I went out for a wonderful mid-day hike with Howard Booth and Ursula Wilson, in the Nelson area southeast of Boulder City. Though I’d hiked a little in the area, and had often gone there for spring wildflower displays, I’d never been to the area we went, Bridge Spring Canyon and Oak Creek Canyon. Bridge Spring Canyon of course has a bridge, a natural rock arch over a waterway (bridges span waterways, arches don’t), a seep below, and quite a lot of oaks (Quercus turbinella). We then went over a ridge and into Oak Creek Canyon, which has no creek except after rains, and only scattered oaks in damp or shady areas. I forget when I’m away from the desert how much I enjoy being out in the clean air with distant views and wonderful close-in details. Though I thought I might go back to Sacramento early, this hike reminded me that I won’t give up any days in the desert. Thanks, as always, to Howard for these days out.
On Tuesday, December 28, Howard Booth took me on a hike to a place he has named Owl Canyon. It is off the Lakeshore Rd in Lake Mead National Recreation Area, on the north end of the River Mountains. We parked at one of the lake views just before Vegas Wash, dropped down and across one wash, and took the next one north. It gradually narrows up into a conglomerate slot canyon, heading west into the River Mountains. It passes through culverts deep beneath the new highway and then the old highway, and then gradually opens out again into a broad wash heading into the mountains. We walked to a point just past a major cliff, at which point the wash opens out again. It is surprising how far the wash goes into the mountains. We walked about 4 miles and we did not reach the crest.
The wash bottom in the narrows has been quite scoured by the recent rains, and all along the length of the wash there are signs of erosion and deposition.
There are some flowers out already: rayless encelia (?), encelia (?), Indian tobacco, ground cherry, and burro brush (just one). I’m rusty on my flowers, so take these IDs with a grain of salt. The wash bottom is quite green with grass and herbs, so it would seem to suggest a good to great flower year.
It is always a pleasure to be out with Howard, talking about old times and flowers and geology and politics. Our previous hike was in April, on the other side of the River Mountains near Boulder City.
I hiked on Sunday with Joe Herbst and Howard Booth in the Bowl of Fire area, off the North Shore Road of Lake Mead NRA. This was the first time the three of us have been together in… well, not sure, but well more than 10 years. I see Joe at least once a year, and Howard at least twice a year, but this was a long-overdue reunion.
We drove up Calville Wash to the end, then hiked around and through the Bowl of Fire, and back to the car. The day was perfect, blue skies, warm temperatures with a breeze that kept it from being hot, and none better company.
On November 20, a small group of people joined to celebrate Howard Booth’s receipt of the John Muir Award. We hiked north from Mountain Springs to a point above the sandstone bluffs, enjoyed talking about hiking and backpacking trips going back 40 years, looked at the peak register with some old names in it, and wrapped it up with a beer at the Mountain Springs bar. That evening, we gathered for dinner at Lance & Lorelle’s, joined by the Pitchfords and my mom Ruth Allison, for more fun.