Spring

Colorado River, 2009

Before this was created, you had to drive over Hoover Dam to get to Arizona from Las Vegas. It was a terrible traffic bottleneck but kind of a cool experience. It opened this winter, and before it did, they let pedestrians and bikes use it for a day. I was sad to not be there.

The canyon below it is full of slot canyons with wonderful hot springs, flowing into the placid (thanks to the dam) Colorado.

This is not Death Valley

 

Death Valley is to the back of ┬áthe picture-taker. It’s far more lovely.

Sequoia

 

They’re big!

Great Basin National Park

Walker Lake

West-Central Nevada has two economic drivers that have significantly impacted Walker Lake: Cantaloupes and the US Navy. Walker Lake, one of the remnants of Lake Lahontan and one of the two places Lahontan Cutthroat Trout live, is about 90 miles southeast of Reno. It’s been relentlessly tapped for agriculture, and since the late 1800s, its level has dropped 125ft- all so you can enjoy your Nevada-grown cantaloupes. ┬áThe salinity of the lake has increased and it’s unlikely that its charismatic trout species will be able to survive there much longer. Also, there’s quite a bit of unexploded ordinance in the lake. The US Army has a huge munitions stockpile to the south in the town of Hawthorne, a grim desert town that greets passers-by on US95 with patriotically painted missiles. It used to be run by the Navy, which explains the dumb rumor that there was submarine testing in the lake during the cold war.

Bison

The Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge was established by Teddy Roosevelt over 100 years ago. The bison herd there was started with buffalo that were brought in from a New York zoo.