstream to the north, the Jarbidge River joins the Bruneau River before the Bruneau flows into the Snake River near Bruneau and Grand View, Idaho. You Are a Long Way From Anywhere, warns this informative sign.
I stopped here both days, to take in the river and canyon views. This shot of the Jarbidge River is looking downstream to the north.
And this photo of the Jarbidge River looks upstream to the south. There's a boat ramp just out of view for river runners, usually expert kayakers.
This is some of the most isolated country anywhere. If you get into trouble on the river, you're probably the one who will have to get yourself out of it.
Info and nice canyon pictures.

A few Dorsey Creek Rhyolite References:
Bonnichsen, Bill, 1982, The Bruneau-Jarbidge Eruptive Center, Southwestern Idaho, in Bill Bonnichsen, and Roy M. Breckenridge, eds, Cenozoic Geology of Idaho: Idaho Geological Survey Bulletin B-26. p. 237-254.

Bonnichsen, Bill, and Breckenridge, R. M., eds., 1982, Cenozoic Geology of Idaho 1982: Idaho Geological Survey Bulletin B-26, 725 pp.

Bonnichsen, Bill and Jenks, M.D., 1990, Geologic map of the Jarbidge River Wilderness Study Area, Owyhee County, Idaho: U.S. Geological Survey, Map MF-2127, scale 1:50000.

5 comments:

Gaelyn said...

More gorgeous country. Jarbidge Mt looks like a caldera. Too bad to stop to soak in hot water. Hopefully next time.

biochem belle said...

Beautiful pics!

Silver Fox said...

Gaelyn: The Jarbidge Mountains are a fairly typical Basin and Range mtn range - about north-south trending and in this one pic we look south, straight down the range, so it's kind of a funny angle. I think the wide-angle lens also makes the range look smaller than it really is.

biochem belle: Thanks!

Brian Sivley said...

It is a caldera. It's part of the Yellowstone Hotspot Calderas it erupted back about 10 to 12 million years ago and it's ashcloud reached Nevada in ashfalls national preserve where at a watering hole a lot of prehistoric animals were there and when this volcano erupted it sent a gigantic ashcloud covering half of the USA and those animals as they breath in the ash which is not ash at all it is a type of glass which when it got into their longs it poke holes in it there's moisture in the longs they basically drowned and it was a painful death the worst kind of way you could die and it could happen again if Yellowstone erupted but now it probably would be worse because of our reliability on technology and importing and exporting because as we all know planes cannot fly with ash in the air impossible hopefully it doesn't happen in our lifetimes but if it does well good luck in trying to survive the eruption and ashcloud and the cooling that it will bring with all the volcanic gases that it will release into the atmosphere.

Silver Fox said...

The area now called Jarbidge Mountains indeed erupted a voluminous amount of felsic volcanic material 10 to 12 million years ago. The current shape of the mountain range, however, relates more to it's location near the intersection of the Basin and Range province and the Snake River Plain rather than reflecting it's original volcanic or caldera shape. We don't really know when an eruption at Yellowstone might occur, but a large one like many of those that occurred in the past along the hot spot track would likely be at least regionally devastating.