Sunday, March 29, 2015

Stewarts Point to Pahranagat NWR

Time was winding down on our stay at Stewarts Point on Lake Mead, and it was time to plan out a new destination.  It sounded a bit too cool to start heading north up I-5 direction.  That brought Highway 93 into focus, and one of our favourites at the Pahranagat NWR.  IMG_2004

Approaching from the south, the highway provides a good view of many of the campsites along the lakeshore, and I had intentionally made sure to arrive early in the day to improve my chances of getting one of the campsites.  Sure enough, one of my favourite spots was vacant!  It is well over a mile before the turnoff, and alas, by the time I got back, someone had just moved into ‘my’ spot ;-(

Now, the only vacant spots were three tight, side by side spots at the very end of the lake – one of which is reserved for someone with a ‘disabled’ placard, and one was already occupied.  I spotted a familiar looking camper and regular blogger part way down the lake…


Once set up, the spot did provide some good lake views right out of the camper windows.


But one of my main reasons for wanting to visit here is the abundance of waterfowl that are usually teeming along the shores.  In past times, one had to be careful opening the door first thing in the morning, as that usually caused a flock or two of fowl to be scared off.  And this would be my first visit with a decent telephoto lens, and a GoPro camera that I hoped would provide some unique photo opportunities.  But for some reason, this time there were virtually no birds!  Even the usually abundant coots were notably absent.  One or two geese and a trio of mallards pretty much made up my sightings of waterfowl.IMG_2001

My campsite was very close to and fully exposed to the heavy daytime traffic on the highway, which did calm down quite a bit at night. A couple of hikes around the lake did provide a few wildlife sightings.


I found a tiny laundromat in the nearby town of Alamo, and filled a couple of water jugs.  They also have camping (3 day limit) with water and a dump site at the sports/rodeo grounds in town for $13. and a $5. dump fee if not camping there.  There is a full range of housing styles in Alamo, including this rather quaint spot!


But the combination of traffic noise and lack of waterfowl made the decision to move on an easy one!  Hailey just couldn’t take it any more!


I could hear some hot springs in California’s Sierra Nevada calling my name!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Hoover Dam

Every time we camp at Stewarts Point on Lake Mead, it appears that the lake is getting lower and lower.  Even the area we have camped for years was clearly under water in past times – judging by the abundance of dry shells strewn about.  At least the burros are still there, making their presence known with their peculiar call.  While camped there with Don & Donna we decided to make the drive down to the Hoover Dam and see where all that water was going.


Clearly, it was not going over these overflow spillways, high and dry on both sides of the dam!  Looks like they have been dry for years as they are well above the present water level.


But first we wanted to have a look at the new highway bridge that diverts traffic from crossing the dam as in the past.  A couple big cargo boxes in the back of my truck was enough to get us in the ‘search lane’ on our way down to the bridge!  The view of the dam itself from the bridge is very impressive and provides a new angle that did not exist previously.


I had never walked across the dam before, so we parked and walked across and back, while looking up at the new bridge.


Meanwhile, back at Stewarts point, the flowers and cactus were beginning to bloom.


Don & Donna headed out on their southward journey, so it was time for me to head out as well. Pahranagat NWR north of Vegas looked like a good choice.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Invasion from the Air!

Forgot to mention in the last post…  I was still camped up on the high ridge at Standard Wash BLM area just south of Lake Havasu City when a very large and fancy 3-axle toy hauler pulled in and set up after just coming in from Lake Havasu direction.  Shortly after unloading an atv and putting slides and awnings out, the couple came over to chat.  Well, to ask a question actually.  They wanted to know where they could fill up with water!  They had forgotten to fill up and had NO water on board. To avoid identifying and embarrassing them, I can’t mention that they were from Kansas, or somewhere else!  I doubt that they will forget water a second time Winking smile.  Also, from the Havasu cutting room floor I found this one.  You know when spring break is on because there will be aircraft towing banners up and down the lake.  But this one may be especially applicable to the spring breakers!


I’ve been working on a few time lapse videos while driving. 

Here’s one coming in to the Hoover Dam from the south, over the new bridge, then onto the Northshore road and through the entry gate.

There was a 20 min delay for paving work on the Northshore road, so the next one starts off behind the pilot vehicle, then carries on north all the way up the NS road.

Near the north end of the National recreation area we pulled into the usual spot at Stewarts Point.  There were relatively few rigs in the area as I think these signs along the access road were scaring some away.  There certainly was a good crowd just down the road at Poverty Flats.IMG_8181IMG_8180

The usual ‘15 day camping limit’ sign is up at the start of the road, then the ‘no camping or parking’ sign comes into view.  I think it just refers to that section of road as further down another sign just indicates that there is no camping in the next 1.1 miles.  At any rate there was lots of room and no close neighbours till my friends showed up the next day.  But before they arrived, we were treated to a great airshow put on by the US Air Force, likely from nearby Nellis AFB.  After a couple of low passes down the lake by a C-130 Hercules with the back door open, a large container came out on two parachutes, followed shortly by  6 troops with parachutes.  All landed in the water in the middle of the lake, but right off shore from camp!


There was a couple of ‘safety’ boats watching the exercise, but as far as I could tell, they did not assist, other than pulling all the discarded parachutes out of the water.IMG_8071IMG_8073

Shortly after, the Herc did another pass and 6 more jumped out!


The last one to jump out had a long swim back to join up with the others!  They all assembled around the large package that was first out of the plane and eventually assembled, inflated, and motored off in the boat they put together.



Almost forgot the requisite photos of Ms Hailey!

Lizard hunting is serious business here.


Coming up – Hoover Dam