I captured these photos on a hiking journey to the Sandy Valley area of southern Nevada with the Heritage Park Senior Facility Rock Hounds on 27 January 2011. Even though I captured these silhouettes in color, after viewing I immediately felt they would look better in black and white. After some minor adjustments such as cropping and upping the exposure values, I converted them to Black and White Film mode in Paint Shop Pro. I have yet to decide which I like the most. Connie likes "Day's End" and I'm partial to the silhouette in the second photo, "The Hiker". If you would like to vote on the one you like best, send me the title of your favorite to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Picture Notes: On 04/05/2011 my cousin and I visited the Hoover Dam and the new by-pass bridge. The terrain bordering the walkway that leads from a parking area up to the Hoover Dam bypass bridge contained hundreds of these tiny, delicate flowers (Figs. 01-03), many seemingly growing right out of the rock. Even though we got lots of pictures of the dam and bridge, I thought seeing and capturing these were the find of the day.
The petals of the flowers are deep violet to blue-purple in color and up to a half inch long. It can produce a skin rash similar to that produced by poison ivy or poison oak. Notch-leaf Phacelia is a common component of desert vegetation communities during the spring. Its habitat is dry, well-drained sandy and gravelly soils on flats, in and along washes, on bajadas, and on moderate slopes into the middle-elevation mountains up to 7,000 feet from Nevada to California, Utah, and Arizona, and south into northwestern Mexico.
|I captured this picture in front of the Hotel Nipton on 07/27/2009 on a road trip to Laughlin Nevada via Nipton California and Searchlight Nevada. These plants were climbing the posts on the|
Milkweed is this bug's primary food source. However, when milkweed is scarce, it can shift from being a herbivore to a scavenger and predator. This insect is classified as a "true bug," with characteristic sucking mouthparts. Like all hemiptera, it feeds through a long mouthpart known as a rostrum.
The large milkweed bug adult is a 9–18 mm long insect. Mature adults are orange with black rhomboidal spots at both end of a body and a black band in the middle. Like monarchs, its bold orange and black warning colors protect it from predators. Their wingpads are visible and become more pronounced with each molt. Adult females have several black spots on rear part of their abdomen, while males have only one.
Adults that survived winter mate in May-June. During mating, female and male may become connected for up to 10 hours. Eggs are laid on seed pods or under a leaf. The average female lays 30 pale orange eggs in a day, in several batches during summer. Eggs change color, becoming more intensely orange toward hatching. This insect undergoes incomplete metamorphosis. Nymphs hatch after about 1 week and molt 5 times before becoming adults. Adults and nymphs feed on milkweed plant juices, seeds and occasionally on other plant juices. When their native plant is scarce, they may become scavengers and predators. After feeding on milkweed plant or seeds, the insects accumulate toxic glycosides in their bodies. This, combined with warning orange color, protects them against predators.
With Spring here once more, it's now time to head out and begin enjoying our pool area and the fine weather that Las Vegas is noted for. The beautiful landscaping and lush pool area was one of the main reasons we moved into this apartment home complex. Sitting by the pool always makes us feel like we are on vacation at some south Pacific island. Here is just another example of the palms gracing our pool area are the European Fan Palm. We must have at least 20-25 of these wonderful little palms, usually in clumps of 4-5 palms. These pictures were taken on various pool visits over the past several years.
DESCRIPTION: The European Fan Palm Tree (Chamaerops humilis) is also known as Mediterranean Fan Palm, Dwarf Fan Palm, and Palmito. It is native to the Mediterranean region of Europe. It is a shrub-like clumping palm, with several stems growing from a single base reaching a height of only 7-10 feet with a width of about 10 feet. The trunks are covered in old leaf bases and brown fibers, can reach 9-12 inches in diameter. They rarely grow higher than 10 feet and can take 10-15 years to achieve 7ft.
Taken on 06/02/2011, here are some pictures of the magnificent, towering Mexican Fan Palm trees that surround our pool area at The Players Club. I believe this complex is about 22 years old, and these beautiful mature palms certainly reflect that. Almost all of them are between 80 and 100 feet, the maximum height of the Mexican Fan Palm.
The Mexican fan palm is not self-cleaning and often has a skirt of turned-down brown dead fronds. For this reason it is often called the Petticoat palm. Fortunately for us, property management hires someone to come in every year and climb these monsters and trim off the dead fronds. As there are about 13 of them scattered about the pool and spa area, this is quite a job and necessitates shutting down the pool area for at least a full day.
