Pages Uploaded in May 2013

Daytrip - Spring Mountain Ranch State Park
UPDATED Plants & Flowers - Desert Five Spot (Eremalche rotundifolia)
Plants & Flowers - Golden Evening Primrose (Camissonia brevipes)
Plants & Flowers - Virgin River Cryptantha (Cryptantha virginensis)
Plants & Flowers - Showy Goldeneye (Heliomeris multiflora)
UPDATE Plants & Flowers - Beard-tongue Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri)
Plants & Flowers - Western Salsify (Asteraceae tragopogon dubius)
Daytrip - Lovell Canyon Trail in Lovell Canyon
Daytrip - CC Spring Road at Lovell Canyon
Daytrip - Lovell Summit Road
UPDATE Daytrip - Lovell Canyon Road in the Spring Mountain's Lovell Canyon
Various Animals & Reptiles - Southern Desert Horned Lizard
Plants & Flowers - Dune Evening Primrose (Oenothera deltoides)
Plants & Flowers - Desert Larkspur (Delphinium parishii)
Plants & Flowers - Whitebract Blazingstar (Mentzelia involucrata)
Plants & Flowers - Apache Plume (Fallugia paradoxa)
Birds - Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus)
Plants & Flowers - Petiolate Beardtongue (Penstemon petiolatus)
UPDATE Daytrip - Yucca Peak Fossil Beds
UPDATE Daytrip - Irebeta Peaks Wilderness Area
Various Animals & Reptiles - Long-nosed Leopard Lizard
Various Animals & Reptiles - Mojave Desert Sidewinder (Crotalus cerastes cerastes)
UPDATE Daytrip - Bowl of Fire - Update
Places/Events - Annual "Cadillac Through the Years" Car Shows
UPDATE - Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Places/Events - Bellagio's Botanical Garden - Spring Display
Daytrip - Goodsprings and the Pioneer Saloon
UPDATE Daytrip - Ireteba Peaks Wilderness Area
Daytrip - Cottonwood Cove


Century Plant (Agave americana)

EIMG_5273Century Plant (Agave americana), a.k.a. American Aloe. It is a common misconception that agave's are cacti. They are not related to cacti, nor are they closely related to Aloe whose leaves are similar in appearance. It is an agave originally from Mexico. Chiefly Mexican, agave's can be found in the southern and western United States and in central and tropical South America. They are succulents with a large rosette of thick fleshy leaves, from a greenish yellow to a grayish blue-green, each ending generally in a sharp point and with a spiny margin; its spreading rosette can be up to 13 feet wide with leaves up to 6 feet, each with a spiny margin and a heavy spike at the tip that can pierce to the bone. When it flowers, the spike with a cyme of big yellow flowers may reach up to 26 feet in height. For more detailed info and pictures, click the title above.

Fringed Amaranth (Amaranthus fimbriatus)

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Fringed Amaranth (Amaranthus fimbriatus) is an annual herb. This weedy plant grows in sandy, gravelly, and disturbed areas. The flowers of this plant are usually light or pale green in mid-summer to early fall, yet turn to a brownish, pinkish red late in the season.  They are both scattered in the leaf axils and densely clustered on long, thin, leafy, often curving terminal flower spikes. The flowers are disk-shaped and have 5 broad, clawed tepals with fringed or toothed edges. The leaves are green, simple, alternate, linear to narrowly lanceolate in shape, and up to 4 and 3/4 inches long. The slender stems are upright, often reddish in color and can be up to 40 inches in height. For more detailed info and pictures, click on the title above.

Golden Evening-Primrose (Camissonia brevipes)

EP-P1040937 (3)Golden Evening Primrose (Camissonia brevipes) Evening-Primrose (Camissonia brevipes), a.k.a. Yellow Cups, is an annual forb with basal leaves and a flowering stalk. The flowers, clustered at the top, are 4-petaled and yellow with a stigma that hangs out beyond the petals. Its height is usually less than 2 feet. It blooms during early spring. It likes washes and gravel or rocky soils and can be found at elevations up to 5,000 feet; though is usually found in lower elevations. For more detailed info and pictures, click the title above.


