Wednesday

Andy Warhol Exhibit at the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art

Warhol 11 Cowboys & IndiansThis past week, my friend and fellow hiking partner, Blake Smith and I took in the Andy Warhol Exhibit at Bellagio’s Gallery of Fine Art. Though neither of us had ever been avid followers of his work, we both thought we would be remiss if we didn’t take the opportunity to view this collection from one of America’s most iconic pop culture artists. As I’m sure is true for most America’s who grew up in the 50’s and 60’s, I was familiar with some of his well known portrayals of consumer goods, like the “Campbell’s Soup Cans” on “Cow Wallpaper”, however, it was his lessor know “Cowboys and Indians” series, one of his last works created in 1986, shortly before his death that I was unfamiliar with, that drew my attention to this exhibit. Click here to learn more about this exhibit … Andy Warhol Exhibit at Bellagio's Gallery of Fine Art.

Bellagio’s Summer Exhibit

EP-P1020363This summer's lush floral exhibition is titled “Summer Garden Party”. As usual, it is made up of tens of thousands flowers that are stocked fresh every week over the length of the exhibit. It features a 50-foot long glass greenhouse, turned bird aviary, a 26-foot tall red lighthouse, three ponds, and a life-like tree-house. This beautiful exhibit ends on September 8th, so if you haven’t taken the time to “smell the roses” yet, be sure and stop by; you will feel better within minutes of entering its enchanting spaces. Click here for pictures and a detailed description … Bellagio Botanical Garden - Summer Garden Party.

The Spring Mountain’s Carpenter I Canyon Fire

EP-P1020139Over the first half of July, I followed the fire, known as Carpenter I,  that raged in the Spring Mountains for more than three weeks. On a few occasions I was even able to capture some distant pictures of the ever billowing plumes of smoke. On 7/18 I traveled with a friend to the west side of the range to evaluate the damage. Today, 7/25, twenty-five days after it was started by a lightening strike, it was reported that it was 95% contained. Click this link for pictures and information … Carpenter I Canyon Fire.

Pages Uploaded in Jul 2013

Desert Bighorn Sheep - Mowing Duty
Places & Events - Andy Warhol Exhibit at the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art
Birds - Black-headed Grosbeak (Pheucticus melanocephalus)
Birds/Collages - The Birds of Bellagio
Places & Events - Bellagio Botanical Garden - Summer Garden Party
Plants & Flowers and Textures In Nature - Green Manzanita (Ericaceae Arctostaphylos)
Cactus - Mojave Mound Cactus (Echinocereus triglochidiatus)
Carpenter 1 Fire - Carpenter 1 (canyon) Fire - The Aftermath
Carpenter 1 Fire Carpenter 1 (canyon) Fire
Horses - Feral Horses at Cold Creek - NV
Places & Events - Historic Boulder Dam Hotel - Boulder City, NV
Cactus - Banana Yucca (Yucca baccata - torr)
UPDATED Daytrip - Lava Butte & Rainbow Gardens
Mt. Charleston - Trout Canyon Fire & Sunset Pictures

Sunday

Mountain Springs Saloon


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(Fig. 01)
07/28/2013 Trip Notes: The “World Famous” Mountain Springs Saloon (Figs. 01 & 02) is one of only two public building in the small community of Mountain Springs located in the pass that passes over the Spring Mountains. Just 15 minutes west of I-15 and Blue Diamond (Silverton Casino), it is on Highway 160 between Las Vegas and Pahrump. At an elevation of 5,490 feet, the temperature at the bar is nearly 20 degrees cooler than the Vegas. If you’re looking for some mountain views, cooler weather, reasonably priced drinks, live 60’s and 70’s music (weekends), regulation horseshoe pits, good BBQ, and a “biker bar” atmosphere (Fig. 03), this is the place to go. The bands may not be the greatest, nor the food the best, but the relaxed atmosphere is hard to beat. Unfortunately their website is not kept up to date, as we stopped by for an advertised “pig roast” only to be told that it was held the day before. They were however barbequing some brisket (Figs. 05 & 06) off the patio area (Fig. 04) at the rear of the property. Behind the rear patio we were pleasantly surprised to find a beautiful “Water Lilly” pond filled with gold fish (Figs. 07-09). Having been “bikers” in our previous life (176,000 miles on a Goldwing), I enjoyed roaming the parking lot admiring some of the motorcycles (Figs. 10 & 11) in attendance. Even though the weather became cloudy and threatened rain, it still turned out to be a fun afternoon.
                                   
