Friday

Spring Mountain Ranch State Park

EFP-Image0000705/29/2014 – The rock-hounds from the Heritage Park Senior Center had their last scheduled hike of the season at the Spring Mountain Ranch State Park. At an elevation of 3,740 feet, it is nestled within the boundaries of Red Rock Canyon’s National Conservation Area, beneath the colorful cliffs of the magnificent Wilson Range.  Today the parks’ main purpose is to preserve the historic Sandstone Ranch or Sand Stone Ranch, as it was first known when it was established in 1876. Excepting some of Vegas’ renown golf courses, this is without a doubt, one of the greenest spots in the Las Vegas Valley and is usually 10-15 degrees cooler than the rest of the valley. Click here for pictures and info on this scenic spot … Spring Mountain Ranch State Park.

Thursday

South Cove & Pierce Ferry

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(Fig. 01)
MAP-Pierce Ferry Area
(Fig. 02)
Directions: Pierce Ferry is about 110 miles from Henderson. Driving on US 93 South through Boulder City, over the Mike O'Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial bridge, cross into Arizona and drive approximate 50 miles before turning left onto Pierce Ferry Road at the Dolan Springs, Meadowview, Pierce Ferry exit. Refer to (Fig. 02) above. It is then about 59 miles to the Pierce Ferry landing the end of Pierce Ferry Road. Starting just after the turnoff for South Cove (Fig. 03), the road turns into a well graded gravel road for the remaining nine miles.
                   
MAP-Pierce Ferry
(Fig. 03)
05/20/2014 Trip Notes: A beautiful sunny morning, Harvey and got an early morning start as we headed out for South Cove and Peirce Ferry Arizona. The first 8 miles cross the flat Detrital Valley, through Dolan Springs. This is a typically scattered desert town with isolated houses surrounded by a large selection of broken vehicles and old pieces of machinery, all rusting away under the intense desert sun. Beyond town, the road climbs into the White Hills and then across the Hualapai Valley. Joshua trees begin to appear and grow steadily thicker (Fig. 04) as you drive eastwards, and around the hills at the far side of the valley. At an elevations of around 4,000 feet, they become as dense as anywhere in the Southwest. The trees are large Fig. 05), old and well-branched. This was the most impressive stand of Joshua Trees I have ever seen. As the main road climbs, the Joshua trees are replaced by various species of cacti - several types of spiny opuntia, clusters of echinocacti and large barrel-shaped ferocacti until it begins to level off at the town of Meadowview. Meadview lies at elevations between 3100 and 3500 feet. The Ute Trail, used for centuries by Indians crossing the Colorado River, is in the Grapevine Wash located east of Meadview (Fig. 03). The trail continues to the south of Grapevine Wash with one branch continuing to the west at Cottonwood and the east branch crossing Hualapai land to reach the Hopi. The community of Meadowview is of recent origin, having been started in the early 60’s as a retirement community. One of our goals for the day was to explore several old mines located west of the town of Meadowview. Unfortunately, we were unable to locate any roads that weren’t labeled “private property – keep out” or that didn’t appear to be private driveways. Abandoning out mine search, we continued on just a few miles past the town, to the road that headed west, down to South Cove, located at the southern end of Gregg Basin (Fig. 03).
                      
