Anniversary Narrows, Muddy Mountains Wilderness, Nevada
The Muddy Mountains Wilderness is home to some pretty spectacular and barren badlands. It also contains more than a few canyons, one of which – Anniversary Narrows – we had the pleasure of hiking. We attempted to follow some confusing directions to get the the entrance of the canyon in order to avoid the privately-owned mine, but even though we got ourselves a bit lost in doing so, we eventually found the correct wash and followed it upstream to where the tilted beds of limestone suddenly converged. Here began the three-quarters of a mile of narrows.
Upon entering, the creamy white and gray coloration of the rock that was enfolding us changed to a warm rose color in the diffused light – which was really unique. As we continued walking we observed the glowing walls in the full spectrum between pink and a deep mauve, contrasting with the dull gray of the gravel, and in some places we even noted that the rock radiated yellow in the direct light.
The diagonally tilted layers of rock in Anniversary Narrows mostly criss-cross under the gravel in the wash, occasionally emerging above the canyon floor to create oval-shaped pour-overs, but often disappear beneath the loose stone, making it an easy canyon to navigate. But despite the relatively level floor, the differences in the angles of the bedded rock make it possible to climb some of the walls up to 20 feet in places; this was noticed when we found ourselves looking up at Abby, who had presumably chosen this rote in order to get better sight lines up the canyon. This feature of the tilted sedimentary rock, combined with the unique coloration, makes the Narrows a special place.
We followed the canyon as it wound upstream past where it opened into a wide wash, and then returned the same way where we were treated to different light and colors. Overall, it was a fantastic hike, and a really fun exploration of the colors and textures of the limestone as it swelled and and contracted. The organic forms and warm pastels definitely gave the canyon an organic and distinctive feel – one I was very happy to have experienced.