We had the pleasure of visiting the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve in Henderson, NV. It's a great spot to visit if you enjoy bird watching. The preserve is made up of 9 ponds that are the evaporating ponds of the City's Wastewater Reclamation Facility. The Wastewater Reclamation Facility, operates to treat wastewater and meet water quality standards. It then uses the treated water to irrigate golf courses and highway medians or discharges the treated water into the Las Vegas Wash and Lake Mead. In the process of all of this, the city unwittingly created habitat that appeals to birds..
Birds we saw while at the preserve:
A crisp, cool, fall day is a perfect day to take a hike up Nevada's Sentinel Peak (known to locals as Turd Peak). Located in the Pine Forest Range, Sentinel Peak offers gorgeous views of the Black Rock Desert, the Jackson Range, the Black Rock Range and the surrounding Pine Forest Range.
The sky narrows to a ribbon as we enter the canyon. We have walked up from the eastern edge of the canyon, out in the Mud Meadows southeast of Soldier Meadows, where we have spent the morning volunteering to restore habitat for the desert dace. The work finished for the day, we leave the group to explore into Fly Canyon. The canyon was created when a natural dam holding back High Rock Lake gave way and unleashed a torrent of water that carved the steep walls and drilled holes, known as "potholes," in the canyon bottom. Read more about this at the Friends of the Black Rock/High Rock geology page.
From the distance, the canyon is unassuming, but as we near it reveals itself, a massive slice through a high ridge. We scramble down and the narrow steep walls envelop us. Twisted rock forms abound while puffy high desert clouds cross the ribbon of sky. We enter farther and the canyon deepens. We start to have to work our way around potholes, smooth and deep pools of unmoving water. Finally we are turned back by a rickety ladder climbing from one level to another and the lateness of the day.
We'll be back Fly Canyon! It is easily accessed from roads heading east from the main Soldier Meadows road. We camped at the Soldier Meadows Hot Springs, which had led to a long soak and many encounters with red spider mites, which left this writer pocked for a couple of weeks after our excursion, so be careful.
This is a doubly basin and range post because it's the basin and range and it's nearly at the boundaries of the Basin and Range National Monument. We first arrived on our bicycles from Ely after a long day's ride into a stiff headwind through Lund (about the only other shade we found), but when we made it out to Hot Creek it all washed away. It is a fast-moving hot springs creek with crystalline water, An idyll. The Kirch in the name is Kirch Wildlife Management Area, of which Hot Creek is a part. There is a big campground about a mile or so away. We spent a full day there and there are also cool water bodies to explore and plenty of sun to hide from out in the big basin.
The Hot Creek Refugium area has been designated as critical habitat for the Moorman White River springfish, so enjoy your use but please treat the area with care and respect!
Taking time to find a spot that has an immense and lonely view of this pale blue dot of ours. Few places in the contiguous U.S. has such opportunities for solitude and remote expanses as the Basin and Range region.
This is the Basin and Range Project blog’s 1000th post! In order to celebrate this occasion we’ve started putting together a (very long!) list of some of our favorite places around the region. While we’ve whittled it down to 10 for this post, this is not a top 10 list, nor is it ordered in any real way, it is just some places that we love among the many many places there are to love in the Basin and Range.
1. Thousand Creek Gorge, Nevada
At the northeastern edge of the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge south of Highway 140, Thousand Creek Gorge had to be the first place to mention when celebrating our 1000th post!
2. Wet Beaver Creek, Arizona
This little oasis of a camping spot was such a wonderful relief on our Arizona bike tour that we stayed an extra rest day and enjoyed lounging along the creek shade, watching schools of fish in the crystal clear water, and just plain lazing about before hitting the bikes again to turn west toward Prescott.
3. Kirch State Wildlife Management Area, Nevada
The highlight of these wetlands and reservoirs for us, as bike tourers, was Hot Creek, a warm (not really hot), crystal clear flowing stream. The areas many lakes/reservoirs are also popular with anglers and birdwatchers. We spent a day here on our Eastern Nevada bike tour and then, before heading east into the South Egan Mountains, had one last dip before getting back on our bikes.
4. Cathedral Gorge, Nevada
We stumbled across this little gem of a state park when we were moving all the way across the country. Wandering in among its formations is an ethereal experience. The formations are caused by erosion of soft bentonite clay.
5. King Lear Peak, Nevada
This desert peak is a true landmark, visible from hundreds of square miles around and with a very distinctive pyramidal silhouette. With amazing rock gardens and spring wildflowers, it was an amazing climb from the eastern side. It is possible to climb from both sides, but this is a big desert peak, so do your research before climbing!
6. Soldier Creek, Nevada
In the northern Ruby Mountains, this creek and its headwater lakes are a spectacular and less well known visit in these popular mountains.
7. Warner Mountains, California
From the crest of the Warners looking west one is standing literally on the edge of the Great Basin and the Basin and Range.
8. Cave Lake, Nevada
This state park on a reservoir has great access to the Egan Mountains, the Schell Mountains, Great Basin National Park, and much more. Although a popular destination with locals, our campsite was private and beautiful. And the camp host boomed off a cannon on one of the nights we were there.
9. Dry Diamond Creek, New Mexico
Was not dry when we arrived during our Gila Loop bicycle tour. Some passers by said that it usually was, so we basked in the water and enjoyed a beautiful afternoon watching thunderstorms to the south.
10. Reno area petroglyphs, Nevada
The area around Reno boasts great petroglyphs sites: Lagomarsino, the largest petroglyph collection in Nevada, and to the north in the Pah Rah range. It is such a wonder to look at this ancient art, to appreciate its beauty and to wonder about its meaning.
What are some of your favorite spots in the Basin and Range? Thanks so much for reading and here’s to another thousand awesome places (and blog posts!).
Here in northern Nevada today the weather is a bit frightful, which makes me dream of snow and the amazingly beautiful days that come with the white, fluffy, cold stuff once it's on the ground.
So, for today's photo Friday, I was reminded of the day pictured above. It was one of those amazing days. There was an inversion, all gray and socked in down in the city, but once you climbed up into the mountains the sun shown bright and it was a gorgeous day. The sun and inversion led to this awesome ghostbow also known as a fogbow--a white "rainbow," where the water droplets in the fog are too small to refract the amount of light necessary to create a normal, colorful rainbow, but refracts enough light to make a white fogbow..
Such a fun and wonderful sight to see!
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