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Wonders in the Desert

Updated: Nov 16, 2020

We did an orientation tour today. Jan fell last night, so wasn’t really up to hiking today. Instead, we drove around the area to see what we can do while we are here.

One thing we wanted to do was to find the nearest dump and water station. We were directed to Echo Bay, where there are a couple RV parks and a marina.

On the way to Echo Bay we passed a sign that said “Overton Marina”. That sounded promising, so we made the turn. A mile down the road we came to a sign CLOSED. Rats! We found out that Lake Mead has fallen to levels where the boat launch is over 1/2 mile from the water! The launch is being moved in January. So, back to the main road.

Driving along, we saw the height sign. Can you guess the purpose of it? For desert dwellers, it has great importance. In arid places, severe rain storms in the hills or mountains, even 50 miles away, can cause flash floods. If there is water flowing across the road, before deciding to drive across, look at the depth sign. A dry road can suddenly have up to 6’ of water roaring past!

After finding the dump station, we drove down to the boat launch. Looking at the walls of rock around the lake, we could see that the lake level used to be over 100’ higher. We met a couple launching their boat, and they told us that in 1998 the water was about 25’ below full, and hasn’t been anywhere near that since.

On the road from the main highway to the launch, we saw this tiny tiny fence on both sides of the road. Being curious, we stopped to take a closer look. It’s 12” high, and has another 12” on the ground, with rocks on top of this mesh fencing. These tiny fences followed the road for about 3 miles. What on earth could they be for?

There is an endangered species here that sometimes gets on the roads, getting crushed in the process. It’s the desert tortoise. These fences cost about $1 million. We didn’t see any tortoises today, but found these fences really interesting.

This part of Lake Mead is really pretty. The water has a greenish tint. The lake is fed by the Colorado River, Big Muddy, and Virgin River. The water comes here from Lake Powell through the Glen Canyon Dam. The water is clear and not too cold. We plan to come back soon and paddle around in our kayak.

The other place we will see while here is the Valley of Fire. Lots to see while we are here. The weather is just perfect, in the 60’s by day, and low 40’s at night. And so the adventure continues!

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