Sunday

Daytrip - Spring Mountain Ranch Park

On 05/26/2016 the rock hounds from the Henderson Senior Center held their hiking season year-end picnic at the Spring Mountain Ranch Park. As I try to come here at least once every year I have nearly a half dozen pages with pictures from visits over the past four years. Click the following link for last week's visit ... Spring Mountain Ranch - Trip Notes for 05/26/2016. For links to pictures of all previous visits, click the following ... Spring Mountain Ranch State Park - Summary Page.

Wednesday

Daytrip - Brownstone Canyon Archaeological District

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Brownstone Canyon Archaeological District comprises 2,920 acres and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The area is administered by the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Filled with numerous pictographs, petroglyphs, and several pristine agave roasting pits dotting the landscape, it also as the most expansive display of polychromatic pictographs found in all of Southern Nevada. Click here to pictures and information of this sensitive area ... Brownstone Canyon Archaeological District.

Saturday

Daytrip - Bowl of Fire Hike

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On 05/17/2016 I made my third visit to the Bowl of Fire. On this hike I was accompanied by fellow hikers Blake Smith, Bob Croke and Ron Ziance. The weather was so threatening that we almost cancelled this hike. Unfortunately, even though it never did rain, the dismal overcast prevented us from obtaining any really good pictures. We started today's hike at the 18.2 mile marker on Northshore Drive. In spite of the weather it turned out to be a very good morning hike. Click the following link to view this new page ... Bowl of Fire - Trip Notes for 05/17/2016.

Friday

Daytrip - Las Vegas Springs Preserve

On 05/11/2016 I visited the Las Vegas Springs Preserve for the third time in a month. on this visit I was accompanied by Bob Croke and Jim Herring. Neither of them had ever been there before. Featuring two museums, several galleries, a colorful botanical garden and a 2.25 miles interpretive trail system that meanders through a wetland habitat, I provided them with a quick overview of this huge 180-acre facility. We scenic spent more than half the time just touring the Origen Museum and hiking more than a mile of the interpretive trail system learning about the water history of the Las Vegas Valley. Click here for pictures and a description of this visit ... Las Vegas Springs Preserve - 05/11/2016 Trip Notes.

Sunday

Daytrip - Pioche and the Highland Mining District

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On 05/03/2016, Bob Croke and I made the trip to Pioche Nevada to visit Harvey Smith and his friend "P. Rob", a long-time local resident. The main goal of today's visit was to do some 4-wheeling around the valley and Highland Range located behind the town of Pioche in search of some of the areas' old gold and silver mines. We drove for about 4.5 hours and covered nearly 25 miles. Out of the 26 mines that made up the Highland Mining District, we got to explore five of them, leaving plenty for another visit. Click here for pictures an a description of these mines ... Highland Mining District near Pioche NV. We also spent some time looking at some of the mines in the town of Pioche, and some of their more sell known historic building. Click her for pictures and information on the town of Pioche ... Pioche NV - Summary Visit Page

Monday

Index for Category–Various Animals and Reptiles

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BURROS - Index (4 posts)
DESERT BIGHORN SHEEP - Index (11 posts)

DESERT TORTOISE - Index (2 posts)

LIZARDS - Index (10 posts)

RABBITS - Index (5 posts)

SNAKES - Index (2 posts)

WILD HORSES - Index (8 posts)

VARIOUS OTHER
      Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta)
     Tarantula (aphonopelma)
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DESERT TORTOISE
   Desert Tortoise at Red Rock Canyon NCA - 2016
   Desert Tortoise Finding Near Nipton California - 2015
   Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) - 2012
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Daytrip - Bonanza Trail Hike

On 04/29/2016, fellow hikers Blake Smith, Jim Herring and I decided to head out to Cold Creek Nevada to see if we could hike the Bonanza Peak trail. We had heard that Camp Bonanza Cold Creek Rd., the dirt road above the town the leads to the trailhead was in bad shape and would require a 4WD vehicle. To our surprise, there was not only no snow on the road, but it was actually in pretty good shape and were able to make the 2.2 miles to the trailhead in Jim's SUV without any problem. Click here for info and pictures of today's hike ...Bonanza Trail Hike - Notes for 04/30/2016

