Friday

Lakeshore Drive (Part I) – LV Bay Overlook To 33 Hole Overlook

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EFP-Lakeshore Scenic Drive - 33-hole Overlook
(Fig. 01)
09/23/2015 Trip Notes: My friend Jim Herring, Connie and I took a trip out to Lake Mead for a picnic lunch at the 33-Hole Overlook. (More on this area below) Even though a little overcast, it was very hot and so windy, it was trying to blow our lunch off of the picnic table.  I’ve certainly had better days out here. Jim and I tried to hike down to the water’s edge, but before reaching it we decided it was too hot to be out here hiking. Most impressive was how low the water line was as compared to my first visit here more than 10 years ago. The exposed landscape is quickly becoming a surreal landscape turning into more and more desert with every passing day.

As a result of the roughly 15-year drought, today's water level is at 1,079-feet, down another 40 feet from just two years ago and more than 135 feet from the 2000 level of 1214-feet. At the present time, lake Mead is only at 38% full and hasn't been this low since they were filling it in the 1930s. Every day it is drawing closer to the 1,075-foot level, below which officials would declare a water emergency and begin rationing water allotments to Nevada and Arizona. The more the water level drops, the greater the chances that Hoover Dam's hydroelectric output might be seriously affected. Federal forecasters originally predicted that the Colorado River would flow at 71% capacity this summer, but they now say the figure could fall to 50% or lower. This summer, officials will make their projection for Lake Mead water in January 2016. If the estimate is below 1,075 feet, rationing kicks in: Southern Nevada would lose 13,000 acre-feet per year and Arizona would lose 320,000 acre-feet. California's portion would not be affected. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation officials say there is a 21% chance of Lake Mead plunging below 1,075 feet by January. The odds increase to 54% for 2017.
                                   
EFP-Lakeshore Scenic Drive - 33-hole Overlook-2
(Fig.02)
EFP-Lakeshore Scenic Drive - 33-hole Overlook-3
(Fig. 03)
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EFP-P1040969-P1040968
(Fig. 04)
03/21/2013 Trip Notes: This was the Heritage Park Senior Facilities’ first hike here for the 2013 season. As noted on the previous page, there are several pull-offs along this 11-mile stretch of road, and I think we hit them all. The last time our group visited here was on 01/19/2012. This post includes pictures from both visits. Note: The slide show on the [Previous Page]  includes pictures from all of my visits here.
    
Las Vegas Bay Overlook: Heading north to south, this is the first stop. It provides views of the Las Vegas River that emanates from the Las Vegas Wash (Fig. 04) as it winds it way towards Las Vegas Bay (Fig. 05) and into Lake Mead. Driving past the Las Vegas Wash Campground, that looks like an isolated oasis lost in the vastness of the Nevada desert, you come to an area where you can hike down to the river at the mouth of the bay. There are a half dozen trails at lake level that wind about this area. It is sad to see how much this lake has receded in just the past 10 years. Today’s lake level is 1,119-feet, down 95 feet from the 2000 level of 1214-feet. Changing rainfall patterns, climate variability, high levels of evaporation, reduced snow melt runoff, and current water use patterns are putting pressure on water management resources at Lake Mead as the population depending on it for water and the Hoover Dam for electricity continues to grow. The minimum power pool elevation for producing electricity by the dam is 1,050-feet. When we moved here in 2003, about 85% of what you see in (Fig. 05) below was covered by water.
   
EFP-P1040970-P1040972
(Fig. 05)
Three Island Scenic Overlook:  As you can see from the picture below (Fig. 06), this stop is know for its view of three large islands. Of course these days, with the current lake levels being so low, one can now see several more islands that never existed a few short years ago.
   
EFP-P1010921 Stitch
(Fig. 06)
Rocky Point Scenic Overlook: Here, you can take a short walk out on the promontory for yet another nice view of the lake. I believe the picture below (Fig. 07) from last year’s visit was taken from this location.
   
EFP-P1010924
(Fig. 07)
33 Hole Outlook: There is no information anywhere as to what the title of this outlook refers to, however, it is one of the best stops along this stretch of road. This turnoff splits into three separate parking areas, each of which lead to what is known as “Pitch Fork Cove”. From the middle parking area, there is a medium length trail that leads all the way out to the end of a long peninsula (Fig. 08). Several of us (Fig. 09) hiked all the way out to the end on a trail that goes around the point and returns on the opposite side. Not only did we encounter fishermen in more than one spot along the base of peninsula (Fig. 10), we got to observe a variety of birds and water fowl (Fig. 11). This turned out to be one of the nicest walks I have taken along the edges of the lake. (be sure to view the slide show on the previous page for more pictures)
   
EFP-P1050007
(Fig. 08)
EFP-P1050001
(Fig. 09)
EPB&W-P1040983
(Fig. 10)
EFP-P1040979
(Fig. 11)