Friday

Keyhole Canyon Hike

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Destination: Keyhole Canyon
Distance from Point of Origin: 39 miles.
Estimated (One Way) Travel Time: About an hour.
Directions: From the Stratosphere Casino head northeast on Las Vegas Blvd about 3 miles and bear right to merge onto US-515/93/95 south towards Boulder City. Follow US-93/95 for 17 miles and then merge onto US-95 South (Veterans Memorial Hwy) toward Searchlight/Laughlin. Drive south towards Searchlight for 15.5 miles and turn left (east) onto an unnamed dirt road (Keyhole Access Road). Keyhole Access Road is 5.8 miles south of Hwy 165 to Nelson, and 3.2 miles south of El Dorado Valley Road (the last named road) between mile markers 42 and 41. Watch for a highway sign indicating a road intersection. The road goes through the barbwire fence at a white cattle guard with a "designated roadway" sign. Go 2.1 miles on this rough, bouncy road to a T-intersection, between the second and third sets of high-tension power lines. At the T-intersection, turn right onto the powerline road (a private road; note the sign about public use), and drive south for 1.8 miles to the first of three roads that fork off to the left. After taking this road it’s less than 0.35 miles from the petroglyphs and the entrance to the canyon.

General Description: Keyhole Canyon is an amazing archaeological area with many petroglyphs and a few pictographs. Keyhole Canyon cuts into a ridge of hard granitic rock that appears to have jutted right out of the desert just yesterday. Just east of the parking area, the mouth of the canyon is about 150 feet wide. However, just several hundred feet in it narrows down to a 15 foot wide, 50 foot tall water-sculpted and polished pour-over that must be spectacular during the rainy season. Vegetation in the surrounding area is mostly creosote bush scrub with low-desert shrubs and grasses, including yucca, cholula, and red barrel cactus.
Special Attraction or Points of Interest:  The main attraction for this site are the many petroglyphs and pictographs. In most petroglyphs sites, the rock art is fairly close to the ground, but here they are unusual because so many are very high on the cliffs.
Primary Activity: Rock-hounding.
Secondary Activities: Photography

Elevation: 2,888 feet.
Best Time To Visit: Cooler months of spring and fall.
Difficulty: Easy.
Facilities: None.
Estimated Round-trip Time: Three to three and 1/2 hours.
More Info On Keyhole Canyon: http://www.birdandhike.com/Glyphs/LAME/Keyhole/_Keyhole.htm





11/17/2011 Trip Notes: We made a lunch stop here on our return home from our second attempt to reach the Ireteba Peaks Wilderness Area. Having shot quite a few pictures on our first visit here last month, I was only able to capture a couple of new ones without duplicating previous pictures.

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Birthday Boy
After lunch we had an impromptu “birthday” gathering for Bill, our faithful weekly driver. After singing happy birthday Linda, our trip organizer and chaperone, passed around a bin of chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies for everyone to share.


10/27/2011 Trip Notes: I was amazed at how many petroglyphs adorned the canyon’s entrance and walls. Though most of the petroglyphs are geometric symbols rather than representations of physical things, similar to those found at Grapevine Canyon, there are a several that depict identifiable etchings.

The two pictures below depict the left and right side outcroppings at the mouth of the canyon. As you can see, they both just appear to rise straight up out of the surrounding desert sands.
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These picture below shows one of the members of our group having lunch before we call it a day and head back to Henderson. Both, this shot and the one below it, were taken from inside the mouth of the canyon’s entrance looking outward toward the desert and the western mountain range. You can see the solar energy plant that runs along the west side of Rt 95 in the background of the second photo.
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The pictures below, from left to right - top to bottom, contain a wide variety of identifiable etchings such as lizards, big horn sheep, a herd of big horn sheep, human figures, birds, and more sheep.
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The first picture below was taken at from a point about halfway into the canyon. Notice the opening just left of center. The second picture was taken at the base of this solid granite 50-foot chasm that has been carved out by centuries of water pouring down from the wash in the plateau above. If you look closely at the Google Earth image above, you can see that there is a very long wash above this waterfall-like chasm. I would love to visit this place after a few days of heavy rainfall.
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Wednesday

The Beauty of the Nevada Desert by Kenneth Clarke

Slideshow ImageBack in early 2008 I put together a slideshow of pictures from places in and around the Las Vegas area that Connie and I had visited either together, or with friends and relatives, over the previous five years. I created it using a slideshow program called ProShow Gold. The only problem was, that by the time I finished I got so carried away with adding pictures, it was more than 20 minutes long and 674MB in size, too big to send to anyone. Back then it was even to large to upload to YouTube. Recently I learned that YouTube is now accepting larger slideshows, and I decided to add it there so I could share it with the people I originally created it for, as well as the general public. Click here to go to YouTube and view it … The Beauty of the Nevada Desert. Hope you enjoy!