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(Fig. 04)
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(Fig. 05
South Cove: Just before reaching the road to South Cove there was a scenic pull-off that provided a great view of Lake Mead, south of the cove (Fig. 01). Only a mile or two upstream is Sandy Point, a popular camping area with some beautiful sandy beaches. Managed by the National Park Service, this popular picnicking and fishing spot (Largemouth Bass, Striped Bass, Crappie, Sunfish, Channel Catfish and Carp) has several restrooms and covered picnic tables scattered along the upper shoreline The boat launch ramp has recently been improved with 3 paved parking lots, lights, and a more picnic tables. There is also an emergency call box at the top of the boat launch ramp. As you can see from (Figs. 06 thru 09), the road to the cove, the river and the surrounding mountains provided some outstanding views. Click to enlarge and see if you can find the fisherman in (Fig. 08). After hiking around the area for a while we headed out for Pierce Landing.
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(Fig. 06)
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(Fig. 07)
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(Fig. 08)
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(Fig. 09)
Pierce Landing: The road that continues down to Pierce Ferry becomes unpaved as the track descends quite steeply along a dry, sandy valley overgrown with tamarisk as it winds it way towards the waters edge (Fig. 10). Pierce Ferry is located at the very end of the 52 mile road that starts from US 93 half way between the Hoover Dam and Kingman, and.marks the boundary between Lake Mead and the Grand Canyon, where the low sandy banks around the lake give way to imposing, colorfully-layered cliffs that enclose the Colorado river for the next 280 miles upstream.
            Pearce Ferry was started in 1863 by Jacob Hamblin, bought by Pearce in 1876, and operated until 1891. His "Colorado Crossing," one of several ferry routes across the river, was intended for Mormon settlers traveling south from St. George, Utah, to new farmland in Arizona. The first party crossed at Pearce Ferry in 1877, ferrying wagons, and herding livestock through the current. But the terrain to the south proved so difficult for wagons that few other settlers followed. After six years, Pearce abandoned his ferry. All of the ferry crossings were covered by the waters of Lake Mead when the lake was formed after the building of the Hoover Dam in 1935.The picture in (Fig. 11) is looking north, down river from the raft “take-out” ramp. The view in (Fig. 12) is a view looking up the heavily silted river as it emerges from the Grand Canyon to the east
                        
This area became popular again during the Grand Canyon-Boulder Dam tours in the 1940's. A concession maintained a floating dock, supply depot, dining room, and had elaborate plans for improvement. The tour boats left Hemenway, stopped at Pearce Ferry, continued to Rampart Cave (discovered in 1936 by Willis Evans) and then on 12 miles into the Grand Canyon. The tour cost $101. With the filling of Lake Mead, a delta formed at Pearce Ferry. This silting in, followed by the lowering of the lake level after 1941, forced the concession to be abandoned. Scenic flights were also part of the tourist trade in the 1930's and 1940's with airplanes landing on the strip at Pearce Ferry. Today its main function is that of a “take-out” ramp for rafters coming down the Colorado River. Pearce Ferry is the final destination for raft trips down the lower Grand Canyon, particularly those run by the Hualapai Indians, which depart from near Diamond Creek at the end of Peach Springs Canyon in the morning and emerge late afternoon onto the calm waters of the lake after around 8 hours sailing. Though there are a few campsites just south of the area, the brown silted waters here were a visual disappointment when compared to those at South Cove.
                                          
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(Fig. 10)
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(Fig. 11)
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(Fig. 12)
On our return we decided to head south on Stockton Hill Road (Fig. 02) towards Kingman, Arizona. This 40-plus mile drive through Hualapal Valley is flanked by the Mt. Tipton Wilderness Area and the Cerbat Mountains to the west, and the dried up Red Lake and Grand Wash Cliffs to the east. There were several areas along the east side of the road that showed evidence of farming, most likely supported by the runoff from the mountains that often flood the valley during heavy rains. Upon reaching Kingman we stopped for lunch at the famous Mr. D’z Route 66 diner (Figs. 13 & 14) before the ride home.
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Daytrip – Rogers Spring (LMNRA)

