Saturday, February 20, 2016

There's No Day Like Snow Day

Boulder City, NV
Death Valley, CA - Badwater Super Bloom
While we've been in the Vegas area these last few months Joan & I joined a group called Desert Wranglers; a jeep club we found on the Meet Up website. Late last year we joined a group of 30 jeeps taking a drive into Death Valley. Last weekend we met up with a much smaller group of 10 jeeps to tackle Wheeler Pass. Wheeler Pass is just west of Las Vegas in the same range of mountains as Mt Charleston.
There is a road/trail from Indian Springs across the mountains into Pahrump. We met on Friday morning around 9am and headed off road into a BLM managed area. Almost as soon as we were off road we started to see patches of snow along the trail side. We stopped a couple of  miles in to 'air down' and the entire area had a shallow coating of snow left over from a storm that had crossed the range about 10 days earlier. Once aired down we starting climbing towards the pass and the snow started getting deeper. The temps were dropping out of the low 50's on the highway into the 40's as we climbed.

A couple of the jeeps were having a difficult time with some of the deeper snow along the trail. At a couple of spots the snow was at least a foot and a half deep. We were 2nd in line behind the trail master and at one point he had to back up to assist another jeep through a challenging slippery climb. Once the group completed this climb Joan and I had the lead for a mile or two until a location presented itself for him to pass everyone. The snow kept getting deeper and the temps kept dropping until we were in the 30's about 200 yards short of the crest. The lead jeep made the initial climb towards the top of the pass only to find drifts 4'-5' deep at the top. Because of the difficulty of the climb and the fact that several jeeps were stock, the trail master determined that the group would not attempt to drive any further. Even though we were disappointed when we had to turn around, we still had a great trip and really enjoyed our 1st jeep foray in the snow.

A couple of days later Joan celebrated her 3rd anniversary. That's right, the 3rd anniversary of her 20th birthday! And to celebrate she flew to Seattle for a weekend with one of her best friends Terri.

See any similarities?

Terri's birthday is the day before Joan's and for years they have been getting together for a joint birthday celebration. When I hear about all of the adventures the 2 of them have had celebrating birthdays over the years, this is what I think of.....

That's right....candlelight, cake and Scrabble!

This year they stayed overnight at a B&B in Washington; checked out a Fish Hatchery as a potential volunteer opportunity for our future travels; ate out at a winery and a sushi bar; and what get-together would be complete without a Scrabble marathon between the two of them!

A couple of days ago at Lake Mead we were called upon to do a little repair work to some park barricades. In a couple of locations barricades had been either torn down or washed out in some narrow washes.

We utilized a portable generator and impact drill to replace eye bolts mounted in the stone to hold the barrier cables. The scenery was nice, the weather comfortable and this work was a little bit of a change; something new.

Joan with her tools

We also volunteered to assist in collection of fish 'larvae' for the hatchery. This time of year the razorback sucker fish are spawning and each week baby razorbacks are caught for study and for maturing in the hatchery. We left Boulder City about an hour before sundown to drive south to Lake Mojave. We loaded up on one of the park boats just before dark and took a short ride to a nearby cove.

Me 'reeling' in a big one!

Once it was dark, we dropped small lights into the water and within seconds dozens of the small fish were swimming towards the light. The fish are so small (less than 1/2 inch) we had to use aquarium nets to catch them. We caught a total of 450 in a little over an hour. Another nifty job, seeing another aspect of the work done in the park....and the stars were something really special to behold out on the lake!

Last week while driving through the park we spotted the small herd of wild horses that frequents the area around Red Stone at mile marker 25 in Lake Mead.

Yesterday we took a drive to Death Valley to see the 'super bloom' that occurs some years when conditions are right. Once we got to Furnace Creek we drove about 40 miles south into the park before taking a 15 mile drive up into Warm Springs Canyon. We turned around at an old mining sight before making several stops to take pictures of the bloom.

In  honor of her 'anniversary' Joan is working to meet 60 new people this year. Shout out to Kelly and Adam, #'s 1 & 2. And we have plans to meet 3 & 4 Sunday, and 5 & 6 Wednesday night;  new couples that RV that we've not met in person as yet. So if you're a reader of our blog...and we've yet to meet in person, please don't hesitate to look us up if you're in our area this year!

Well, that's it for now. Stay Tuned. More to Come.