Posts Tagged With: Campground

Off to see the Wizard . . .

We left Zion, reluctantly, since we had such a great time there. Next destination was somewhere in the Las Vegas area. We headed for an RV park in the Lake Meade Recreation Area and crossed through some wild, dry, mountains and part of the Mohave Desert on our way to Las Vegas. One notable item was the Joshua Tree, in the Yucca family and exclusive to the Mohave Desert, which suddenly appeared as we crossed into Mesquite, Nevada. No pictures, since I was driving the whole time. By the way, we went from Utah, through Arizona briefly and then into Nevada (changing time by one hour to Pacific Time). Some pretty wild mountains to cross through.

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The RV park on Lake Meade was easy camping, even if it was tight quarters. We hooked up to water and electric and then headed over to Hoover Dam. It was a hot afternoon, over 90 degrees, but the walk around the dam was cool. Pretty amazing feat of engineering and design and we walked across while I tried to figure where the Transformers were positioned beneath (you had to see the movie).

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So much of the design is art deco style.

The new bridge that spans across the river and canyon just downstream is pretty amazing and we walked midway to have a look at the dam from there (but the price of admission to the visitor’s center and parking seemed a bit steep). Sad to see that the high water mark for the lake was the year it was completed.

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The view from Boulder City.

The town where the dam and campsite are located is Boulder City. The historic section of town is really quite nice. They have kept it looking like a 60’s boom town, with all the small motels and souvenir shops. Very classic. Brief mention that there was yet another brewpub: Boulder City Brewery. Good for a sample flight of six five ounce selections of their brews. Get this: on the way out of town, along the shoulder where there was some healthy green grass was a herd of Bighorn sheep. So we got some pictures, but they sure aren’t the “out in the wild” photo we expected to get.

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Ok, they were on the side of the road . . .

Next day was to be an adventure in Las Vegas. We drove to Emerald City to see the Wizard, parked and started walking the strip. One clever bit of engineering that I liked was the curving escalator at the Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace.  They did trick you into walking around the entire level of the mall, though.  Whole lotta stuff going on and people everywhere.   As you know, every celebrity chef has a place or two in Vegas (where did those cheap buffets go?)  Can’t say I was impressed – too many homeless, panhandlers and just plain weird folk. Had lunch and came back to camp.  The day before we arrived in Las Vegas the Democrats were debating.  Then the big news was about Lamar Odom.  See what I mean about weird folk?  While we were sitting outside enjoying the view, we watched some strange birds running around. Finally figured out they were Gambel’s Quail (but no picture, since I didn’t have the camera).

Caesar's 2

Classic Caesar’s, but bigger.

Mirage

Was it all a Mirage?

Caesar's

Not the sort of wildlife we were looking for.

A shout out to my brother Jeff, who spent his birthday in a tree stand hoping to get a buck with his bow and arrow. I hear his son Adam has bagged three does already.

We are headed toward the South Rim next, probably with a stopover beyond Kingman, AZ.

Hey thanks for the comments!

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Grand, Grand Canyon

North Rim (54)

A half day of travel from Page took us across the higher Colorado Plateau and down into a lower plateau where we crossed the Colorado River at Navajo Bridge (oh yeah, a California Condor was perched below the bridge)

California Condor on Navajo Bridge

California Condor on Navajo Bridge

and along the base of the Vermillion Cliffs. Beautiful panoramic vistas of these cliff walls and then an ascent to Jacob Lake and into the Kaibab Plateau and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Slow go uphill, sometimes only 25 mph with our size and weight. What is so different about driving in this area is that you can see exactly where you are headed, the ribbon of road stretching way ahead of you into the distance, unless it is uphill and all you see is the next curving switchback.

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North rim campsite is great, dry camping with only 2 hours of generator time in the morning and 2 hours at night. Since we got here at 1:00, we headed out for another hike, which was probably 4 – 5 miles total. The Transept Trail was 1.5 miles along the rim from campground to the Grand Canyon Lodge, then another half-mile out to Bright Angel Point. These overlook points are breathtaking, as you perch at the very edge of the canyon and look out over the eroded layers of sedimentary rock. The elevation here is just over 8,000 feet, so we are higher than we were at Estes Park in the Rocky Mountains. You look south into the canyon and into the sun, so a lot of the canyon walls are in shadow and there is a surprising bit of haze and ozone across the distance. Maybe clearer air tomorrow, although it has been nearly cloudless skies.

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Brave soul

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Lots of Douglas fir, Ponderosa Pine and spruce trees here, making you think about those perfect Christmas trees with some Aspen just hanging onto their shimmering leaves.

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Jackie explained that there is a modern evolutionary example here with two species of squirrel that developed differently once separated by the canyon. So I am on the lookout for the Kaibab squirrel, which has different coloration from the Abert’s squirrel of the South rim. Oh, and there is a herd of bison in the park, but of course we saw none coming in through the meadows and fields. Maybe tomorrow.

Abert's squirrel

Abert’s squirrel

Kaibob squirrel

Kaibob squirrel

Next day in camp we decide to head out to explore a few more trails and vistas along a 14 mile roadway to Cape Royal Trail. The journey was a very winding road that went through spruce, fir, Ponderosa pines, aspen and then to Pinyon pine, sagebrush and cliffrose (which looks a lot like a cedar). We had short hikes out to some treacherous overlooks but gorgeous views all the way down to the Colorado River. Way cool. Tonight we want to stargaze over by the lodge before we pack up and head out to Zion tomorrow.

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Thanks for checking in. A note to family: no cell service in the area at all, but wifi at the camp store.

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