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This page last updated on 06/15/2017
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Destination: Rogers Spring. Distance from Point of Origin: 54 miles. Estimated (One Way) Travel Time: 1-1/4 hours. Directions: The location for this popular picnic area is northeast of Las Vegas along the Northshore Road in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. From the Stratosphere Casino head northeast on Las Vegas Blvd about 3 miles and turn right to merge onto US-93/95. Go 12.5 miles and Merge onto NV-564 E/W Lake Mead Pkwy via Exit 61B. Heading east on NV-564 (Lake Mead Blvd) go over the mountains (passing between Frenchman Mountain to the south and Sunrise Mountain to the north) to the park entrance station. Pay the entrance fee ($5 per car or an annual pass), and proceed to the T-intersection with Northshore Road (NV Rt 167) and Lakeshore Road (NV Rt 166). Bear left and drive north on Northshore Road (NV 167) for 39 miles and turn left to pull into the picnic area parking lot. General Description: Rogers Spring is a hot spring which is caused by geothermal activity deep within the ground at the base of the hills. This super heated water comes up and then forms several pools within the area of Rogers Spring that eventually flow into Lake Mead. There are picnic grounds, barbeque areas and restroom facilities at this somewhat secluded spot. As the small stream that originates at the spring flows down to Lake Mead, it provides water to dozens palm trees and most of the birds and wildlife that is found in the immediate area. Because it carries a unique type of bacteria that may cause flue-like symptoms and even death, this small pool of water should not be used for swimming or drinking. The water flows over a small concrete dam creating a small waterfall and small creek that eventually finds it way to Lake Mead. Special Attraction or Points of Interest: There are many unusual fish and turtles that live in the pond. Many of the fish found here were imported by the former private owners of the land in and around Rogers Spring to sell the fish to pet stores, and are therefore not indigenous to the area. There are molly's, guppies, ciclids, and more. There are two short trails for the more adventurous. Primary Activity: Photography and birding. Secondary Activities: Hiking. Elevation: Best Time To Visit: The best time to visit is in the spring when the natural vegetation in the area is more green and in full bloom. Difficulty: For those wanting to explore, you can follow the route of the little creek as I did today or take the the trailhead to the right of the bridge across the creek that takes you to a vantage point about 100 feet above the spring. Easy to moderate depending upon which trail you decide to take. Facilities: Restroom facilities and shaded picnic table are available. Estimated Round-trip Time: Four hours.
More Info On Rogers Spring go to : http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM4ZQN_In_the_middle_of_nowhere or http://www.lvrj.com/living/rogers-spring-a-scenic-natural-oasis-69506517.html
01/16/2014 Trip Notes: I made another stop here with the rock-hounds from the Henderson Senior Facility on our return from hiking the ghost town of St. Thomas. It seems that each time I visit this spot I am able to capture some nice pictures. Click here to view pictures from this latest visit ... Rogers Spring Update.                                03/14/2012 Trip Notes: We made a stop here with my sister and her husband on the way to Valley of Fire State Park. Though it was too early to have our picnic lunch, it made for a nice rest stop. Even though it is still winter and a lot of the vegetation has yet to turn green and bloom, the warm mineral laden waters of this small hot spring is still able to provide some colorful shots as evidenced by the four pictures below. 
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12/15/2011 Trip Notes: Even though there might not be enough here to make this a destination point by itself, combined with other stops along the Northshore road, it certainly makes a great place for lunch. A couple of the pictures incorporated here came from a stop Connie and I made here back in 2006. IMG_1512
A view of the pond looking north. Even though we were able to see a turtle and more than a half dozen of different varieties of fish, some up to five inches in length, I was unable to capture and good pictures of them. The picture of the falls on the left below was taken below the foot bridge looking back towards the pond. It has been estimated that nearly 1,000 gallons of water per minute flows from these springs into Lake Mead. The picture on the right was taken looking downstream (south) towards Lake Mead. The next picture, captured little further downstream, shows Lake Mead and the morning sun rising over the Arizona mountains.
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I was intrigued by the leaves on these vine-like bushes that paralleled the stream bed. They appeared to be very similar to a maple leaf. If you know what they are send me an email. Even though it is the middle of December and the start of winter, pictures below indicated that there were still a few signs of life scattered about.
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Slideshow Description: The slideshow above contains 52 pictures that were taken on three different visits to Rogers Spring.

DIAL - Daytrips In & Around LasVegas

Well, I finally did it. With more time on my hands because the hiking season basically ended due to the on-slot of the hot summer months, I decided to write a picture book highlighting some of my favorite hiking locations over the past 2-3 years. This book is 82 pages with more than 279 full color pictures on 26 hiking and daytrip destinations in and around Las Vegas Nevada. A description for each destination, plus information on special points of interest and directions to the location are provided for each destination.

You can preview the first 15 pages by clicking on the cover below. (For better viewing, click the "full-screen" icon on the right of the menu bar first). Because this is an 82 page picture book, it is a little expensive, though there are three options available for the print version. (1) Softcover for $35.49; (2) Hardcover, Dust Jacket $45.49; and (3) Hardcover, Image Wrap for $47.49 (not counting shipping). In addition, if you have an Apple iPad, there is an electronic version available for $9.99. It you are interested, you can order copies by clicking on the link, DIAL written and photographed by Kenneth C. Clarke, found below.

