2013 - The Year In Review

2013 Year End Collage

First, I would like to thank those of you who have taken the time over this past year for showing your appreciation of my efforts to share our hikes, either by offering your personal praise or by providing email thanks. As of the end of this year I now have over 115 persons on a regular email list for postings, and to date there have been over 61,777 page views of this site. In recent months, I have even begun to receive emails from people I don't know who have found various pages as the result of doing searches on the Internet. It also pleases me to know that many of you have indicated that you are able to share these posts with family members and friends. It makes me feel that my efforts are worthwhile. My sincere thanks to all!

Over the past several weeks I've been reviewing the hundreds, if not thousands, of pictures I captured during 2013 on my various hiking excursions with the rock-hounds from Henderson’s Heritage Park Senior Facility and my friend Harvey Smith. Because not all of my hikes are with the rock-hounds, who only hike in Nevada, some of these pictures were taken in northern Arizona and around some areas surrounding Lake Tahoe. For display purposes, I decided to group them into the following basic categories:
01-Desert Landscapes, 02-Desert Foliage, 03-Desert Wildlife, 04-Rock Art, 05-Nevada Mines, 06-Trees & Wood Textures, 07-Relics of the Past, 08-Rocks & Fossils, 09-Desert Water, 10-Mountain Landscapes, 11-Places & Structures, 12-People & Faces, 13-B&W and Other Effects.
In aorder to keep this page smaller so it would load faster, I chose to only display a single picture from each category to peak interest. To view additional pictures in any category, simply click on the link below each feature picture and you will be taken to another page with additional pictures and collages. In addition, I have provided a link directly below each picture description that will take you to the specific daytrip/hiking post during which the picture was taken.. As a result, this year-end summary is a compilation of more than 160 of my favorite photos, selected for your viewing pleasure. I hope you enjoy.

01-Desert Landscapes: I often stand in awe at the many diverse landscapes and geological formations that can be found throughout the state of Nevada. It seems that every area I visit has its own unique characteristics that make it special. Trying to capture the essence of an area in a landscape photo can often be quite challenging, however, when successful, also quite rewarding. If it seems like a lot of the pictures in this category come from the Valley of Fire State Park, it's because this park offers some one of the most vivid, colorful, photogenic landscapes in the entire state.
Image Title Bar 09 Gilbraltar Rock
Learn more about this Daytrip/Hike: Valley of Fire Trip Notes for 01/01/2013
Click here to view 14 more Desert Landscape pictures ... Desert Landscapes (con't)

02-Desert Foliage: Captured during hikes to more than forty plus locations over this past year, I have divided this grouping of various desert plants and flowers into two groups; Plants & Wildflowers and Cactus.  Though not always easy, and not always successful, I always make an effort on each of my hikes to find some kind of color, whether it be in the form of rock formations, trees, cactus, plants or flowers to “spruce up” the photo essays that I create and post for each location.  I’m sure that those of you who are not part of my local hiking group find it hard to believe that in the harsh environment of the dry and arid Nevada desert, one can even find anything growing at all, let alone things that offer such a variety of beautiful color. This being the eighth year of a prolonged drought, I found that it was much harder to find many of the plants and wildflowers that I have captured in past years, including many cacti. This year I encountered many drought tolerant cacti that were showing the last signs of holding on. Hopefully, we will get a season of some much needed rain soon.
Image Title Bar 15 Beard-tougue Penstemon
Click here to view 12 more Flower pictures... Desert Foliage (con't) - Plants & Wildflowers; 
Click here to view 5 more pictures ... Desert Foliage (con't) - Cactus

