The Lion King Theater at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, NV

This picture was shot on 01/30/2011 on our visit to Mandalay Bay casino to see The Lion King. This statue is the centerpiece in the lobby of the Lion King Theater at Mandalay Bay Casino. I thought it was so elegant that I couldn't resist taking a couple of pictures to add here to my "Art and Sculptures" of Las Vegas category. I even took one of Connie standing in front of it. Click the following link to view the picture collage I made and to read more about the show ... Lion King Pictures


Crustose Lichens, Redstone, NV

This picture was taken on 01/20/2011 while on a hike to the Redstone Loop Trail with the Henderson Heritage Park Senior Facility rock hounds. The Redstone Loop Trail is located at mile marker 27 along the North Shore Drive on the western side of Lake Mead, NV. Situated within an area called Redstone, the trail, at an elevation of 2,238 to 2,323 feet, is a short half-mile walk that surrounds several red sandstone outcroppings which are reminiscent of the Valley of Fire or Red Rock Canyon. I just love to find pictures like this which seem remind me of other images. Call me crazy, but when I first noticed these lichens, their shape immediately reminded me of an ‘old world’ map with all of the continents laid out flat.

Desert Holly (Atriplex hymenelytra)

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Picture Notes: With its small red berries, I found this plant to be quite beautiful. I photographed it on 01/20/2011 on a recent hike to eastern end of the Las Vegas Wash with the Henderson Heritage Park Senior Facility rock-hounds. As it was growing fully exposed on the side of the trail several hundred feet above the water, one would have to assume that it is a very hearty plant. 

Area Description: A natural wetlands area, the Las Vegas Wash is a tributary that channels stormwater, urban runoff, shallow groundwater and highly-treated wastewater into the Las Vegas Bay at Lake Mead. Approximately 2 percent of Lake Mead's water comes from the Wash., but more important is unique role it plays in the valley's ecological picture. Its natural wetlands and marshy qualities help polish impurities from the water flow. In addition, it is home to a variety of plant and animal species. Over the past 20 years its banks have suffered large-scale erosion and are in danger of further erosion which could eliminate the channel. Efforts are currently under way to strengthen the banks and expand the Wash. For more info see Wetlands Park Nature Preserve at

Description: Desert Holly (Atriplex hymenelytra) is a species of saltbush that is a perennial shrub native to the Southwestern United States and the Mojave Desert. This is a desert-dwelling shrub, reaches heights of between 1.5-3 feet. Although not a true holly, desert holly gets its name because its leaves look like holly. It is generally a rounded bush covered in distinctive reflective silver-gray, twisted, oblong, many-pointed leaves. The color is from salt left on their leaves, this helps reflect the light and therefore reduce the amount of water lost. The small reddish fruits are enclosed in disc-shaped bracteoles after flowering. It is a common component of shrub communities on alkaline and saline soils at low elevations in the Upper Sonoran (Mojave Desert Scrub) life zone.

Picture Notes: On 05/20/2015, I captured this picture of a Desert Holly growing right out of a rock in a wash on the Cliffs Hike at the China Ranch & Date Farm, south of Tecopa, Callifornia. This is only the second time I have spotted one of these plants in all of my years of hiking. The fact this area is extremely dry may account for its pinkish color and the fact that its leaves were very brittle.


Postscript: I give thanks to Jason R Eckberg, Environmental Biologist with the Southern Nevada Water Authority for providing me with the name of this plant. It is a Atriplex Hymenelytra, a species of saltbush commonly called the Desert Holly. This gray-white sub-shrub grows from Utah to southern California. This is a desert-dwelling shrub reaching heights of between 1.5-3 feet. It is generally a rounded bush covered in distinctive reflective silver-gray, twisted, oblong, many-pointed leaves. The fruits are enclosed in disc-shaped bracteoles after flowering. The toothed leaves and the small reddish fruits borne on the plant give it a passing resemblance to the unrelated European holly.


Nature’s Tiles

This picture was taken on 01/20/2011 on a daytrip to the Lovell Wash along Lake Mead’s North Shore Road. Veering off to the right, off the rough dirt road that winds through Lovell Wash, about a mile and a half into the wash as it heads toward the Anniversary Mine, are a series of rises and hills that make for easy climbing. Very near the top of the highest hill I found a river of stone that appeared to have once been a layer of mud, turned stone, that then at some point was broken like a smashed pane of glass, leaving thousands of shards looking like small pieces of Italian mosaic tiles. The photo below provides some context to this shot.