Warning: SSR82 is one of many dirt roads in the Monitor Valley; They all look alike! The one mile access road to the Punch Bowl is extremely rough. Great care must be taken and speed reduced to no more than 10 m.p.h. on this access road. If you're planning on visiting the Punch Bowl, carry ample water, topographical maps, a couple of cans of fix-a-flat, a GPS receiver and leave your itinerary with a dependable party should you not return on schedule.
The Punch Bowl is a small barren hill three miles north of an ancient traffic sign located at N38 59' 24.0" W116 42" 05.4".
Located at the top of a barren rocky hill, virtually devoid of any living green plant is a crater. As you approach the lip of the crater, you see the vertical walls descending down to where they meet blue-green water. Hot blue-green water. 138 degree hot. Water so hot that wisps of steam dance across the surface some twenty-five feet below you. The water is quite clear allowing you to peer down into the inky black subterranean channels from where the water flows. One wall slopes at a 75 degree angle. Enough desert soil has gathered on this slope to permit some flora to grow. I regret that my photographic skills were insufficient to capture the true magnificence of the Punch Bowl.
According to legend, an Indian brave and maiden were at the Punchbowl searching for bird eggs. Spying a nest, the maiden held tightly to the brave's legs as he reached far down from the lip to gather the eggs. Suddenly an eagle landed nearby. The maiden reached out to grab the eagle, letting go of the brave's legs. Into the water he plunged...His leather leggings and scalp eventually emerging at Darrough Hot Springs some 10 miles away.
While exploring, I carry a metal tipped walking stick along with water, sun block, etc. While hiking down the hill, I was shocked to hear the striking of the metal tip on the rocky hill resonate far below me. After some exploratory tapping, I realized that parts of this strange hill was hollow below the surface. Logically, I knew that the rocky surface had held up for eons, but I still scurried down to my van at the base of this strange geological marvel.
Main | Trip Reports | E-mail | Natural & Prehistoric