New Index Page for Plants & Flowers

2012 Flowers 03This month I took on the ambitious project of trying to better organize the hundreds of flower pictures from my hikes that I have accumulated over the past several years. Even though I have had a subject category with the label "Plant & Flowers" for the placement of flower postings, its index was merely a list of hyperlinks with the name of the plant or flower with no accompanying picture, thus making identification and searching extremely difficult. For some time now I have wanted to add a picture to each of these links to make it easier to searching and look up flowers. Last week I finally came up with a relatively easy way, though time consuming, to accomplish this.
Now when you click on the Photos by Subject  tab found at the top of a page, and subsequently select the sub-category Plants & Flowers under the section, (2) Rocks, Plants & Trees, you are presented with an alphabetical list of postings with a picture of the flower, a brief description, and a link to its main page. Even though my organizing efforts are still ongoing, coupled with the fact that I don’t yet have a “detail’ page for every flower and that the list is incomplete, I still decided too make it available to visitors of the site who may want to search for and look up flowers they may have seen on their own hikes. Hopefully, as my hiking will be winding down over the summer months due to the heat, I will have more time to dedicate to finishing this project. Click the link titled “Plants & Flowers” above to view and try out this new index. Hope you enjoy.
In going through flower pictures that I have on file, I have found dozens of plants and flowers that I have yet to identify. Shortly, I will also be posting a page with pictures of those that I have yet to identify, and soliciting your help in their identification. 


Lovell Canyon Road in the Spring Mountains

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(Click to Enlarge)
Lovell Canyon Road lies within the Rainbow Mountain Wilderness Area, on the southwest side of the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, approximately 12 miles from Las Vegas, Nevada. The canyon is bordered by Griffith Peak and Harris Mountains to the north, and the Wilson Ridge and Mt Wilson to the east and south.  This 11 mile-long paved road is the access to the Lovell Canyon and a series of tributary roads that lead a variety of hiking destinations including; Rainbow Springs, Bootlegger Springs, Rock Gap Peak, CC Spring, Lovell Canyon Trail and Lovell Summit. Road. One can actually spend a whole day just hiking the areas along this road as it follows Lovell Canyon Wash and winds its way through the canyon. Click the following link for pictures and more information on this location and hiking within the area … Lovell Canyon Road.


Four NEW Plant & Flower Posts

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Because it can be rather time consuming, I don’t always take the time to identify all of the plant and flower pictures that end up getting posted as part of my hiking posts. A review of my more recent hikes sent me on an Internet journey to identify some of these pictures. After creating an individual post for each, I then added them to my Plant & Flower category. Click any of the links below to view detailed descriptions for each. 

Plants & Flowers - Dune Evening Primrose (Oenothera deltoides)
Plants & Flowers - Desert Larkspur (Delphinium parishii)
Plants & Flowers - Whitebract Blazingstar (Mentzelia involucrata)
Plants & Flowers - Apache Plume (Fallugia paradoxa)


Four Recent Subject Posts

I recently added four new posts to my subject categories on birds, plants & flowers and various animals & reptiles. Even though I also added links to them in the hike pages where they were observed, you may have viewed the pages before I added the new links. If you missed them, use the links below to check them out.
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Birds - Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus)
Plants & Flowers - Petiolate Beardtongue (Penstemon petiolatus)
Various Animals & Reptiles - Long-nosed Leopard Lizard
Various Animals & Reptiles - Mojave Desert Sidewinder (Crotalus cerastes cerastes)


Yucca Peak Fossil Beds

EP-P1010082-P1010083On 05/16/13 I made my third visit to the Yucca Peak Fossil Beds in the Desert National Wildlife Range with the rock-hounds from the Henderson Heritage Park’s Senior Facility. Because we made this an all day stop, I had more time to hike and explore this area than on previous visits. I updated my page describing my two previous visits to this area [Daytrip - Yucca Peak Fossil Beds] by creating a brand new “Update” page. Click the following link to view pictures and read about this latest hike … 05/16/2013 Update - Yucca Peak Fossil Beds


Bowl of Fire

EP-P1000909-2On 05/08/2013, my friend Harvey Smith and I hiked to the The Bowl of Fire. The Bowl of Fire is located in the Muddy Mountain Wilderness Area, north of the Callville Wash and the Lake Mead National Wilderness Area at mile marker 18 on Lake Mead’s Northshore Drive. Beside the outstanding views of the red sandstone outcroppings, we enjoyed sittings that included a variety of lizards, rabbits, and birds, as well as a  Sidewinder rattlesnake. Click the following link for pictures and a description of this hike … 05/08/2013 Update - Bowl of Fire.

Ireteba Peaks Wilderness Area

EP-P100085605/07/2013 Trip Notes: On 05/07/13 my friend Harvey Smith and I decided to visit the Ireteba Peaks Wilderness Area, located deep into a wild and remote part of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. We drove nearly 15 miles in on an old dirt mining road in search of the Rockefeller Mine. We spent nearly the whole day hiking to and exploring dozens of old, abandoned mine shafts, adits, and tunnels. There was so much to see in this area that we are planning another trip here sometime in the fall when the hiking will be a little cooler. Click the following link for pictures and a description of this hike … 05/07/2013 Update - Irebeta Peaks Wilderness Area.