Saturday

Christmas Tree Pass

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Destination: Christmas Tree Pass.
Distance from Point of Origin: This depends upon which end of the access road you enter from. Though you pass Christmas Tree Road on the Western side, it is suggested that you continue on to the Southern entrance, closer to Grapevine canyon. The latter would be 92 miles.
Estimated (One Way) Travel Time: 1 hour and 35 minutes.
Directions: From the Stratosphere Casino head northeast on Las Vegas Blvd about 4 miles and turn right onto US-515/93/95 south towards Boulder City. Follow US-93/95 for 17 miles and then merge onto US-95 South (Veterans Memorial Hwy) toward Searchlight/ Laughlin/ Needles. Follow for 55.5 miles and then turn left onto NV-163 East. Follow this for approximately 13 miles and turn left onto Christmas Tree Pass Road. Pay close attention, as it is not very well marked. Driving in about 2 miles on this very flat dirt road, you will find a turn left toward Grapevine Canyon. Continuing pass this turn will take you on the 13 mile drive through Christmas Tree Pass and back onto Rt. 95 for the return trip home.

General Description: Christmas Tree Pass is a pass that leads over the Newberry Mountains in southern Nevada. They are located due east of Cal-Nev-Ari. This scenic drive is roughly fifteen miles in length and is a very enjoyable ride offering some fine sweeping views into Arizona and the Colorado River valley down below. Once you reach the western side of the pass you are presented with sprawling views of the Mojave Desert. The pass gets its name from the scatter of pinyon and juniper trees along the route, some of which people have decorated with cans, bottles and shiny pieces of metal.
Special Attraction or Points of Interest: Other than some very unique geologic rock formations, the only special attraction here are the hundreds of petroglyphs found at Grapevine Canyon.
Primary Activity: Hiking and Photographing. WARNING: This area is home to several kinds of rattlesnakes who leave their dens in the spring to hunt after a period of long winter hibernation. Be careful where you place hands and feet and listen for their warning buzz or rattle-like sounds.
Secondary Activities: Rock-hounding

Elevation: At the Southern end of Christmas Tree Pass Road the elevation is around 1,978 feet. The entrance to Grapevine Canyon is roughly 2,450 feet. As you pass through Christmas Tree Pass you will reach an elevation of almost 4,000 feet. The peak of Spirit Mountain, off to the North as you climb the pass is 5,639 feet. See the map below.
Best Time To Visit: Open year-round, the cooler months of Spring and Fall are the best times to visit. Spring visits offer more opportunity to see wild flowers and blossoming Joshua trees and yuccas. Take note that when visiting in winter, hese mountains do get snow.
Difficulty: Hiking or climbing any of the surrounding mountains and peaks would have to be in the moderate to difficult category.
Facilities: None.
Estimated Round-trip Time: 4 to 4-1/2 hours. Coupled with a hike up Grapevine Canyon this could be an all day trip. Although much of this road is like driving on a washboard, with occasional deep ruts and protruding rocks, careful and slow driving will allow a passenger car to traverse the full length of the road, however, a high clearance vehicle is recommended. With occasional stops for picture taking, it took me two hours to drive this 15 mile stretch.
More Info On Christmas Tree Pass: http://www.birdandhike.com/Wilderness/SpiritMt/_Spirit.htm
Christmas Tree Pass

Area Description
: Christmas Tree Pass and the road known as Christmas Tree Pass Road, is the gateway to two wilderness areas in the Newberry Mountains in southern Nevada. The first being the 33,518 acre Spirit Mountain Wilderness Area encompasing Spirit Mountain, considered the center of creation for all Yuman speakers, and is sacred to several Native American tribes of the region. The second, the 7,761 acre wilderness area that, in addition to Sacatone Canyon and the Granite Outcrops, is best know for Grapevine Canyon, the site of one of the most prolific rock art findings in Nevada.For more detailed information and pictures on these two areas, click the links below.


10/20/2011 Trip Notes: Unable to stop and take pictures along Christmas Tree Pass Rd. due to time constraints on a visit to Grapevine Canyon with the rock hounds, I decided to take a chance and drive my 1992 Cadillac up this road to get some pictures on my return from spending the week in Laughlin. While by itself, Christmas Tree Pass Road isn't what I would call a "destination drive," coupled with a visit to Grapevine Canyon to view and photograph the many hundreds of ancient petroglyphs, the inherent scenery and unique geology certainly make it a very worth while side-trip. In addition to the color photographs I shot, I decided to take several pictures in black and white, in the tradition of Ansel Adams.
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This picture reminded me of two skull-like heads, one on top of the other in the center of the picture. Probably just my wild imagination, but to me the one on top almost appears like a the skull of a baboon with deep eyes and a protruding nose. The one below it looks like a “mummy” head.