Sunday

Las Vegas Springs Preserve - 05/11/2016 Trip Notes

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This page last updated on 06/15/2017
(Fig. 01)

(Fig. 02)
05/11/2016 Trip Notes: On this visit to the Las Vegas Springs Preserve, I was accompanied by Bob Croke and Jim Herring. Featuring museums, several galleries, a colorful botanical garden and a 2.25 miles interpretive trail system that meanders through a scenic wetland habitat, I tried to provide them with a quick overview of this huge 180-acre facility. We started out by touring the Origen Museum. The name "Origen" was derived from two words: original and generations, this museum is the interpretive focal point for history at the Springs Preserve. It features more than 75 permanent exhibits, an indoor theater and traveling exhibit space. We wandered and explored its connecting galleries and watched a film that provided historical recreation of the areas' history. When we exited here we decided to hike their trail system before it got too hot. You can see the route we hiked on the map in (Fig. 02) above.  Even though there wasn't a lot to photograph along this hike, there were the remains of three of the once 13 remaining derricks (Fig. 03) that stood over "wells" scattered about the property. There were also several collapsed buildings that once covered some of the many "open springs" that dotted area (Fig. 04). We also found the remains of the caretaker house that housed railroad workers that maintained the 13 wells scattered about the area. There was also a restored chicken house that remained from the farming that once occurred here. Near some of the more wetter areas we did capture some pictures of some dragonfly's (Figs. 05-07) and a couple of Snowy Egrets (Fig. 08). After hiking about a mile and a half, we decided to "cool down" by having lunch at the Springs' Divine Cafe located on the top floor above the gift shop. While eating lunch out on the deck (Fig. 09), not only was there was a lovely cool breeze, it provided some nice views of the grounds (Fig. 01) above. (con't below)
                               


(Fig 03)
(Fig. 04)

                                         
(Fig. 04)
Click here to read about the  Flame Skimmer Dragonfly (Libellula saturata)


(Fig. 06)
(Fig. 07)
(Fig.08)
(Fig. 09)
Visit Notes Continued: After lunch we walked over to the butterfly habitat an the botanical gardens located on the eastern end of the property (Fig. 02). Click here to see some of the butterfly pictures I took on my last visit in April ... Springs Preserve  (Butterflies & Birds). Even though many of the plants and flowers seemed to be in bloom (Figs. 10-13), it still appeared to be too early for most of the cactus. I only saw one cactus that had any blooms on it (Fig. 14). Click here for more pictures of flowers taken on my last visit in April ... Springs Preserve (Spring Flora Blossoms).  Because our allotted time had quickly run out, we had to head to the parking lot, leaving plenty to see on a future visit. Because the Nevada State Museum is closed on Tuesday and Wednesdays, we weren't even able to visit it.

(Fig. 10)

(Fig. 11)
(Fig 12)
(Fig. 13)
(Fig. 14)
Click here to return to the Springs' main page [Las Vegas Springs Preserve]

Brownstone Canyon Archaeological District (Summary Page)

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This page last updated on 10/11/2017

Introduction: As I began to discover more and more rock art sites during my hikes over these past several years, I have become witness to far too many examples of where persons had seemed fit to deface them with graffiti and other examples of damage. Eventually I realized that the sharing of my hiking adventures could have the potential to increase public exposure, and thereby increasing the possibility for even more damage. As a result, I decided to preface each of my rock art pages with the following information to help educate visitors about the importance of these fragile cultural resources. Before scrolling down, I implore you to READ the following ... as well as the linked page providing guidelines for preserving rock art.

Here are a few simple guidelines you can follow that will help to preserve these unique and fragile cultural resources that are part of our heritage. Guidelines for Preserving Rock Art. If you would like to learn more about the Nevada Site Stewardship Program, go to my page ... Nevada Site Stewardship Program (NSSP).
    

Area Description: Located inside the 47,180 acre La Madre Mountain Wilderness Area, Brownstone Canyon Archaeological District comprises 2,920 acres. The Brownstone Canyon Archaeological District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 22, 1982. The area is administered by the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The cultural resources of this area tell a story of prehistoric Americans in a desert land. Filled with numerous pictographs, petroglyphs, and several pristine agave roasting pits dotting the landscape, it also as the most expansive display of polychromatic pictographs found in all of Southern Nevada. Due to the sensitivity of this fragile area, I have chosen NOT to provide specific directions to its site location.
                             