03-Desert Wildlife: Over the course of the year, my hikes take me anywhere from the low desert and its alluvial plains to high mountain ridges and plateaus. Each of these areas provides its own unique opportunities to spot wildlife indigenous to that area. The problem is trying to capture some of them. First, there is the fact that because most of my hikes are with a group, there is often more noise than I would like. Next there is the matter of having the right lens attached (wide angle vs telephoto) when an opportunity presents itself. Finally there is the subject itself. Many of these animals and insects are quite skittish when it comes to humans, and quite speedy. Over the course of the year I've spotted many forms of wildlife, such as foxes, coyotes, long-eared jackrabbits, numerous birds, etc., that are just “gone” before I even get the chance to focus on them. Then there are the typical problems of not having enough lighting, too slow of a lens, lack of a tripod, etc. all which often lead to poor photo quality. Even when I am lucky enough to get off a shot, it is often too blurry or out of focus. So, when I do get pictures, such as the one below that are worth viewing, I consider myself quite lucky.
Image Title Bar 23 Family Portrait
Learn more about this Daytrip/Hike: Wheeler Pass Road
Click here to view 17 more  Wildlife pictures ... Desert Wildlife (con't)

04-Desert Rock Art: Many of the sights that we visit are actually noted for providing the opportunity to view desert art in the form of petroglyphs and pictographs left by native inhabitant's hundreds if not thousands of years ago. Quite often they are worn or deteriorated due to weathering and aging, and sometimes even defaced by persons who have no idea of their historical significance. Even though many times these ancient etchings appear cryptic and quite confusing, there are also many times when they offer recognizable figures that appear to be trying to tell a story. I find them all quite fascinating. Because I have visited many of these sights in the past, I have relatively few new pictures to add here.
Learn more about this Daytrip/Hike: Arrow Canyon Hike
                                    Click here to view 2 more Rock Art pictures... Desert Rock Art (con't)

05-Nevada’s Mines: Still today, the state of Nevada is the largest producer of gold in the country. At times over the last 150 years, it was also the largest producer of lead, zinc and silver, leaving literally hundreds of deserted and abandoned mine shafts and audits scattered all over its many mountain ranges. As many of these locations require 4WD access, I have explored most of them with my friend, Harvey Smith. Though we often find what appear to be the small diggings by individual prospectors, many of the locations we have visited were actual mining towns or processing sites that supported upwards of 2,000 people in their heyday. Over the years, many of these mines/sites produced hundreds of million of dollars worth of gold and silver. Some times these mines are fenced or “barred”, preventing entry due to unsafe conditions. For the ones that are open, and knowing the potential dangers, we always try to limit exploration to within only a few feet of their entrances. Exploring these sites and trying to understand the living conditions and hardships of the prospectors and miners that created them, can be an interesting journey into the past.
1-EFP-Mine Site
Image Title Bar 30 Unidentified Mine
                            Learn more about this Daytrip/Hike: Side Trips Along Wheeler Pass Road
                                            Click here to view 3 more Mine pictures ...
 Nevada's Mines (con't)

06-Trees and Other Wood Textures: For some reason I just love capturing the shapes, textures and patterns found in trees, bark, roots, stumps and wood. Not only do their unique textures and patterns offer interesting and visually pleasing subjects, they cause one to relieve their history by letting your mind travel back in time to their origin, which in the case of some bristle cone pines, can be more than 4,000 years.
Image Title Bar 29 Bullseye
Learn more about this Daytrip/Hike: Side Trips Along Wheeler Pass Road
Click here to view 7 more Tree pictures ... Trees and Other Wood Textures (Con't) 

07-Relics of The Past: Over the course of the year I visited several old mining ghost towns (such as Delamar NV) as well as a few (like Goodsprings, Goldfield, Tonopah, Pioche, and Chloride AZ). Many of these locations have mining histories that go back more than 150 years. Each of these locations offers many old mines, ruins, historic buildings and sites that provide for some very interesting exploration.
Image Title Bar 28 Chloride Truck
Learn more about this Daytrip/Hike: Our Day With Patrick Adams
Click here to view 11 more Relic pictures ... Relics of the Past (con't)

08-Rocks and Fossils:  Though the group I hike with is called “the rock-hounds”, and my main interest is taking photographs, it doesn't preclude me from having an interest in the geology of surrounding rock formations and from collecting an occasional rock or two. In addition seeing many beautiful formations, this year I was lucky enough to find several rocks containing fossil specimens of shells and other evidence of the ancient seabed that once covered this entire area.
Image Title Bar 08 Yucca Peak Fossil Beds
Learn more about this Daytrip/Hike Yucca Peak Fossil Trail
Click here to view 7 more Rock & Fossil pictures ... Rocks and Fossils (con't)