Chili Cook-off at the Pioneer Saloon

EP-P1000710On 05/04 Connie and I headed down to the Pioneer Saloon in Goodsprings for their 4th annual Chili Cook-off. In addition to the cook-off, this two-day event included a dune buggy poker run, a motorcycle rides to Sandy Valley, a car show and live music in the bar. Click here to read up on the town of Goodsprings, the Pioneer Saloon and this event … Daytrip to Goodsprings and the Pioneer Saloon.

Ireteba Peaks Wilderness Area

EFP-P1080460-P1080464On 05/02/2013 I made yet another attempt with the rock-hounds from the Henderson Heritage Park Senior Facility to visit the Ireteba Peaks Wilderness Area. Unfortunately, once again we were unable to reach the wilderness area. To view the day’s notes read up on this area, click the following link … Ireteba Peaks Wilderness Area. After a brief hike in the desert we headed to Cottonwood Cove for a lunch stop and did some hiking along the banks of Lake Mojave. Click here for pictures and a description of this area … Cottonwood Cove.

Calico Tanks Hike

EP-P1000437This past Thursday I hiked to the Calico Tanks in Red Rock Canyon. The trailhead for this fairly strenuous, 1.2-mile hike is located at the Sandstone Quarry parking area. The hike runs up a canyon and over sandstone slickrock to a large natural depression (a "tank" or "tinaja") near the top of the Calico Hills ridge. Beyond the tank there are great views of Calico Basin and the Las Vegas Valley. Click here for pictures and a description of this hike ...Calico Tanks.


Western Salsify (Asteraceae Tragopogon dubius)

(Fig. 01)
Picture Notes: I found this unique looking plant (Fig. 01) on 08/03/2012 while hiking the Upper Truckee River trail in Lake Tahoe. This is a popular trail for locals that leads from behind the Barton Memorial Hospital out across a large meadow behind the Hospital that is fed by the Upper Truckee River. On the other side of the meadow and the river, the trail splits off into three trails, with the main trail winding along the river as it heads south towards the Lake Tahoe Airport. Click this link for pictures and info on this hike ... Upper Truckee River Hike.
(Fig. 02)
Description: Western Salsify (Tragopogon dubius),  a.k.a. Western Goat's Beard, Wild Oysterplant, Yellow Salsify, Yellow Goat's Beard, Meadow Goat's Beard, Goat's Beard, Goatsbeard, Common Salsify, or Salsify, is a species of Salsify has become widespread since its introduction into North America. Because some of these names are also, or more commonly, used for other species of Salisfy, they are better avoided. Like most salsifies, the Western Salsify grows as an annual or occasionally biennial forb, reaching a height of typically 8-24 inches, but sometimes to almost 40 inches. It grows typically in warm, sheltered spots with moist soil. Its yellow flower is 1.5 to 2.5 inches in diameter and is likely to be seen in late spring or early summer. The yellow, dandelion-like flower heads are born singly on 12 to 40 inch stems that are swollen and hollow below the flower head. Ten or more long, narrow involucral bracts extend beyond the flowers. There are 20 to 120 ligulate flowers per head. The flowers open early in the morning and often close up by late afternoon. Later the plant forms a seed head (Fig. 02) that resembles that of a dandelion, though distinctly larger and tan in color. The bracts (leaves) of the Western Salsify which show behind the flower, a distinctive feature of salsifies, are much longer and more noticeable than they are in some of the other species of this plant. This plant can be found in range lands and pastures and is commonly seen in roadside ditches and on the edges of fields. Various parts of western salsify are consumed by wildlife. Pocket gophers feed on the roots, while other mammals such as deer, squirrels, or rabbits may bite off one or more flowering stalks.