Cultural History:  The Native American cultures that may have used this area are: Southern Paiute (900 AD to modern times); Patayan Culture (900 A.D.to early historic times in the 1800s); Anasazi (1 A.D. to 1150 A.D.); Pinto/Gypsum (Archaic - 3,500 B.C. to 1 A.D.). Native Americans who inhabited or passed through this area left behind roasting pits, tools, implements and trash of their everyday living. Rock Art, broken (pottery) pots and tools, coupled with radiocarbon dating and cross dating with comparisons from the surrounding areas that have a more established chronology, all begin to tell the story of the ancient ways of life and human adaption to the desert. Even projectile points (arrowheads) can serve as time markers to archaeologists familiar with the prehistory of the area. Since many times these resources are the only source of information on American's prehistory, it is important to preserve and protect them in their original location. Moving or removing any item from its place can cause the loss of potential scientific knowledge needed to tell the story of the areas prehistory. As our understanding of this region's prehistory increases, the above estimated dates will likely be modified.


                                  

05/14/2016 Trip Notes: Along with my regular hiking partners Bob Croke and Jim Herring, we were accompanied by ten other invited guests. For today's hike we were led by Mark Boatwright, Field Archaeologist with the Bureau of Land Management and a technical adviser to the Nevada Rock Art Foundation. Mark has worked as an archaeologist for the past 25 years and is currently the Red Rock/Sloan Field Archaeologist in the Las Vegas district.  He is deeply interested in issues relating to the historic preservation and conservation of cultural artifacts, including rock art. Throughout the length of our hike he pointed out several petroglyph sites, agave roasting pits, tinjas and dams; providing us with his extensive archaeological knowledge's at each stop. One of our first stops along the wash was the unusual formation seen in (Fig. 03) below. Next we stopped at one of the several agave roasting pits (Fig. 04) that can be seen in Brownstone Canyon. As we continued hiking the wash we were privy to several blossoming plant and cacti (Fig. 05)
NOTE: "Roasting pits are circular areas of fire-cracked and whitened limestone. A hole was dug into the earth and filled with wood, which was burned, and rocks to hold the heat of the fire. They can vary in size from ground level circles five to six feet in diameter, to huge piles several yards high with large sloping sides. The limestone was gathered, heated by the fire and then used to cook the foods. After prolonged heating, the limestone was raked aside and replaced with new rocks. This process caused the circular ring of rocks to grow with use. These agave roasting pits were reused time and again. Through use they began to take on the classic shape seen here, with burned stone and charcoal heaped up in a large circle, generally with a depression in the center. Roasting pits were used to roast various foods such as agave hearts, desert tortoise and possibly other plant and animal foods. Agave is a type of plant that was extremely important and widely available to the people of the Mojave Desert throughout ancient times. When dried the leaves were used to make sandals and other textiles, and the base of the large plant was roasted after all of the thick pulpy leaves were removed. The agave "head" would be placed inside and buried where it was roasted for several days."

(Trip notes con't below)

(Fig. 03)

(Fig. 04)

(Fig. 05)


Trip Notes Continued (Petroglyph Sighting #1):  For our next stop, we rounded the west side of the light sandstone outcrop. The petroglyphs are in the dark patina area indicated by the three yellow arrows (Fig. 07).

(Fig.07)


Trip Notes Continued: Next we moved to the south side of the wash and climbed up the side of a low rocky area to observe some tinajas (Fig. 13) and a small dam. Tinaja is a term originating in the American Southwest for surface pockets (depressions) formed in bedrock that occur below waterfalls and rocks that are carved out by spring flow or seepage. Tinajas are an important source of surface water storage in arid environments, often supporting unique plant communities and providing water to support local wildlife. A couple of these tinajas were filled with hundreds of tadpoles (Fig. 14). Following the water up the hill (Fig. 15) we eventually ended up at a small dam (Fig. 16). It was obvious that a heavy rain would create a large water area behind the dam more than a foot deep (Fig. 17). The beautiful view in (Fig. 18) was taken from a spot just above the dam. (Notes con't below)
                                   
(Fig. 13)
(Fig.14)

(Fig. 15)

(Fig. 16)
(Fig. 17)





(Fig. 18)
Trip Notes Continued (Petroglyph Sighting #2):  The next time we stopped, we were at the foot of a high cliff. Difficult to see, there were 5 to 6 panels scattered along a ridge line (yellow arrows) going up the side of this steep hillside (Fig. 19).

