Monday, July 18, 2011

A Hidden Waterfall

Eastgate Wash upstream from Eastgate, looking southeast toward its headwaters in the Desatoya Mountains .

Eastgate Wash is a major drainage incised into more than one alluvial fan complex on the western flank of the Desatoya Mountains of central Nevada. As you can see above, it also cuts into the darkly iron-stained middle Tertiary volcanic rocks of the Eastgate Hills. It's shown on most maps as an ephemeral stream, but I've often it running near Eastgate, and westward out to Middlegate, the eastern notch in the Clan Alpine Mountains. (It doesn't necessarily run year-round all the way to Middlegate Station).
Aerial photo of Eastgate Wash going throught the Eastgate Hills, a small western arm of the Desatoya Mountains, from MSRMaps.

Recently, while driving over scenic Highway 722, formerly S.R. 2, formerly Highway 50, we stopped at a pullout because I thought we might be able to see the Mazama Ash in the banks of the creek. I couldn't remember exactly where that ash locatlity is, and the channel was filled with willows and other dense vegetation, not terribly inviting for a quick reconoiter, so we decided against trying to find the ash.

Instead, as I stood there, I could hear the stream roaring, so I walked down to check it out.
View looking upstream.
View looking downstream, with the volcanic rocks of the Eastgate Hills in the background.
Zooming in on that last view, you can just begin to see the water pouring over a little cliff in the upper right.
I scrambled back uphill, then back down, moving downstream until I came to this little viewing area, with the stream running rapidly in the foreground, and yes, a waterfall in the background, almost hidden by the brush. That little waterfall was causing all that roaring!
A zoom shot of the little waterfall.
And the water flows by at my feet.

I stood there, breathing in the green, flowing turbulence, then scrambled back up to the roadside. We got in the car and drove on, over the pass.

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