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(Fig. 02)
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(Fig. 03)
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(Fig. 04)
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(Fig. 05)
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(Fig. 06)
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(Fig. 07)
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(Fig. 08)
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(Fig. 09)
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(Fig. 10)
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(Fig. 11)


Town of Mountain Springs: Mountain Springs is a small community in Clark County in southern Nevada. It is located in the pass over the Spring Mountains through which Highway 160 connects Las Vegas and Pahrump. Public buildings include a fire house and a saloon. The population is estimated to be near 175. The community was named for the springs that once served as a stop on the Old Spanish Trail. The latitude of Mountain Springs is 36.020N. The longitude is -115.508W. It’s elevation is 5,410 feet.

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Post Update to Lava Butte and Rainbow Gardens

E-P1090817Yesterday I updated a page with pictures and info from a daytrip that Harvey Smith and I made to the Lava Butte and Rainbow Gardens area that consisted of a drive down Kodachrome Road and Rainbow Gardens Road this past April. Done together, these two roads form a 15-mile loop through the Rainbow Gardens Basin. Click here to read more about this site ... Lava Butte and Rainbow Gardens.

Saturday

Carpenter 1 (canyon) Fire

07/18/2013 Fire Update: Click the following link to get the latest update on the Carpenter 1 Fire and pictures and info from my visit yesterday to some of the affected areas ... Carpenter 1 (canyon) Fire - The Aftermath.

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Map-Carpenter Canyon Fire
(Fig. Map)
Yesterday (07/13 – day thirteen of the fire) heavy equipment was used to open roads and gain access into the areas which were affected by flash flooding/debris flows on Friday. This allowed firefighters to continue constructing direct line southeast into the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Creeping and smoldering with isolated single tree torching was the observed fire behavior yesterday. Structure protection continues for Kyle Canyon, also the Harris and Prospect Ranches. Crews are continuing cold trailing and construction of a line along the South Loop ridge while patrol and mop-up operations are ongoing in all areas of the fire. The area shown in the (Fig. Map) above represents the 27,971 acres (roughly 43-square miles) burned as of Friday morning. The recent wet weather has allowed firefighters battling the Carpenter 1 wildfire near Mt. Charleston to strengthen their containment lines, bringing the fire to about 43 percent containment, a significant increase from many of the previous reports which listed containment at 15 percent. The extra moisture allowed the nearly 1,400 people battling the blaze to make progress building containment lines along Kyle Canyon Road near the Rainbow neighborhood.

07/12/2013 Fire Update: The good news is that as a result of yesterday's heavy monsoon rains this massive fire is about 42% contained as of this morning. The bad news is that it has now burned 28,000 acres and is still not out.
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(Fig. 01)
07/10/2013 Picture Notes: While we were out driving around yesterday, I captured some more pictures of the smoke plumes of the Carpenter Canyon fire that is still raging in Mount Charleston area of the Spring Mountains, just west of the city. The shot in (Fig. 01) was captured along NV-160 near Lovell Canyon Road on our way out to the Pahrump Valley Winery. Lovell Canyon Road was closed to fire fighting personnel only. If you look carefully at this picture, you can see some flames near the middle of the plume. The picture in (Fig. 02) was taken out by Red Rock Canyon near the turnoff for Calico Basin.
          
Fire Notes: Today (07/11) we received some much needed rain that we hope will aid the firefighting efforts against this huge fire. Yesterday was the 10th day of this fire, which now according to estimates is only 15% contained and has burned more than 25,000 acres – approximately 40-square miles. As of late yesterday some more elite out of state firefighting crews joined the effort to control this blaze, bringing the total number of firefighters to more than 1,048.
                  
