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Posts tagged ‘Watsons Wander’

Anticipating Good Times At Lake Mead

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Our spot in the clearing

Yesterday Kelly and I arrived to Lake Mead National Recreation Area, and once again we find ourselves visiting a national park.  It appears that our woes with the recent government shutdown are now a fading memory, as this time, we were welcomed to these government lands with open arms.

Our good pals and fellow Airstreaming couples Tim & Amanda and Brian & Leigh who live, work, and travel full-time in their respective homes on wheels are also here.  Seeking warmer winter temperatures found closer to the 35th latitude this time of year, both couples have retreated to the desert southwest for the winter and graciously invited Kelly and me down for the week to join them.

Despite our location being essentially in the middle of nowhere, Lake Mead offers its visitors an incredibly hospitable desert camping experience.  With its relatively close proximity to the other city that never sleeps,  this location affords us certain ‘roughing-it’  luxuries such as super fast broadband internet, a handful of over-the-air digital HD television channels, and as of mid-day today, clear ocean-blue skies to warm the air and pump plenty of sun-rays into our solar panels.

The invite definitely seemed like a good opportunity to spend a few days working remotely before enjoying the long Thanksgiving weekend with friends.  Suffice it to say, we quickly accepted.

A bit tired from the long drive and with rain in the air, we mostly hung out yesterday, but today took advantage of the great weather with a few hours of hiking followed by an potluck dinner at our trailer.

We love hanging-out with these guys and are looking forward to a very promising, food-filled, few days.

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Late morning stroll to the water

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Hiking the trail

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More hiking

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Our home for the week

Nearing the End

Sadly, today is our last day in the desert – tomorrow we are departing this lovely place we’ve come to like a lot.  We have an appointment early Saturday morning in Los Banos, some 430 miles to the north.  In order to break the drive into more manageable chunks, we’ve decided to begin the trek in the morning.  My guess is we’ll drive at least half way, perhaps a bit more … there is no rush, so the day will end whenever it feels right doing so.

In an attempt to squeeze one last gasp of fun into our time here today, we wandered into the eastern portion of the park to checkout the Vista del Malpais area.

Access road

Access road

The road in from the highway follows the desert floor along a series of short washouts before approaching serious steep descents into a wash section. We drove into the modest wash sections, but decided not to push our luck with the more serious off-road sections.  Unlike the recreational off-roading commonplace to the area, we need the truck to pull our home … getting stuck or risking damage is simply out of the question.

End of the drive, we hike from here.

End of the drive, we hike from here.

No matter, we hiked into the canyon floor with Lilly.

Lilly loves to climb

Lilly loves to climb

As you make your way into the more pronounced sections of the wash floor, the sand is quite thick and the walls become more and more vertical around you.  From what I could tell, it would be quite accessible hiking in the bad-land off-shoots anywhere along the way.

Washouts eroding the valley walls

Washouts eroding the valley walls

Desert flora eventually succumbs to erosion as well

Desert flora eventually succumb to erosion as well

The place is very cool and I definitely would have loved to have a more capable 4×4 vehicle to use for deeper exploration.  Maybe some day.

The view from above the washouts

The view from above the washouts

Kelly and me enjoying the views and warm weather

Kelly and me enjoying the views and warm weather

Once we returned back to camp, a few departure preparations were completed before Kelly and I had dinner with Tim & Amanda one final time.

Making time for the weekly haircut

Making time for my weekly haircut

We drank some champagne (which was originally intended for New Year’s Eve but never consumed) and a potluck style array of eats.  It’s been great spending some extended time with and getting to know more about the Watsons – they are both good eggs for sure.  A super casual evening in the company of really nice people.