The picture on the right looked like some kind of ancient, panther-like“gargoyle” atop a ledge, guarding the canyon from foreign invaders.

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Along both sides of the pass you will find Pinyon and Juniper trees, blackbrush, quite a bit of yucca, cholla, and other species mixed in. The hillsides are rocky with rounded granitic outcrops. In the rocky canyons and washes at the base of Spirit Mountain, the vegetation is a juniper forest with a diverse flora (including paperbag bush, catclaw acacia, buckhorn cholla, a variety of composite shrubs, bitterbrush, yucca, nolina, buckwheat, shrub live oak, desert willow, pinyon pine, wax current, rabbitbrush, hedgehog cactus and barrel cactus. The lower elevations are much less diverse and more typical of Mojave Desert Scrub (creosote bush, white bursage, and other shrubs) In the washes (especially at Grapevine Canyon) there are desert willow, cottonwood trees, grapevines, common reed, and lots of rabbitbrush.
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The area is know for its huge monolithic granite outcrops and older metamorphic rocks that appear nearly everywhere. The granites date from about 1.4 billion years ago and the metamorphic rocks are composed of gneiss and schist's that date from about 1.7 billion years ago. These rock types are generally separated by natural faults.
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History of Spirit Mountain: Spirit Mountain, a sacred place to Indian tribes in Southern Nevada, has become the first Indian land in the state listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The mountain, considered the beginning of creation, is so sacred to 10 Indian tribes in Nevada, California, Arizona and Mexico that background from its application for the national listing is not available to the public, even through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Tribal elders call the mountain "The place where shamans dream." The tribes consider it a place where ancient ancestors emerged into this world and has been so significant to Indian spiritual leaders for thousands of years that they were reluctant to allow federal archaeologists to put its secrets on paper. The mountain, called "Avi Kwa ' Ame," rises from the desert floor near the Colorado River and is capped by white granite bluffs.The tribes attached to Spirit Mountain include Hualapai, Mojave, Havasupai, Yavapai, Chemuavi, Quechan, Maricopa and the Hopi. The Pai Pai and Kumeyaay tribes from Mexico and Southern California, respectively, also consider the mountain sacred. It's a significant landmark to the Hopi, who can see it from the Arizona mesas. The Mojave tribe is considered the mountain's caretaker.
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Monday

Pot Roast – Blue Plate Special

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For whatever reason, I always seem to enjoy looking at photos of food taken by other photographers and suddenly realized that I had a few of my own, so why not create a new category to begin displaying them. The above picture was taken on 10/17/2011 at Harlow’s restaurant inside the Golden Nugget casino in Laughlin, Nevada. We went there to try their the 3-6 p.m. blue-plate special on the recommendation of a waiter. One of three daily specials, the Pot-roast Dinner special, at only $5.99 with a complementary glass of wine, was phenomenal . We both agreed that it was the most tender pot roast we’ve ever eaten.

Sunday

Sunday Brunch - At Harlow's

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On 10/16/2011 we headed over to the Golden Nugget for the Sunday Champagne Brunch at Harlow’s restaurant. Because his has been voted the best Champagne Brunch in Laughlin we thought we would give it a try and boy were we glad we did. With more than three dozen items to choose from, we sampled the frogs legs, escargot in a garlic butter sauce, crab legs, sliced breast of duck in a cherry reduction sauce, the largest shrimp I’ve ever seen on a buffet, made to order waffles w/ice cream, strawberries and whipped cream, steamed asparagus, prime rib, and cherries jubilee for dessert. It was an unbelievable feast. For the picture above, I used a tilt-shift effect to better emphasize the crab, shrimp and oysters.

Friday

Grapevine Canyon Hike

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Click the following link to view the updated page on my 10/13/2011 hike to Grapevine Canyon with the rock-hounds from the Henderson Heritage Park Senior Center … Grapevine Canyon

Saturday

Lobster Roll - A Taste of Maine

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Back on 10/08/2011, we went to Planet Hollywood on the Strip to try out the relatively new restaurant, “Lobster ME”. Their signature item is advertised as the world’s best lobster roll. Large pieces of lobster meat are prepared in their 'secret' version of the traditional fashion before being generously layered into locally made, freshly toasted rolls and topped with the meat of three claws. Though we both would have preferred a lobster roll with a little more mayo, there was no denying that it was filled with lobster meat and was without a doubt the best lobster roll we’ve had since leaving New England. Not cheap at $20 each, they still made for a very enjoyable dinner.