09-Desert Water:  As I’m sure many of you are aware, we are entering our 10th year of a long-term drought, making it harder and harder to find evidence of water in the lower desert and plateau areas. This has also had a devastating effect on animal and plant life. Up until the end of June this past year, we had only received 0.27 inches of rain. Even though the late summer/early fall monsoons brought us nearly three inches of rain, because everything is so hard and dry, it quickly runs off, having very little long term effect. To give you a better idea of how severe this drought has bee, over the past decade, Lake Mead has dropped more than 100 feet to a capacity level of 47 percent. One of my hiking partners jokes about the fact that, if there is water to be found on a hike, I can find it. Though some of the places we visit are known for their “natural springs”, there seems to be less and less water visible each time we visit. Many of the washes we hike that used to provide signs of water almost year-round are now dry most of the year, only showing signs of water in the early spring months or the day after a heavy rainfall.
Image Title Bar 07 Lake Harriet
Learn more about this Daytrip/Hike: Spring Mountain Ranch
Click here to view 14 more Water pictures... Desert Water (con't)

10-Mountain Views & Landscapes: Most people don’t realize that Nevada is the most mountainous state in the U.S., with over 150 (named) individual mountain ranges. Over 30 of Nevada's mountain peaks exceed 11,000 ft., with the highest point (Boundary Peak), reaching 13,140 ft. The Great Basin - a series of depressions, flats, dry lakes, marshy salt pans and sinks, all scattered between ribbons of mountain ranges - stretches across much of the state. Low mountain desert areas (formerly prehistoric lakes) are situated northeast of Carson City. The Mojave Desert spills across the California border into southern Nevada, where conditions here are dry, hot and windy, especially in summer. The desert floor areas surrounding the Las Vegas valley are bordered by dozens of volcanic, granite, and Aztec sandstone, copper-colored mountains and ranges, highlighted by Red Rock Canyon's bluffs, cliffs and petrified sandstone boulders. These many mountains and canyons provide some of the best hiking and rock climbing areas in the entire United States. For visitors that have not experienced the Red Rock National Conservation Area and the Mount Charleston Wilderness Areas, they don't know what they are missing.
Image Title Bar 06 Bridge Mountain
Click here to view 14 more Mountain View pictures... Mountain Views & Landscapes (con't)

11-Places & Structures: Though the pictures in this category don’t necessarily represent those taken while “hiking”, they are representative of either places or structures visited over the course of the year. Some of them were destinations or stopping locations combined with hikes; others are just locations that I personally visited either alone or with friends.
Image Title Bar 05 Hoover Dam
Learn more about this Daytrip/Hike: Mike O'Callihan - Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge
Click here to view 2 more pictures ... Places and Structures (con't)

12-People and Faces: Over the past few years I have concentrated on taking nature photos of plants and animals as well as landscapes. After reading an article on portrait photography, I decided to make a conscious effort to capture more pictures that included people to see if they might somehow make some of my pictures more interesting. Because I most often hike with the same people, or alone, my opportunities are still somewhat limited. Here are a few that I managed to capture that have encouraged me to continue trying.
Image Title Bar 51 Fig 12-01 Navajo Code Talker

Learn more about this Daytrip/Hike22nd Annual Southern Paiute Pow-Wow
Click here to view 10 more People pictures ... People and Faces (con't) 

13-B&W and Other Effects: Every once in a while I take the time to try some special effects by converting the original image to Black and White, Sepia, etc. I find that these effect can often add more mood and feeling into an image, as well as making an image appear "older".
Image Title Bar 73 Fig 13-01 Pitch Fork Cove
Learn more about this Daytrip/Hike: Lakeshore Drive - 33-Hole Overlook
Click here to view 6 more B&W pictures ... B&W and Other Effects (con't)