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(Fig. 02)
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(Fig. 03)
07/08/2013 Picture Note: Captured the picture in (Fig. 03) above from the highway coming back into Las Vegas with our friends Jim Herring and his daughter Christina after a daytrip out to Boulder City for lunch and a visit to the Hoover Dam and the Mike O'Callihan/Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. It shows the smoke from the Trout Canyon fire, now in its 8th day, blanketing the city of Las Vegas. So far this fire is only 15% contained and has already burned 18,000 acres or about three square miles. They don’t expect to have it under control until the 19th of July. Jim sent me the bottom picture (Fig. 04) that he took from his house in north Las Vegas after he got home that evening.
                            
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(Fig. 04)

           
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(Fig. 05)
07/05/2013 Picture Notes: After picking company up from the airport on Friday afternoon, I captured these pictures on the way over to my friends house in North Las Vegas. (Fig. 05) was taken while stopped at an intersection off US-95. The pictures in (Figs. 06-08) were taken from a mall outside In & Out Burger.

Fire Notes: The fire, ignited Monday by lightning just south of Carpenter Canyon in the Spring Mountains, covered about 1,950 acres by Thursday. The growing wildfire forced residents to come down the hill Thursday afternoon and leave their homes behind. By Friday night the fire spread to near Mount Charleston. Having grown to about 6,000 acres, it prompted 520 residents to evacuate. Trout and Kyle canyon communities northwest of Las Vegas are under mandatory evacuations, while Lee Canyon is open only to residents. The fire remained completely uncontained by early Friday afternoon. Officials say they expect winds up to 35 mph and extreme fire behavior throughout Friday and Saturday. Roads and trails in the area are closed, as is all access to Mount Charleston Peak.
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(Fig. 06)
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(Fig. 07)
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(Fig. 08)

Tuesday

Index for Category – Textures in Nature

Index for Category – Places & Events

Cactus Index

Page Notes: In addition to the brief synopsis provided here for each cacti, clicking on its title will take you to a page with additional pictures and info. Cacti are arranged alphabetically by their common name. Also, remember that you can view any of these images full size by clicking on the image. After clicking on an image to view full-screen, then use your browsers back button to return to this page.
      
E-P1020505Banana Yucca (Yucca baccata-torr), a.k.a. Blue yucca, Fleshy-fruited yucca, and Datil Yucca, is often quite difficult. Those with broad leaves are sometimes called Spanish Daggers, a name generally applied to the tree-like species of western Texas. Banana yucca is closely related to the Mojave yucca (Y. schidigera), with which it is interspersed where their ranges overlap causing hybrids between them making identification even more difficult. The Banana Yucca with its bluish green leaves is a common species of fruiting cactus native to the deserts of the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico, from southeastern California north to Utah, east to western Texas and south to Sonora and Chihuahua. It gets its name from its banana-shaped fruit. For more detailed info and pictures, click the title above.

                
EP-P1050049Beavertail Cactus (Opuntia basilaris) is a low, spreading cactus with short bristles grows 6 to 12 inches high and up to 6 feet wide. The gray-green, jointed stems are wide and flat resembling the tail of a beaver. Oval in shape, the stems are 1 to 6 inches wide and 2 to 13 inches long. The stems grow in clumps with flowers from the top edge of the joints. When in bloom from March to June, it has brilliant red-to-lavender flowers 2 to 3 inches wide with many petals. For more detailed info and pictures, click the title above.

E-P1080594Buckhorn Cholla (Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa) is an upright, branched, cylindrical-stemmed cactus with long stem segments and yellow spines. This cholla is similar to Silver Cholla, but in Buckhorn Cholla, the mature stem segments generally are longer than 6 inches, while those of Silver Cholla are less than 4-inches long. A mature plant can be about 5 to 10 feet in high. For more detailed info and pictures, click the title above.