Friday

Rock Still Life #007

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Piece #007To buy this one-of-a-kind piece of Table-top Rock Art, go to Ken's Eco-Art Gallery.  This website provides purchase information for various pictures and art pieces I've created over the past few years. 
Description: This table-top rock collage was created from a collection of rock specimens gathered on various hikes with the rock hounds from the Henderson Heritage Park Senior Facility. Most of these hikes were in and around the mountain ranges of Clark County and Southern Nevada. Before I started making these still life's, I just put everything in a pile with no regard as to where they were collected; the result being that the rock specimens found in most still-life's come from a variety of hiking locations.. Each collage has a felt-like base made of Eco-fi, a high quality polyester fiber made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. The triptych below provides a left-side view, frontal view, and a right-side view.

Rock Still Life #7

Nipton Road Hike

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Click the following link to view the updated page on my 10/06/2011 hike to the Wee Thump Joshua Tree Wilderness area along Nipton Road … Wee Thump Joshua Tree Wilderness Area
 

Thursday

Rock Still Life #006

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Piece #006To buy this one-of-a-kind piece of Table-top Rock Art, go to Ken's Eco-Art Gallery.  This website provides purchase information for various pictures and art pieces I've created over the past few years.   

Description: This table-top rock collage was created from a collection of rock specimens gathered on various hikes with the rock hounds from the Henderson Heritage Park Senior Facility. Most of these hikes were in and around the mountain ranges of Clark County and Southern Nevada. Before I started making these still life's, I just put everything in a pile with no regard as to where they were collected; the result being that the rock specimens found in most still-life's come from a variety of hiking locations. Each collage has a felt-like base made of Eco-fi, a high quality polyester fiber made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles.The triptych below provides a left-side view, frontal view, and a right-side view.

Rock Still Life #6

Wednesday

Rock Still Life #005

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Piece #005To buy this one-of-a-kind piece of Table-top Rock Art, go to Ken's Eco-Art Gallery.  This website provides purchase information for various pictures and art pieces I've created over the past few years. 

Description: This table-top rock collage was created from a collection of rock specimens gathered on various hikes with the rock hounds from the Henderson Heritage Park Senior Facility. Most of these hikes were in and around the mountain ranges of Clark County and Southern Nevada. Before I started making these still life's, I just put everything in a pile with no regard as to where they were collected; the result being that the rock specimens found in most still-life's come from a variety of hiking locations. Each collage has a felt-like base made of Eco-fi, a high quality polyester fiber made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles.

Still Life #005

Tuesday

Rock Still Life #004

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Piece #004

Description: This table-top rock collage was created from a collection of rock pieces I gathered on a hike through Columbia Pass, just north of the Table Mountain range with the rock hounds from the Heritage Park Senior Facility on 01/27/2011. They were collected from three different mine sites along Sandy Valley Road a few miles east of Sandy Valley. Each collage has a felt-like base made of Eco-fi, a high quality polyester fiber made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles.

Rock Still Life #4

Monday

Rock Still Life #003

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Piece #003To buy this one-of-a-kind piece of Table-top Rock Art, go to Ken's Eco-Art Gallery.  This website provides purchase information for various pictures and art pieces I've created over the past few years. 

Description
: This table-top rock collage was created from a collection of rock pieces I gathered in the wash that parallels Lovell Canyon Road, about a mile south of the Lovell Canyon Trailhead on a hike with the rock hounds from the Heritage Park Senior Facility on 04/28/2011. Each collage has a felt-like base made of Eco-fi, a high quality polyester fiber made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles.

Rock Still Life #3

Sunday

Rock Still Life #002

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Piece #002To buy this one-of-a-kind piece of Table-top Rock Art, go to Ken's Eco-Art Gallery.  This website provides purchase information for various pictures and art pieces I've created over the past few years. 

Description: Though I'm not sure where I picked up the base, the majority of the rock pieces of this table-top rock collage were gathered near the Cresent Mine off Cresent Peak Road on a hike with the rock hounds from the Heritage Park Senior Facility on 02/24/2011. Each collage has a felt-like base made of Eco-fi, a high quality polyester fiber made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles.

Rock Still Life #2

Index for Category – Artistic Compositions

Sloan Canyon - Site Petroglyph Photos

Though relatively little is known about this area, the Sloan Canyon Petroglyph Site is one of the most significant cultural resources in Southern Nevada. Archeologists believe its 318 recorded rock art panels with approximately 1,200 individual petroglyphs were created by native cultures from the Archaic to the historic era. Experts believe the earliest of these were made by ancestral Puebloans in the Archaic period, but other tribes may have continued to add petroglyphs in later years. Archeological evidence suggests resources within Sloan Canyon may have been used as long ago as 7,000 years. For more information on Sloan Canyon, click the following link ... Sloan Canyon National Conservation AreaThe 50 plus pictures below are a representational selection of what I feel were some of the more interesting examples of the rock art I've seen at Sloan Canyon.











































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