Every spring we get to enjoy these tropical like iris that are scattered about our pool area. I took these pictures on 06/01/2011. As each clump of these plants seems to contain dozens upon dozens of buds, they appear to stay in bloom for nearly two months. They are so beautiful and delicate that I couldn’t resist capturing some close-ups to add to this gallery for permanent viewing. I want to thank Kate Kennedy Butler from Glover, Vermont for helping me to identify this wonderful flower.
I took this picture this morning, 06/01/2011, while spending some time out at our pool. It was a beautiful morning, if yet still a little breezy. I’ve decided to start taking my camera with me whenever we go out to the pool in order to get in a little more practice in improving my picture taking skills. Today I concentrated on taking pictures of the various Mimosa trees that surround our pool area. These trees continue blooming for up to two months and we absolutely love them; however the pool maintenance people hate them. Their flowers are continually blowing off and dropping into the pool making keeping it ‘clean’ quite a chore.
DESCRIPTION: Albizia julibrissin, a species of legume in the genus Albizia, is known by a wide variety of common names, such as Persian silk tree, or pink siris, it is most commonly referred to as silk tree or mimosa in the United States. It is native to Iran and Central China. It has a single trunk with smooth gray bark. Up to 20 inches long, its green leaves are alternate, bipinnately compound with 10 to 25 pinnae, each with 40 to 60 leaflets. Leaflets are oblong, very oblique, 1/4" to 1/2" long. It has a fruit pod that is 5" to 7" long, 1" wide and light gray brown in color.
Some more pool shots. (above) View looking towards the pool from the outside spa. (below left) the area beneath one of the large Mimosa trees where we usually sit with our neighbors. (below right) A view looking towards the water lagoons and the Legacy golf course.
|Destination: Late Night Trailhead|
Distance from Point of Origin: 21 miles.
Estimated (One Way) Travel Time: 35 minutes.
Directions: From the Stratosphere Casino, head southwest on South Las Vegas Blvd go 1.7 miles and turn right onto Spring Mountain Rd. Go .7 miles and turn left to merge onto I-15 South. Travel 5.5 miles and take exit 33 to merge onto NV-160 W/Blue Diamond Rd/SR-160 (aka Pahrump Highway) west toward Pahrump. Heading west on NV-160 go past SR-159 (West Charleston Blvd) the turn to Red Rock Canyon. The trailhead is located on the right side of NV-160, about 4.7 miles past the intersection with NV-159. This trailhead is not in the fee area.
General Description: The Late Night Trailhead is part of the extensive Cottonwood Valley Trail system located within Red Rock Canyon Recreation Lands. Though most of the trails were designed as mountain biking trails, they provide great hiking opportunities. The Late Night loop trail around the hill from the trailhead in the parking area is a relatively easy 3.5 mile hike that provides some spectacular views of the Wilson Cliffs along the west side of Cottonwood Valley. Many people argue that this place is the best reason to bring a mountain bike along to Las Vegas, or rent one once you're in town. Even though the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area to the north, commonly known as Red Rocks, encompasses 197,000 acres within the Mojave Desert, this southern tip in the Cottonwood Valley of the "Recreation Lands", outside the fee area, is the only place that allows mountain biking.
Special Attraction or Points of Interest: The biking trails here are the best in Los Vegas. There are over 125 miles of interconnecting single-track and an 11 mile NORBA race loop here. Portions of these trails are thought to have been created by the many wild burros in the area. The Wilson Cliff's, located immediately to the west of the trail system, offer amazing views.
Primary Activity: Biking
Secondary Activities: Hiking/Photographing.
Elevation: 3,965 Feet
Best Time To Visit: Available for visitation and hiking year round, the best time to make this hike would be in the cooler months of Fall, Winter and Spring.
Estimated Round-trip Time: 2-3 hours depending upon how much hiking and picture taking you do.