Apache Plume (Fallugia paradoxa)

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(Fig. 01)
Picture Notes: On 10/04/12 I came across a large patch (Fig. 03) of Apache Plumes while hiking a wash that paralleled Crescent Peak Mine Road off of Nipton Road. This spring perennial with its very distinctive wispy plumes appears so delicate, that one would think that its flowers would just blow away with the slightest breeze. The beautiful close-up in (Fig. 01) above was provided by fellow hiker, Kathy Pool. Backlit by the sun (Fig. 04), its flowers look like cotton balls.
Description: The Apache plume (Fallugia paradoxa), is an erect evergreen shrub is a member of the Rose Family (Rosaceae). It has light gray or whitish peeling bark on its many thin branches
(Fig. 02)
that usually do not exceed six feet in height. The leaves are each about 3/4 inches long and deeply lobed with their edges rolled under. The upper surface of the leaf is green and hairy while the underside is duller in color and scaly. Its round, white flowers (Fig. 02), consisting of five rounded white petals with yellow centers containing many thread-like stamens and pistils, are rose-like when new. The ovary of the flower remains after the white petals fall away, leaving many plume-like lavender styles, each 3 to 5 centimeters long. The plant may be covered with these dark pinkish clusters of curling, feathery styles after flowering. These white-to-pink plumes grow from a seed-like base at the tips of tangled, slender branches and bloom between April and June and sometimes again in the fall. They can be found throughout all 4 deserts of the Southwest -- Mojave, Chihuahuan, Great Basin and Sonoran. Southeastern California and southern Nevada, to southern Colorado, west Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, to northern Mexico. They generally grow on gravelly and rocky slopes, roadsides, dry washes and hillsides between 4,000 and 8,000 feet. They prefer full sun, are extremely drought tolerant, and are hardy to minus 30 degrees. The flowers of Apache Plume attract bees and butterflies, the plants shelter wildlife, and the seeds attract birds. This is one of the showiest of the Southwestern native shrubs and really stands out when the pink, silky-plumed seed heads develop and cover the tips of the branches for many months.This plant's common name is derived from the fact that it resembles Apache war bonnets. Tewa and other native peoples used the stems of Apache Plumes to make brooms and arrow shafts.
(Fig. 03)
(Fig. 04)

Bellagio’s Botanical Garden – Spring Display

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(Fig. 01)
04/29/2013 Visit Notes: This year’s spring exhibit is titled, “Spring Celebration” and features a huge, fully operational 26-foot tall windmill mill (Fig. 01), reminiscent of those found in the flower fields of the Netherlands. It is surrounded by an array of fresh mums, poppies and tulips. Keeping in mind that spring’s the time when butterflies emerge from their cocoons, more than 800 of the winged creatures flutter inside a purpose-built 50-foot long glass greenhouse (Fig. 02). Besides being able to view the butterfly activity through the window panes (Figs. 03 thru 08), visitors can witness the transformation from pupa to butterfly thanks to TV cameras that transmit the live “action” to several large monitors. Through May 11, the conservatory will feature rotating flower displays, with nearly 8,300 plants in bloom at any one time. To add touches of whimsy, for which the gardens are famous, 17-foot-tall tulips and 22-foot-tall daffodils help herald the new season, while huge mushrooms and ladybugs cover the ground (Fig. 09). Glistening, oversized “raindrops” (Fig. 01) sprinkle “April showers” onto the gardens near the windmill, while oversized butterflies fill the skies over the remaining parts of the display area (Figs. 02 & 09). The flowers in (Figs. 10 thru 13) are but a sampling of the more than 8,300 plants in bloom throughout the gardens. Be sure to view the slideshow at the bottom of the page for more pictures.
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The slideshow below is designed to run automatically in place. Clicking anywhere in the black background area that surrounds the picture being shown will PAUSE the show and bring up the Pause, Forward and Back menu at the bottom of the slideshow window, allowing you to start, stop or manually forward pictures one at a time.

To view the slideshow full-screen, click in the middle of the running show. When the new browser window appears, click on "slideshow" button in the bottom left corner of the window.

Slideshow Description:
The slideshow above contains 37 pictures that were taken at the Bellagio's Conservatory and Botanical Garden Spring Display.

Long-nosed Leopard Lizard (Gambelia wislizenii)

My friend Harvey Smith spotted this fella as we were hiking down the Bowl of Fire Wash in the Muddy Mountain Wilderness area, adjacent to the Lake Mead Recreational Area.
Description: This is either a Long-nosed Leopard Lizard (Gambelia wislizenii), or a Large-spotted Leopard Lizard, a sub-species of the long-nosed leopard lizard. Both appear to be quite similar.  The Long-nosed Leopard Lizard is a relatively large lizard ranging from 3¼ to 6 inches (snout-vent length). It has a large head, long nose, and a long round tail that can be longer than its body. They are endangered because of habitat destruction. The lizard has granular dorsal scales that can be white, cream, or gray with irregular brown or dark gray spots along its body and head. Sometimes they have dark bars across their back. The tail also has dark bars across it. EFP-P1000982Juveniles have more highly contrasted markings compared to adults, often with rusty coloring on the back or bright red spots, and yellow on the thighs and under the tail. The male and female are different in appearance; the female being the larger of the two. Both sexes are capable of marked color changes. In its dark phase the lizard's spots are nearly hidden and light crossbars become quite obvious on both the body and the tail. In the light phase the opposite is true with the dominant color consisting of gray, pinkish, brown or yellowish brown hues. During the mating season females will develop reddish orange spots and bars on their sides and underneath the tail when gravid. Males develop pink or rusty wash on the throat, chest, and sometimes the body, during the breeding season.

