I arried at the Red Rock Canyon Campground at about 4PM and the temperature was about 70F. By the time that I had checked in and set up my tent, the sun had dropped behind the mountain and the temperature had dropped to about 50F. Stayed warm enough overnight though that I was able to sleep comfortably with just the insect mesh covering the doorway. This also alloed me to look outside and see the stars that were visible. This is definitely not a dark sky zone with the 24/7 glitter of Las Vegas not far away.
This campground is definitely a tent friendly location. Each of the sites has a raised bed of fine gravel which provides a flat, quick draining surface which is relatively peg friendly. Although rainy days don’t come often in this desert environment when the rain does come, it can be torrential in nature even if short lived. A more frequent occurrence is the high desert winds which can whip up the dust and dislodge tents that are not firmly held in place. At the Red Rock Canyon campsite the planners included eye bolts around the periphery of the tent pad so it is possible to lash one’s tent firmly in place if adverse weather threatens
THe Red Rock Canyon campground is close to the western outskirts of Las Vegas and can be reached by taking a left hand turn at the fire station road about one mile from the large rock sign that announces that you are entering the RR Canyon refuge. There is a campground sign for those heading east on Hwy 159 but not for those heading west on this same highway. THere might have been one but I didn’t see one.
The campground’s location is within cycling distance of Calico Basin as well as the easy to reach main loop. I had visited the main loop on previous visits to the area so decided today to visit Calico Basin before heading to the airport to greet the paddlers whose kayaks I had been transporting.
Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge, Alamo, Nevada
This refuge consists of an upper Pahranagat Lake, a lower Pahranagat Lake and a stretch of marshland in between the two lakes as well as the surrounding lands. There are 14 rustic campsites along the east edge of the upper lake. I had read about this location before leaving home so was happy to eventually get there and set up my tent even though it was after dark when I arrived. The glow of the Las Vegas lights a hundred miles away silhouetted the intervening hills that surround the lake area.
There is not a lot to see in nearby Alamo, Nevada but there is a store and gas station which provide all of the necessities and then some. A surprising variety of grocery items is available from the store including many fresh baked items for the early morning riser. There is no potable water available at the Pahranagat campsite so a trip to the Alamo store for water is a good idea. Of course, those freshly baked cinnamon buns can also be very tempting.
At this time of the year, Pahranagat Lake is home to large flocks of ducks including Mallards, teal, red heads and a collection of American coots. Roadways and trails provide the birder or hiker with an easy way to walk around the whole circumference of the lake. It was a nice walk on a sunny day with temperatures a pleasant 55F. I was treated to a fly-over by a Red-Tailed Hawk and then a Bald Eagle perched for an extended photoshoot opportunity.
I only stayed at this location for one night and then enjoyed a half day of exploring before heading for the campground at Red Rock Canyon near Las Vegas, Nevada
Graeme and I are now both back from our recent travels in the Southwest USA states of Nevada, Arizona and California. We encountered rain in Las Vegas, a snow storm on Mount Charleston, a sand storm in Death Valley, overcast skies in Phoenix and plenty of blue skies and balmy weather. As time permits we will be uploading more images from these travels on a retroactive basis by date. At the moment, my efforts are more focused on tracing the whereabouts of one of my parcels entrusted to UPS in Arizona but not quite trackable despite having paid extra $$$ for a tracking number. This current UPS incident makes the final image in today’s blog entry rather ironic but I’m hopeful that the missing item can be found and then I will be able to turn more of my attention back to the photo uploading process.
Graeme on his way through the underground tunnel in Detroit – the airport architects should be commended on the way in which they designed this tunnel and its lighting to add enjoyment to what could be a long boring, claustrophobic walk from terminal to terminal. Continue reading →
While Graeme started off the week at the NABshow, I headed off into the surrounding mountains to look for some insects and birds to photograph. Found myself a snow storm instead (photos to follow when back at my desk). The next day we decided that a trip to Death Valley might be a fun thing to do, so off we went. The wind was blowing hard enough that Graeme found himself in the center of a mini-sandstorm at the Death Valley sand dunes (his photos will follow when he’s back at his desk). With all of these potential photo files to store, it was off to the Drobo exhibit and a lively discussion of their storage options. Lots of other things to see so it will be a busy few hours.
Nevada Adventures – Red Rock Canyon – Calico Hills
Anyone who visits Red Rock Canyon will immediately fall in love with the colorful red sandstone outcropping known as Calico Hills. The Calico Hills were formed 180 million years ago when a very large area of sand dunes much like the sand dunes of the Sahara Desert of today were gradually infiltrated by water carrying calcium carbonate which fused with the sand granules to form the colourful sandstone hills visible today. The smooth lines and the multiple shapes reflect the movement of the sand in these ancient sands and many crossbeds can be seen throughout the sandstone structure reflecting the time when drifting sand being blown from different direction settled on top of older sand beds in the lee of towering hills of sand.
When we arrived at our hotel (Stratosphere Hotel and Casino) the night before, we were told that we had arrived after 6PM so a Deluxe room had not been held for us. The staff at the registration counter apparently didn’t have any deluxe rooms available so we got a downgrade to a smaller room with a “limited” view of the mountains – not a great way to start off a six day relationship with a customer. The next day, they found us a better room for the rest of our stay, but that took time and time is not one of those commodities that a traveler wants to waste. Based on this initial night’s reception at the front desk, I would not add this hotel to my highly recommended list.
Graeme and I are once again travelling the world, this time we are heading towards the South West United States as Graeme wanted to go to NABShow (National Association of Broadcasters Show) in Las Vegas.