|More Info On the Late Night Trailhead: http://www.birdandhike.com/Hike/Red_Rocks/Trailheads/LateNite/_LateNte.htm|
|09/27/2012 Trip Notes: After a failed attempt to visit Lovell Canyon, due to road construction, we decided to hike the Spanish Trail and Late Night Trailhead in Cottonwood Valley. Having hiked here several times in the past, several of us headed west, picking out one of the canyons in the Wilson Cliffs as a destination point while others in the group did some hiking and rock-hounding along the Old Spanish Trail. For a detailed map and more information on the hikes in Cottonwood Valley and along the Wilson Cliffs, go to my page Daytrip - Wilson Cliffs & Cottonwood Valley.Unfortunately, the many ‘cross-washes’ in the desert terrain became too much for us and the allotted time we had been given, and we had to head back before reaching our goal. The hike however, was very enjoyable and provided us with some nice color and great views, as evidenced by the photos in (Fig. 01 & 14), as well as the opportunity to see a variety of desert flora and wildlife.|
|Below (Figs. 02 thru 07), give you an idea of some of the desert flora and color that we experienced today. I believe (Fig. 02) is a species of the Desert Monkey Flower. The bush in the middle (Fig. 03) is Desert Lavender. I think (Fig. 04) is a patch of Goldfields. (Fig. 05) is Globe Mallow. The yellow weed in (Fig. 06), that appears to be everywhere this year, is a Manybristle Chinchweed (Pectis papposa). The rock in (Fig. 07) appears to be Yolk Lichens (Acarospora spp.).|
|Now for some of the other desert life that we encountered. (Fig. 08) shows one of the dozens of White-lined Sphinx Moth caterpillars that we encountered throughout today’s hiking. The middle picture (Fig. 09) is just one of the beautiful butterflies that, though they appeared to be just everywhere, very seldom landed on anything. I’m still trying to identify the spider in (Fig. 10). If you look carefully, you will find a grasshopper sitting on one of the Globe Mallow cups (Fig. 11). The monster in (Fig. 12) appears to be a Great Basin Fence Lizard. In the center of the final picture (Fig. 14), the "V" between the two mountains right above my fellow hiking partner Tom, is the location of the canyon that we attempted to hike to. Maybe another day!|
05/03/2012 Trip Notes: After a failed attempt to reach Black Velvet canyon at the base of the cliffs, we spent the rest of the time hiking the hills surrounded by the Late Night Trail. John and I hiked back from partway across Cottonwood Valley, then up and over the three ridges back to the trailhead at the parking area. The rest of the group hiked the ridge from the parking area and the trails that circled the ridge.
|The next four views were shot from the ridgeline, high above the trailhead and parking area. The first shot is looking south towards the trailhead and parking area – that’s out van parked at the left side of the parking lot. The second view is looking towards the a southwest view of Cottonwood Valley and the Old Spanish Trail that we hike earlier in the morning with the Mt. Potosi Range in the background. The third picture is a view looking west towards the Wilson Cliffs. The fourth and final picture in this grouping is looking North, back out over portion of the Cottonwood Valley that John and I hiked, with the Bonnie Springs Ranch (middle left) and the Red Rock Conservation Area in the far background.|
Here are a couple of pictures that we took as we hiked across the valley in the above picture. Note what appears to be a fossilized shell embedded in the rock in the middle picture. The last shot is a picture of John resting after we reached the summit.
|Just a few hundred yards out from the east bound trailhead, a look back provides a beautiful view southwest towards Potosi Mountain or Mt. Potosi as it’s more often called. At 8,514 feet this is one of the higher mountains in the Spring Mountain range. As you can see, the topography is quite complex as it is surrounded by high limestone cliffs on three sides. Most known as the site of the 1942 plane crash into the northeast side of the mountain that killed Carol Lombard, there are a number large caves and mines, including the famous Potosi Mine – a producer of silver, lead and zinc, it has been estimated that this mine grossed close to 4.5 million dollars over the years. As can be seen in the picture on the right, today its peak is covered with several radio and TV broadcast towers (click picture to enlarge).|
After taking the southern route from the parking area and rounding a rather barren hillside, one is immediately confronted with one of the most colorful and beautiful vistas available anywhere within the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Roughly a 1-1/2 to 2 mile hike through the valley shown in the top picture will take you to the base of the cliffs, Mt. Wilson, Oak Creek and Juniper Canyon.
04/21/2011Trip Notes: On today's visit I hiked about 1/2 of the 3-1/2 mile loop trail as part of a daytrip with the rock hounds from the Heritage Park Senior Facility.
From the parking area we headed east around the hill. Within minutes we were confronted with these two spectacular views.
Once again we were witness to nature’s beauty with a variety of wildflowers, butterflies and cactus. One thing I can say for sure, all of the mountain bikers that passed us were all going much too fast to see these glimpses of beauty.
(OPTION 1) Each show is designed to run automatically in place, without leaving the current browser window. If the show is not already running, just click the large "Play" button in the middle of the picture and let it run.
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The slideshow above contains 61 pictures that were taken in and around the Cottonwood Valley and along the Late Night Trail during my last five visits here.