(Fig. 19)


(Fig. 23)
Trip Notes Continued (Pictograph/Petroglyph Sighting #3):  Finally, we reached our goal, a site containing a continuing line of pictograph panels that must have stretched for nearly 60 feet beneath a long overhang in the cliff. The pictures in (Figs. 23 above & 24 and 25 below) are but three of the main panels. Rock Art that is painted on a flat rock surface is called a “pictograph.” The mixing of natural compounds – hematite or ocher for red, for instance, or kaolin or gypsum for white, charcoal for black – with a base of plant and animal oils, created colored pigments. The paint was usually then applied with brushes made out of animal hair or yucca leaf fibers, or smeared on with fingers. It seems obvious that in spite of the volumes of scholarly study, no one can say with any certainly what was meant by the artists that created these paintings. Though some have theorized that much Rock Art is merely the result of idle doodling like a kind of prehistoric "tagging", I don't buy it. The peoples of hunting and gathering societies survived on a very fine edge in an extremely difficult environment. These people had little time for idle doodling. Rock Art is not an easy medium to work. To me it is obvious that many of the more elaborate pictographs found here took many perfectly placed hits to create and required untold hours to complete. To me, every stroke was intended to describe events or to communicate a message for future generations. Whatever the purpose of the authors, the mysteries of the paintings on these cliffs provide inspiration for the mind, limited only by the boundaries of our imagination.

Located near the right side of the site, just below the paintings, there were several cupules (Fig. 26). These cupules are small, bowl-shaped depressions that were pecked, pounded or ground into the rock surface. They were likely used to mix the compounds, ground plants and oils, to create the substances used in the painting of the pictographs. Picture collages (Figs. 27 & 28) contain enlargements for some of the more unique elements. Along the bottom ledge beneath the pictograph panels there were several "fallen" boulders (Fig. 29) that even showed evidence of some pictographs that once may have been part of a larger panel. On the eastern end of the site there was evidence of some actual pecked petrographs as well as and area where the surface had been "damaged" and was missing part of a pictrograph (Fig. 30). After spending considerable time examining an enjoying all this site had, we all had a picnic lunch before making the trek back down the wash (Fig. 31). Here are two more pictures Bob (Fig. 32) and I (Fig. 33) took along the way. Without a doubt, this was one of the best Rock Art sites I have ever visited and can't thank Mark Boatwright and Rayette Martin enough for making it possible.

(Fig. 26)
(Fig. 29)
(Fig. 30)
(Fig. 31)
(Fig. 32)

(Fig. 33)
_______

Reference Materials:

Manuscript written by Kenneth C. Clarke

Morels (Morchella spp.)

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(Fig. 01)
Picture Information: I found several of these Black Morel mushrooms on 05/26/2016 while hiking the North Loop Trail in the Spring Mountain Range. They were just off the side of the trail at about the 8,900 foot elevation. Click here to go to this hike page ... North Loop Trail - Trip Notes for 05/27/2016.
                            
Description: Morels (Morchella spp.) a.k.a. White Morel, Yellow Morel, Black Morel. Morels are a very distinct genus of mushrooms. Looking somewhat like a pine cone on a stalk, morels have a spongy, porous, honeycombed appearance. The stems and caps are hollow. The black morel has black ridges with tan pores. The black morel tends to become darker with age. When the cap has turned predominately to all black, it is unpalatable. The cap is ¾" - 1 5/8" wide and ¾" - 2" high; elongate and narrowly conical; with dark gray to black longitudinal and radial ribs (sometimes irregular), and long, yellow-brown pits; attached to stalk at base; hollow. The stem is 2" - 4" long, ¾" - 1 5/8" thick; whitish, granular to mealy; hollow. Their growing season is late April - mid June. Black morels are likely to appear the earliest and are likely to be found under conifers, in the woods, or along woods edges.

