Kodachrome Road Drive

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This page last updated on 04/13/2017
(Fig. 01)
04/10/2017 Trip NotesThis whole area, located just west of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area near Lava Butte is called Rainbow Gardens. This is my forth trip to Rainbow Gardens and my second drive down Kodachrome Road. Kodachrome Rd runs north to south and is the road that spans the west edge of Rainbow Gardens. We drove the entire length of this road (approximately 8 miles) to the edge of Las Vegas and the western edge of the County Clarke Wetlands Park and the Sunrise Trailhead Park. We had a picnic lunch at the park before heading home. While driving Kodachrome Road we stopped several times along the way (Figs. 02 & 03) to take in the scenic views (Figs. 01 & 06), examine the unique geology (Figs. 02 & 04) and to take pictures of the variety of flowering plants and cactus (Figs. 05 & 06) scattered along the road. (Continued below)

(Fig. 02)

(Fig. 03)
(Fig. 04)
(Fig. 05)
(Fig. 06)
Trip Notes Continued: From the pictures in (Figs.02 & 03), you can see the veins of gypsum common for this area. Gypsum is one of the commonest sulfate mineral. Though pure gypsum is white, other substances such as here have impurities that give a wide range of colors. Proof of the abundance of gypsum in this general area is the Pabco Gypsum Plant, located less than 10 miles from this location. Pabco, who's main product is wallboard, is one of the largest gypsum plants in the world. On its 4,000 acres, it has a gypsum deposit of at least 120 feet thickness that will last this plant 500 years.
If you click on the picture in (Fig. 07), you can see the two towers at the top of Frenchman Mountain (elevation 4.055 feet) in the center of the picture. The picture in (Fig. 05) above is a California Bearpoppy (Arctomecon californica)  a.k.a. the Las Vegas Bearpoppy. This perennial forb only grows in gypsum-rich soils near Lake Mead, which is in the Upper Sonoran (Mojave Desert Scrub) life zone. They also occur in the Gold Butte region and along the south side of Lake Mead near Bonelli Landing (towards Temple Bar). These plants can most easily be seen along Northshore Road (Lake Mead NRA). The entire length of this road was loaded with dozens of these rare plants on both sides of the road. Prior to this trip I have only had the opportunity to view Bearpoppy's on three other occasions, and never in this abundance (Fig. 08) we observed here. In addition to the Bearboppy's there were more than a half-dozen other plants and wildflowers (Fig. 09).
(Fig. 07)
(Fig. 08)
(Fig. 09)
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