Friday, February 25, 2022

Bowl of Fire, Lake Mead NRA, NV

Hiked on Sunday, February 20. This was Presidents Day weekend. I drove up on a Saturday, and goofed around some with my cell phone. Those are the last two shots of this post.
Parked at Hole 29 and stuck my cell phone (Samsung S21) on a tripod. Used Pro mode to take 30 second exposures at ISO 800. Decent results, if you view it on a cell phone. If you zoom in, things are pretty grainy, though.
Sunday morning, I had chores to do, and didn't go hiking until the afternoon. Still got a good bit of walking in, enough to hit my step target.
Parked the same place as for this hike. That was from just under a year ago.
Funny thing is, if you download the Alltrails route, then just want to wander, it keeps sending you a notification to check to see if you've lost the route.
But I wanted to wander, to see different areas from last time. I think I could do a number of more wandering trips in the area. It's not very large, but there are lots of protrusions to separate the Bowl of Fire into smaller chunks.
It's a great place to wander. Lots of narrow fins of sandstone to see. Small arches. Overhanging rocks. Very cool.
There are some slot canyons among the sandstone. I leaned over the edge and snapped a picture down into one small tank. Used my voice-activation on the shutter.
Helpful if you don't want to risk fumbling your phone while holding it over a big drop!
Hadn't realized that Samsung has had that feature on a lot of their phones for quite some time.
I used the same feature when I had the phone on my tripod. That let me take photos without inducing any vibrations.
First night sky shot is looking north, with the Big Dipper and Cassiopia on either side of Polaris. The second is a tighter shot, with Orion to the left and the Pleiades to the right. Fun toy, but obviously not as shart as a dslr. Some Lightroom for mobile processing, to darken the sky.

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Moapa Valley National Wildlife Refuge and Warm Springs Natural Area, Nevada

Visited on Saturday, January 15, 2022.

Located about one hour north of Las Vegas, these two adjacent properties protect the headwaters of the Muddy River, and comprise restored habitat for two native fishes: the Moapa White River springfish and the Moapa dace.

Both were endemic to these watersheds, but became endangered to exotic species introductions. They are mostly isolated to these headwaters, now, where warm water springs seep to the surface.

Near the very headwaters, themselves, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has built some glass-sided viewing areas, where you can see these fish in their restored habitat.

The available walkable area, even between these two sites, is pretty minimal, so you probably don't want to build your entire day around a visit out here. But if you're already heading to other wildlife refuges to the northwest of Las Vegas, or coming back from Valley of Fire or points northwest, this is a nice stop. Vault toilets and picnic tables are available, here.

It's usually pretty lonely around here. When we arrived, there was only one car in the fair-sized dirt parking lot for the wildlife refuge, but the small paved lot for Warm Springs (Southern Nevada Water Authority, SNWA) was overflowing. By the time I finished walking around Warm Springs, however, that lot was completely empty.

In the Wildlife Refuge, there's a short trail to an overlook, as well as a board walk and trail among the headwaters and palms. There are wider and longer trails among the SNWA lands, that winds among the creek, and passes several points of interest. There's a slight change in elevation as you go away from the parking lot and return. Still, altogether, it would be hard to spend more than an hour walking, unless you're really there to try to bird watch.

Not a lot of birds to see when I was there. I assume there are specific seasons when they visit, or maybe more when it's hot, and the water is more welcoming to the local birdlife.

To get here from Las Vegas, you'd take I-15 north, to exit 90. That's NV-168. Head west for 7.1 miles to Warm Springs Road (sign for the Wildlife Refuge -- The other brown signs along this road were for entering or leaving the Moapa Indian Reservation). Turn left. Low speed limit, here, and pretty narrow, but still paved.

The entry for Moapa Valley Wildlife Refuge will be on your left. The entry for Warm Springs is on the right, just a bit further down the road. You can easily leave your car in one lot and walk to the other location, though you may choose to drive, if you want your car and ice chest near where you are, when you decide to picnic.