E-P1030082Desert Spinystar (Escobaria vivipara) is a small, round cactus that grows to about 6 inches tall by 3-inches wide (though it is usually 3 by 2 or smaller), often remaining oblong or spherical.. The stem does not have the ribs (flutes) seen in some other cactus. Its short, usually solitary, rounded stem emerges from the ground un-branched. It is densely covered in a mat of star-shaped arrays of straight white spines .4 to .9 inches long (none are fish-hook shaped), with all of the spines pressed closely against the stem. For more detailed info and pictures, click the title above.

EP-IMG_2436-2Golden Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus grusonii) grows as a large roughly spherical globe, that after many years, may eventually reach over 3 feet in height. Large plants attain a size of over 2 feet across, and may remain single or produce plantlets at the side to form a clump. There may be up to 35 pronounced ribs in mature plants, though they are not evident in young plants, which may have a knobby appearance. Their flowers are also golden yellow in color, emerging from the large patch of wool at the center of the plant. For more detailed info and pictures, click the title above.

E-P1080597Jumping Cholla (Cylindropuntia fulgida) is an arborescent (tree-like) plant with one low-branching trunk.  Its dense, 1 inch spines completely hide the stem. The cylindrical segments are light to bluish green. They are about 10 inches long and 2.5 inches in diameter. The jumping cholla can be 3 to 12 feet tall and has a single trunk with short drooping branches of chained fruit at the top. The stems are light green and are strongly tuberculate, with tubercles (small, wart-like projections on the stems). For more detailed info and pictures, click the title above.

EP-P1010526Mojave Kingcup Cactus (Echinocereus mojavensis) is mound-shaped plant formed of many, densely packed stems that grows to a height of 12-16 inches. It is densely covered with gray, twisted and interlocking spines. The entire plant is a cylindrical mound, without a trunk, that is composed of up to about 500 individual bluish green stems, each usually less than about 2 inches diameter. Its has gray, round, curved (wavy) spines that grow to about 2 inches in length. Its inflorescence consists of solitary funnel-shaped, orange to deep red flowers that emerge from near the tip of individual stems. For more detailed info and pictures, click the title above.

EP-P1010872Mojave Mound cactus (Echinocereus triglochidiatus)  a small barrel-shaped cactus and active perennial succulent, is a species of hedgehog cactus a.k.a Kingcup Cactus, Claretcup, Hedgehog and Claret Hedgehog. When its many stems are in full flower, making breathtaking mounds of scarlet, it can be one of the most beautiful cacti in the desert. In general it is a mounding cactus, forming bulbous piles of few to hundreds of spherical to cylindrical stems. It is densely spiny and somewhat woolly. There are a number of varieties of this highly variable cactus species, often with two strikingly different forms growing in the same area, but not all are universally recognized.For more detailed info and pictures, click the title above.

EP-P1050090Mojave Yucca (Yucca schidigera), also known as the Spanish Dagger, is a flowering plant in the family Agavaceae. This small evergreen tree can grow 3 to 16 feet tall, with a dense crown of spirally arranged bayonet-like leaves on top of a conspicuous basal trunk. The leaves are narrow, linear, and spreading in all directions from the stem, and they are wide-based and have stiff, yellow-green blades 12" to 60" long and 1" to 1-1/2" wide.  They are also tipped with terminal spines and have coarse fibers along the margins, which Yucca whipplei lacks.  The cream-colored flowers appear in a long terminal cluster.  The individual flowers are large, pendent, bell shaped and occasionally have a purplish tinge. For more detailed info and pictures, click the title above.

E-P1040746Pencil Cholla (Cylindropuntia ramosissima), a.k.a. Diamond Cholla and Branched Pencil Cholla, is an upright, shrub-like cactus with very narrow stem segments and long, but sparse spines. The stem segments are short (to about 3-inches) and narrow (about 1/4-inch diameter). The spines tend to be solitary rather than clustered as in most cactus. Starting off as a low spreading cactus, this erect and treelike cactus can grow to a maximum height of 6 feet.For more detailed info and pictures, click the title above.


