Thursday, November 28, 2013

Lake Mead National Recreation Area - again, NV

Cooler temperatures drive us back south and we return to Lake Mead outside of Las Vegas.  We will spend most of the next few weeks until Christmas here exploring the many trails and backcountry byways of this National Recreation Area.

The Bluffs Trail overlooks the Las Vegas Wash which is flowing like crazy right now, perhaps because they've just had three days of rain before we arrive. The views of Lake Mead and the surrounding mountains is magnificent. We also see a large group of ducks, but are too far away to photograph or identify them. They might be Redheads since they seem to have very rusty brown heads.

Overlooking the river (which drains beautiful Lake Las Vegas, a lake and resort/condo community) from the Bluffs Trail.
Quite by accident, we find a trail from the closed boat ramp in Las Vegas Bay (Lake Mead water levels are too low and most boat ramps in the park are closed) along the estuary to the lake. There are hundreds of water birds - egrets, herons, gulls, coots, cormorants and grebes. Fishermen are also in abundance, stealing the birds prey.
Egrets (one in flight) and herons in the flowing Las Vegas Wash.

Birds and fishermen in Las Vegas Bay.
A three-mile hike takes us through White Rock Canyon down 800 feet to the Colorado River about four miles below the Hoover Dam. A short hike down-river and up a side canyon brings us to the Arizona (or Ringbolt) Hot Springs where there are several pools of varying temperatures. After a relaxing soak with a couple from Vegas, we hike back up this side canyon which is much more strenuous and technically challenging with several dryfalls to scale, one about 20 feet high. It is tricky, but we manage - barely!
A Bighorn Sheep. They are fairly common around here, and this one is unfazed by our presence.
View of the Colorado River, on our way up into the Arizona Hot Spring Canyon.
Marilyn climbing the 20-foot ladder to get up to the springs (and yes, I got wet doing so). At the top is the coolest pool, around 90F; 20 feet further up the canyon is a warmer pool at about 104F; and another hotter pool lies above than.
Brad and Marilyn sitting in the pool at the top of the ladder. The water is too cool for Brad, but is juuuuust right for Baby Bear!


  1. Okay, officially, after the pic of you climbing the ladder, you far exceed my level of adventure! Wow.

    1. That wasn't the half of it! Scaling rock walls to get over or around dryfalls was downright scary when we hiked back up the canyon, and it was getting dark. A few times we thought we'd gone the wrong way because the other couple at the spring told us to make sure we don't miss the left turn up the slot canyon. We were sure we were lost at least twice, but kept going knowing there wasn't time during daylight to retrace our steps! And we're safe!

  2. I sure hope you hike with lots of water, snacks AND a headlamp or two :-)

    1. Lynda - we hike with lots of water, lunch and full emergency gear like flashlights, safety kit, rope, pepper spray, energy bars, foil blankets in case we have to spend the night stuck somewhere, lighter ... also with extra diesel fuel and a 5 gallon jug of water in the back of the truck. We are prepared, like good scouts!

  3. looks like an awesome hike :)
    Got a technical question for you. How do you get your pictures to pop up as a group, separate from the blog post. is it a gadget? inquiring minds want to know. thanks!

    1. Hey Sue ... I actually write the HTML code which I used to do in my previous life pre-retirement. It's just a table.

      Looks like we'll see you guys in Quartzsite in January, if you're going to be there. Have been in touch with Janice & Jerry so they're keeping us aprised of travel plans.