Wednesday, December 17, 2014

First Time to Lake Mead

There is so much to do in the Lake Mead area that a week just isn’t enough time, especially when a couple of those days are lost to some kind of stomach virus.  Call it food poisoning or the flu, it is no fun at all being sick in a 400 square foot trailer. Despite this set back we made the most of it with hiking, boating and sightseeing.

The trip from Salt Lake took about 5 ½ hours and three states. The terrain was ever changing with several mountain summits in Utah followed by a long descent into the absolutely stunning Virgin River area of Arizona before entering Nevada into North Las Vegas and then the Lake Mead National Park from the north entrance.

We had originally planned on staying at Boulder Beach Campground for 2 days and spending the rest of our time at Stewart Point boondocking area but at only $10.00 a night, we just could not leave the Boulder Beach. It is a great campground with a lot of beautifully landscaped, large pull through or back in sites and clean bathrooms.

Campsite #45 at Boulder Beach
 We met up with our friends, Steve and Joan (FOSJ), who are work camping in Lake Mead for the winter and we headed into Boulder City for dinner. Boulder City is located about 20 minutes from Boulder Beach Campground. I would say it is broken into two sections, the older quaint section with shops and restaurants and the new section with grocery stores, gas stations and food chains. If for some reason you don’t find what you are looking for there, it is just a short 15 minute drive to the Henderson and Las Vegas are where casinos and restaurants abound. We drove through the area looking at Christmas lights and stopped to visit a cactus garden that was decorated for the holidays.
I would not want to pay this electric bill!

The Cactus Garden was decorated for Christmas

 We spent the next day hiking and our first hike was to the Anniversary Mines/Lovell Wash Narrows, a beautiful slot canyon hike. In addition to Steve and Joan, we were joined by fellow full-timers Herb and Kristina.  We started this adventure parking near the mouth of an old mine. In addition to this historic mine they actively mining Colemanite while we were there. We found several pieces of Colemanite, it is a type of a crystal that is used for many things after mined. One of the more popular uses is in the manufacturing of heat resistant glass. After exploring the mine, we hiked up a  winding narrow slot canyon. The canyon was formed by water flowing and eroding the limestone and mudstone layers which created these incredible canyons and surrounding formations.  Although totally dry while we were there, there is evidence of the power of the water that occasionally flows through the canyon. Boulders weighing more than a ton are pushed around like pebbles when the water is at full force. As you walk through the canyon you are just in awe of the beauty and force of nature in this area and hope a sudden rain storm does not erupt overhead!

Barb and Steve in the mine


Another smaller mine we found
 We followed that up with several short hikes in Nevada’s oldest State Park, Valley of Fire. Joan had timed this hike for the late afternoon and the rock formations and coloration were absolutely stunning. You can see how this valley got its name with all the brilliant red rock! The scenery was indescribable and the pictures really do not do it justice. We visited Atlatl Rock were there are several areas with petroglyphs over 3000 years old.  An Atlatl is an ancient spear throwing weapon, some of which are depicted in the petroglyphs. As you view these petroglyphs you cannot help but wonder about the people who made them and what life was like for them back then.



Steve & Joan at Valley of Fire
Daisy chill'in on a rock ledge
Being this is our first time in the desert, we spent a lot of time looking at different plants. Most of the plants were some form of cactus, it is amazing how many different varieties there are! We had our first experience with Creosote trees, definitely a smelly tree!


No one can come to Lake Mead without a trip to Hoover Dam! Barb and I took a small walk on one of our down days and walked the new bridge as well as the dam itself. Both are amazing structures, you can't help but think about the architecture that went into each.

Prior to coming down to Lake Mead Barb and I had ordered a Sea Eagle 465 ordered from Tim at InflatableBoats4Less. This is a 15’ inflatable boat that we plan to take along on our journeys for adventuring and fishing. One of our goals for this trip was to get it out on the water to test it out. Although we only got out in it for a very short time, we are very pleased with this purchase. It was easy to set up, very stable and easy to paddle. I can’t wait to get out in it for a little longer!

Overall it was a great trip, it was unfortunate we lost a couple days to our illness, it would have been nice to do some biking and get on a few more hikes. It was great to see Joan and Steve again as well as meet a few other fellow fulltimers. We will definitely be back to this area to explore some more but it is time for us to get back to Salt Lake for Christmas!


  1. Great movie! Can't wait till we learn to do that. We may be calling for online lessons.

    Had a great time with you guys sorry we had to spend a few days being sick. Don't forget to route through Alabama if possible Hope you have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year and we may see you in January.

    1. We definitely have Alabama on our list! We have so many pictures we had a hard time picking the ones to put in the blog. Have fun in Florida!

  2. Glad you got to visit Lake Mead. Sorry to hear you lost a few days being sick. Isn't amazing how much there is to do in the area. Our week stay turned into a month and we still have hikes and Jeep roads we didn't get to. We'll definitely be back again, also. Glad you got to spend time with Joan and Steve. They were one of our reasons to stop in the area. We hadn't seen them in awhile. They are always great fun.

    Have a great holiday in Salt Lake City!!

    1. We wished we could have stayed longer, next year we are going to plan a little longer stay.

      Have a great holiday yourself!

  3. Looks like a great area! We are headed that way in Feb. or at least we think we will be, who knows with all this freedom. Whoo hoo! A Sea eagle! We'll need a full review when you get more time to play in it.

    1. It is a very nice area indeed, you will enjoy it. We are hoping to use the Sea Eagle in Florida on some of those backwater canals for some sightseeing and fishing.

      Have a great holiday!