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  1. #1


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    Hiking down to Kohta Circus was one of the main reasons my wife and I headed into the Gold Butte region from our campground in Las Vegas on July 6, 2015. Yes, not the best time of year to explore the Nevada desert, but being used to high 90’s + high humidity back in Maryland and spending several weeks in 100+ temperatures in Southern Utah and Southern Nevada, the 100+ temperatures and glorious low humidity were not that bad at all, as long as your were on the road or trail at or before sunrise, and back into the air conditioning by early or mid afternoon. This region may soon become a national monument.

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    Though we had basic directions we missed the turnoff for the trailhead the first time, but finally found the “parking corral”. As usual, this time of year we were the only ones on the trail. In fact we did not encounter a single other vehicle or person the entire day on the several hikes we did in the Gold Butte region this day.

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    The Parking corral is not marked other than the standard BLM “Who Passed This Way” sign.
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    The trail was a mixture of abandoned 2 track, streambed, single track through sand, and was somewhat well marked with cairns in some of the slick rock areas. If you have an idea of where your are going and can follow a trail you should not have any troubles. There are several trails in this area so pay attention. A GPS or map would be wise.
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    We encountered a nice horned lizard right off along the trail.
    We noticed one nice large petroglyph about 50 yards off the trail about 20 minutes into our hike.
    pic along trail.
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    According to the Utah Rock Art Research Association, this area was names by by Bob Ashbaugh who discovered these panels in June 1998.

    The Kohta Circus panel is named after its main panel which is about 75 feet long and contain large number to zoomorphs, which include (according to the Dixie Archaeology Society), sheep, deer, gees, snakes, rabbits, turtles, parrots, ants, quail, eagles, water birds, coyote, bear and turkey tracks and a hummingbird.
    They start at ground level and rise to 6 or 7 feet in some locations. Some say that this panel represents some story, perhaps about a migration or a hunting scene, others say many of the symbols represent various clan symbols, I say they are beautiful and that we will never know their exact meaning but can only enjoy them for as long as they last.

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    Attached Images Attached Images      

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  4. #2
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    Don’t just focus on the main circus panel, if you look around and up high there are several panels up quite high.

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    These upper panels are pristine and contain several types of petroglyphs not found any where else in this region.
    Due to its somewhat remote location, I did not see or notice any vandalism.
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    About 30 years ago I would not have hesitated to scramble up for a closer look, but we had 2 other hikes to do (21 Goats and Falling Man), plus I noticed some movement less than a foot from my left shoe and guess what I saw slowly slithering away - I believe it is a Crotalus cerastes, a Horned rattlesnake, most commonly referred to as a Sidewinder.

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    I estimated it to be about 20 - 24 inches long (most adults range from 20 to 32 inches, so a small species of rattlesnake).

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    In all my desert hikes over the last 30 years, this is only the 3rd rattlesnake I have encountered in the wild, and the only one I could get decent pictures.

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    In each of those 3 situations, the snake was way more interested in getting away and always appeared way more scared of me than vice versa.

    Again quoting the Dixie Archaeology Society this area is located within an approximate 5 mile walk from what would have been the Lost City / Overton Anasazi population center. The Kohta Circus /Gold Butte area is not thought to have been a habitation site, but rather a ceremonial site
    for those on the east side of the Muddy / Virgin River. The Valley of Fire / Lost Buffington area is a similar ceremonial area for those on the west side of the river.
    Last edited by Doc Foster; 08-18-2015 at 01:11 PM. Reason: grammar correction

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  6. #3
    Thanks for the info. Just enough clarity and vagueness to allow me to do the rest with relative confidence, yet hopefully, keep the destructive types out. Someday soon...especially if we get another no snow PNW winter.

  7. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Foster View Post
    In all my desert hikes over the last 30 years, this is only the 3rd rattlesnake I have encountered in the wild, and the only one I could get decent pictures.

    In each of those 3 situations, the snake was way more interested in getting away and always appeared way more scared of me than vice versa.
    You're lucky, I've already encounter 5 rattlesnakes this year and probably 100 in my life. All were pretty docile except for one trapped in a slot canyon that became extremely aggressive and kept striking at me from a ledge it was trapped on... I hate snakes...

  8. #5

    did you approach this way?

    looks like its a direct approach, if my homework is direct

    lets see if I can attach a map of sorts
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  9. #6
    That is not the way I approached. PM sent

  10. #7
    well, using info on the web AND Google Earth and our garmin with Basecamp homework we made to trailhead parking in our 4WD Jeep Liberty, the. hiked about an hour to the panels. Stay on the trail. Take binoculars - we looked straight at the panel and did not see it. Dont forget to look at the high up panels on the far cliff. Our hike was 95 deg F. Its worth the effort. When going over side draiange ruts let gravity roll your vehicle into the rut to a standstill then drive out. After the hike we stayed in Desert Palms Motel in Mesquite -old place with cinder block walls (the best kind).

  11. #8
    Glad you found it. It is indeed an impressive site. I am glad that at least the parking corral is not marked, and hope it never will be and the fact that it is on a "dead end" road helps keep the traffic to a minimum.

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