EP-P1010543Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia engelmannii), has an overall form that is generally shrubby, with dense clumps that can grow from 12 inches to 11 feet high, usually with no apparent trunk. The pads are green (rarely blue-green), obovate to round, about 5-12 inches long and 4.5-8 inches wide. Its glochids (spines) are yellow initially, then brown with age. Spines are extremely variable, with anywhere from 1-8 per areole, and often absent from lower areoles; they are yellow to white, slightly flattened, and .5-3 inches long. The flowers are yellow, occasionally reddish, 2.5-4 inches in diameter and about as long. For more detailed info and pictures, click the title above. UPDATED on 06/07/13.

EP-P1010006Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia-phaeacantha) typically grow with flat, fleshy pads that look like large leaves. These rounded platyclades are armed with two kinds of spines; large, smooth, fixed spines and small, hair-like prickles called glochids, that easily penetrate skin and detach from the plant. The pads are actually modified branches or stems that serve several functions -- water storage, photosynthesis and flower production. Many types of prickly pears grow into dense, tangled structures. For more detailed info and pictures, click the title above.
UPDATED on 06/21/13.



IMG_2144Red Compass Barrel Cactus (Ferocactus cylindraceus) is a large, round, barrel-shaped cactus with ribs (flutes) running from bottom to top. Barrel cactus start out short and wide (globular), then grow to about 5-ft tall and 16 inches in diameter. The plants are covered with relatively long, stout, flattened spines. The spines are erect and spreading, the longest are recurved, and they have some red color. Yellow flowers form a ring around the top of the stem. For more detailed info and pictures, click the title above.



Monday

The Birds of Bellagio

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Bellagio Bird Collage
(Fig. 01)
07/24/2013 Picture Notes: This summer's floral exhibition inside Bellagio's 13,573 square foot Conservatory & Botanical Gardens was built around a green house (Fig. 03) that is 13 feet high, 36 feet long and 14 feet wide. Decorated with many aged antique tools, it provides a habitat for Rosey Bourke Parakeets, Canaries, Cockatiels and 50 Finch birds. Even though I had to stand several feet from the sides of the greenhouse, and peer through the reflections on the glass, I was still lucky enough to capture enough shots to make the two collages in (Figs. 01 & 02).

Bellagio Bird Collage-2
(Fig. 02)
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(Fig. 03)

Mowing Duty

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Image Title Bar 02 Sheep

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(Fig. 02)

07/08/2013 Picture Notes: Recently I took some visiting company to Hemenway Park in Boulder City to see the Desert Bighorn Sheep that usually frequent the park. Designated the official state animal of Nevada, these gentile animals are always a pleasure to see and fun to watch. Sure enough, there were nearly thirty of them roaming the area and grazing on the parks lush grasses. Many were just enjoying sitting in the shade of the park’s trees (Fig. 02). Because the four in (Fig. 01) appeared to be on a mission, organized and oblivious to everything around them, I titled this picture, “Mowing Duty”. Unlike on previous visits, where many of the sheep appeared to be much “older” and more mature, the majority of those we observed today appeared to be relative young.

Feral Horses at Cold Creek, NV

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Picture Notes: On 07/10/2013, I drove some company that was visiting from Kansas out to Cold Creek to see if we could get lucky and capture some pictures of feral horses that commonly roam the area. We were not disappointed. During the nearly two hours we spent there, we must have observed more that 25 of these wild animals either walking the road or roaming the desert areas along side the road leading to town. Stopping on several occasions for a closer look and some “petting” opportunities, I was able to capture several dozen pictures, which I narrowed down to the half dozen or so shown here. As you can see in (Figs. 06 & 07), Jim and his daughter Christina were both amazed at how “tame” most of the animals were; many times walking right up to us for closer inspection, or more likely looking for a handout. If you have never been to Cold Creek, I encourage you to make the time for a visit. As many times as I have been here, I never come away disappointed. Note: If you do go to visit this area, please resist the urge to offer them food, as it is illegal to feed them.  
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