These organisms are arguably considered among the most prized edible fungi on the planet, and it’s not uncommon to see them fetching a price of a few hundred dollars per dried pound in the market. Even though edible, these must be cooked thoroughly. Never, ever eat morels raw! They are good sautéed, deep fried, or dried and reconstituted. One of the best ways to eat them is by themselves to appreciate the subtle morel flavor. Morels with brook trout is a favorite. Foods that are not overpowering are best with this one such as chicken, fish, cheese, white sauces etc. They make fine soup.
                     
False morels are found at the same time of year. They are poison and sometimes deadly. You must be sure to know the differences. True morels are completely hollow from top to bottom usually with a conical or oval attached cap. Note the pebbly texture of the stem both inside and out. the False morel (Gyromitra esculenta) is chambered on the inside with an irregular brain-like cap.

Bowl of Fire - Trip Notes for 05/17/2016

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This page last updated on 06/15/2017
(Fig. 01
(Fig. 02)






Hike TrailheadsThe Bowl of Fire (BoF) is located in the Muddy Mountain Wilderness Area, everything north of the Callville Wash. Everything south and east of the wash is within the boundaries of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. There are actually 3 trail heads one can use to approach the (BoF). Refer to (Fig. 01).  (Option 1) If you have a 4-wheel drive vehicle, start at Mile Marker 16 and drive up Callville Wash (Road #54). This leaves you with a relatively short 1/2-mile hike into the “bowl”. (Option 2) Hiking from the mile 18.2 mile marker parking area off Northshore Road, leaves you about a 1.25 mile hike to the “bowl”. (Option 3) Hiking from the trailhead at the 20.6 mile marker parking area, known as the Bowl of Fire North Loop. This loop trail, ending back at the 18.2 trailhead, is almost 8 miles, and is certainly the most difficult.
                           
05/17/2016 Trip Notes:Today I made my third visit to the Bowl of Fire. On this hike I was accompanied by Blake Smith, Bob Croke and Ron Ziance. The weather was so threatening that we almost cancelled this hike. Unfortunately, even though it never did rain, the dismal overcast prevented us from obtaining any really good pictures. We started today's hike, the yellow line in (Fig. 02), at the trailhead located at the 18.2 mile marker on Northshore Drive (Fig. 02).  The picture of the Bowl of Fire area seen in (Fig. 01) was taken looking northwest just as we rounded "hill 851" seen on (Fig. 02). The distance from the trailhead to the Bowl of Fire area is about 1.2 miles. The view from inside the "bowl" in (Fig. 03) is looking southeast, back towards the start of our hike. The yellow arrow in the pictures points to the approximate trailhead location behind "hill 851". Once we reached the 5-6 foot "spill-over" in the middle of the wash, we hiked the hillside to the left behind the area of dark conglomerate seen on the right of (Fig. 03). This route into the "bowl" was a little longer and required us to climb up approximately 50 feet above the wash (Fig. 04). Once we crested the ridge line, we were presented with some very nice views of the area (Figs. 05 & 06) as well as some unique sandstone outcrops (Fig. 07). (con't below)
                                 
(Fig. 03)
(Fig. 04)
(Fig. 05)
(Fig. 06)
(Fig. 07)
Trip Notes Continued: As we explored this area, there were several areas where the ground was covered with small "Indian pebbles" caused by hundreds of years of erosion (Fig. 08). Though the vegetation within this area is very sparse, we did fine several examples of Catclaw Acacia (Acacia-greggii) (Fig. 09) and some Notch Leaved Phacelia (Phacelia crenulata)  (Fig. 10), and  Desert Trumpet (Eriogonum inflatum (Fig. 11), in bloom. Reaching a high spot at the end of our walk (Fig. 12), we climbed back down into the wash and began to retrace out steps back to the trailhead. The total R/T distance for this hike was less than 3 miles. From here we drove a few more miles up the road to the Redstone Loop Trail/Picnic Area where we had a picnic lunch and captured this picture of a weather carved sandstone elephant (Fig. 13).
                              
(Fig. 08)
(Fig. 09)
(Fig. 10)
(Fig. 11)
(Fig. 12)
(Fig. 13)


Return to the Bowl of Fire Page [Bowl of Fire - Summary Page