Las Vegas High Roller

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(Fig. 01)
Las Vegas is now home to the High Roller (Fig. 01), the highest Ferris wheel in the world. With a diameter of 520 feet and a height of 550 feet at the apex (Fig. 02), it is 9 feet taller than the Singapore Flyer, which held the record since its opening in 2008. Located across from Caesars Palace in the heart of the Strip on Las Vegas Boulevard, it is the focal point of the Linq, a $550-million dollar outdoor retail, dining and entertainment plaza.
                       
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(Fig. 02)
The wheel is supported by two pairs of 285 foot-long, 9 foot diameter canted legs and a 330 foot-long, 52˚ transverse brace leg (Fig. 03). The legs are anchored by three concrete plinths set atop pile caps and tied together by grade beams over 32 drilled shafts. The 2.5-in.-thick plate-rolled support legs contain 13 tuned mass dampers that counteract structural vibration. The wheel is designed to withstand a seismic event.
                 
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(Fig. 03)
Together, the legs support a 546-ton hub assembly (Fig. 04) that rotates using two custom-designed 7.55-foot diameter spherical roller bearings on either end of an internal spindle. Inside its hub (Fig. 05), the wheel rotates on a pair of custom-designed spherical roller bearings, each weighing approximately 19,400 lbs. Each bearing has an outer diameter of 7.55 feet and a width of 2.07 feet. The outer rim comprises 28 sections, each 56 feet long permanently secured by four cables. The spindle transfers the wheel weight through the legs, while the hub connects to a single element rim using 25,256 feet of tensioned cable.
                     
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(Fig. 04)
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(Fig. 05)
Each of the 225-square-foot, 22 foot diameter passenger cabins (or capsules) (Figs. 06 & 07), weighs 44,000 pounds and has a capacity of 40 persons. Attached at three places to the rim using double-V frames, the cabins are mounted on the wheel's outboard rim and are individually rotated by electric motors to smoothly maintain a horizontal cabin floor throughout each full rotation. Each 22-foot diameter cabin is encased with 300 square feet of doubly curved 360-degree glass, and is equipped with eight flat-screen televisions and an iPod dock (Fig. 08). The 5,000-ton wheel moves at a rate of 1 foot per second. Powered by eight hydraulic drive motors; it's designed to operate 18 hours a day for 50 years, or roughly 657,450 full rotations. The High Roller has a slim profile with a 6.6-foot-wide rim that maximizes passenger views while creating an unobstructed, eye-grabbing sleek aesthetic look. Total capacity is 1,120 passengers.
                
The pictures in (Figs. 09 thru 12) are some of the views we had during our 30-minute plus ride.
               
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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)
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(Fig. 12)

Pages Uploaded in May 2014

May 2014 Posts:
Daytrip/Redrock Canyon - Spring Mountain Ranch - Trip Notes for 05/29/2014
Daytrip - South Cove & Pierce Ferry
Las Vegas Places of Interest - Las Vegas High Roller
Bellagio Botanical Gardens - Bellagio's Conservatory & Botanical Garden - Spring Celebration

Spring Mountain Ranch - Trip Notes for 05/29/2014

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(Fig. 01)
05/29/2014 Trip Notes: Because this location is usually marks the last scheduled hike of the season, it has become kind of a tradition to have a ‘pot luck’ bar-b-queue picnic at the end of the hike. Even though I was not signed up for this hike, I decided use the opportunity to introduce Connie to many of the people that I had hiked with over the past several months. Because this beautiful spot is only about 30 minutes from our home, Connie and I try to come here to enjoy the beautiful surroundings at least a couple of times a year. It is almost always 10-15 degrees cooler than the city, and as you can see from (Fig. 01), today was just a beautiful, clear sunny day.  With Connie still recovering from hip surgery, instead of hiking, we just spent the morning talking with friends and chowing down on grilled hot dogs, beans, and the many salads and desserts provided by everyone in attendance. Not only does this final stop of the season allow all of us to give special thanks to Linda Groft, our trip organizer, and Bill Terrance, our van driver, for their continued dedication and service, time is often taken to celebrate birthdays and special occasions of those in attendance (Figs. 02 – 06). for one of the few pictures I captures all day, I did find someone in the pasture adjoining the picnic area that appeared to be looking for a handout (Fig. 07 & 08).   As usual, the day was a fitting end to yet another hiking season full of pictures, memories and lasting friendships.
                         
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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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