They can generally be found in arid and semiarid plains growth, like bunch grass, alkali bush, sagebrush, creosote bush and other scattered low plants from sea level to around 6,000 feet, and prefer flat areas with open space for running, avoiding densely vegetated areas. The ground can be gravel, hardpan or sand. When in danger, it uses a defense mechanism known as "freeze" behavior, which means it runs underneath a bush, flattens its body against the ground and is motionless until the threat is gone, which is exactly what the one in these pictures appeared to do. Its speed and agility are major contributors to its predatory success as well as its ability to evade becoming prey. When running at rapid speeds they run with forelimbs raised. Its range includes the Western part of the United States from Oregon to Idaho in the north, south to northern Mexico. It often waits for prey in the shade of a bush where its spotted pattern blends in. They prey on small lizards, in addition to insects and sometimes rodents, like all members of the family. This lizard also is cannibalistic, eating smaller leopard lizards when the opportunity arises.

05/16/2013 Update – Yucca Peak Fossil Beds

(Fig. 01) Yucca Peak
MAP-Yucca Peak Hike
(Fig. 02) Click to Enlarge
05/16/2013 Trip Notes: While half of our group hiked to Long Canyon, six of us hiked to the fossil bed ledge. Because I have yet to take the hike to Long Canyon, I have no pictures to post for that hike; though I hope to make the hike on our next visit. As you can see from (Fig. 02) the hike to the fossil beds starts out in a slightly northwest direction across the broad wash coming down from Long Canyon. As you begin to enter the Yucca Canyon wash, the route passes a band of short cliffs on the left side of the wash that contain some interesting little caves in the cliffs. The route stays in the wash to a point past the little cliffs where a gully comes down a steep hillside (Fig. 03). As you look up this gully to the top of the ridge you can see the prominent  limestone buttress with a large cave that forms the south facing cliff at the top of the ridge-line.  Heading west on this fairly steep hillside, the route continues up the gully, moving northward (to the right) requiring a series of switchbacks to climb the many small ledges and cliffs that are at about the same elevation as the cave, eventually taking you to the top of the ridge. The view in (Fig. 01) is from the top looking west toward Yucca Peak. On a stop just before reaching this area, my first pictures of the day were of a two roadrunners (Fig. 04 & 05), one of whom had caught a lizard for breakfast. Click the following link for more info ... Greater Roadrunner.
(Fig. 03) Click to Enlarge (Notice the route in yellow)
(Fig. 04)
(Fig. 05)
Unlike my previous visit, there was much more time today to roam the top of the ridge looking for fossils (Fig. 06). In addition to finding a few fossil specimens small enough to bring home, we were able to locate dozens of  small fossils embedded into the rocks and ledges along the top of the ridge. The collage below (Fig. 07) contains twelve pictures showing some of these finds.  Taking a different route back, we hiked down a very steep wash that was filled with dozens of rocky ledges and spillovers (Fig 08). About three-quarters of the way down, my hiking partner Judy (Fig. 09) and I both had to stop and take a short rest break. Along our route down this wash we did get to pass several quite colorful plants (Figs. 10, 11 & 12). The flower in (Fig. 10) is a Petiolate Beardtongue (Penstemon petiolatus). The flower in (Fig. 11) is a Desert Larkspur (Delphinium parishii). The flower in (Fig. 12) is a Whitebract Blazingstar (Mentzelia involucrata). (Click any of these links to read more) At the bottom, as we again entered Long Canyon Wash, I spotted a Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus) sitting atop a banana yucca nearly two hundred feet away.  The shot in (Fig. 13) is the best I could do with the 20x zoom on my camera. After we climbed out of the wash at the parking area, some of our fellow hikers pointed out nearly a half dozen California Bearpoppy’s (Fig. 14) that were blooming along the sides of the wash next to the parking area. This is the first time I have seen one of these in bloom. Click here to read more about this endangered plant … Caifornia Bearpoppy.
(Fig. 06)
EFP-2013 Yucca Peak Fossils
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(Fig. 09)
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(Fig. 14)