Monday, October 27, 2008

Bullhead City, AZ; Laughlin, NV; and Kathrine's Landing

The next gathering was at Kathrine's Landing, Lake Mojave. This is just north or Bullhead City, AZ, and Laughlin, NV. While there we only did a short hike and 2 kayaks. I only went on the river kayak, choosing to bow out of the lake kayak. Out short hike was out to Grapevine Canyon on Christmas Tree Pass.

Now as I heard the story of how Christmas Tree Pass got its name, back in the 1800s, as people traveled west, they would leave something attached to a tree on the summit of the pass. Over time the tree was loaded with all the things people left and it came to be known as Christmas Tree Pass. Sounds reasonable, so it probably is true. Now Grapevine Canyon was so named since there are lots of petroglyphs. But as you can see, I wonder just how much is maybe more current scratchings. But then, although interesting, I wonder what people will think of our grafitti in 200 years.

Petroglyphs at Grapevine Canyon

Sundance and his band

The biggest part of this gathering was the dancing. Some went dancing 5 nights, some of us only 3 nights. One evening we had over 30 of our group at the dance club. We found a cowboy, named Sundance, who was playing at the Regency. He was singing Karaoke at another club when we first saw him. So many of our group went to listen on Friday and Saturday night. Now this club was an older casino, no hotel, the restaurant was closed, and only slot machines, no tables. I believe we provided more buisness for them those 2 nights than they have seen in the past 6 months.

Line Dancing

Kayaking the Colorado River

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fremont Experience and Red Rock Canyon

Our last day we went hiking at Red Rock Canyon, a National Recreation Area south of Las Vegas. One of the hikes we took was to La Madre Spring. It is one of a very few year round springs in this area, so of course, lots of wildlife come here. Although we didn't see anything but a large tarantula, I'm sure there are more wildlife than this who come drink from this spring.

Here I am cooling my feet.

And of course there were red rocks to climb. Here I am climbing to the top of this hill.

One night while at Boulder Beach a group of us went into Downtown Las Vegas, to Fremont Street for the Fremont Experience. I suggest if you have a chance, ditch the strip and try Fremont St. the next time you are in Vegas. It boasts the largest TV screen in the world. For 2 blocks, Fremont St. is covered over by a large TV screen, which at night they light up for the Fremont Experience. Every hour they show a short 15 minute film on this huge canopy above the street. I know this picture doesn't do it justice, but it was an experience. I forgot my camera, so this was taken with my cell phone.

They also have bands and a sax player, and even motorcyclists riding their bikes around in a small cage. A combination street carnival and gambling all in one. But we did have a great prime rib dinner for only $7.95.

Someone wanted to see a picture of the tarantula. So here it is!

Kayak Games

On Saturday morning at Boulder Beach, we had kayak games. One was a duck race. Everyone had a small rubber ducky and we all lined up and at the signal we started towards the finish line. We had to get our rubber duckies down to the finish line using only our paddles. No touching the duck. Well, I guess I'm just a little competive, because I WON!!!!

The Duck Race

We also did some kayak training. We all had to tip ourselves over and try to get back in the kayak while in deep water. The trick was to pull yourself up and over the back of the kayak. I had canoe safety training as a volunteer and knew the concept, but it is harder than it looks. Here I am attempting to climb back in.

Problem was, my kayak filled with water when I tipped, so I ended up taking the kayak back to shore to tip it over and empty it of water.

I finally got it over, but when the kayak tipped, so did I.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Boulder Beach

  • We also did other things while at Boulder Beach, such as some hiking and biking and kayaking. Some of us even went to Vegas. There is an Historic Railroad Trail which goes from a trailhead on Lakeshore Dr, to Hoover Dam. Of course it follows the old railroad bed, which brought supplies in while they where building Hoover Dam. The last train ran in 1961 and shortly after they tore out the rails. It is 3.5 miles one way. It is another 2 miles one way from our campground. One day I biked the trail, and the next day I hiked the trail (from the trailhead only).

We saw bighorn sheep while on the bike ride.

Here is a view towards the first of five tunnels you go through on the trail.

And here is below Hoover Dam.

The day we arrived was a full moon. I learned that a true full moon only happens when the moon rises at the same time the sun sets. It was a great night for a moonlight kayak. And of course we were all hungry, so we went for a prime rib buffett at a nearby casino.

One day Max and I drove into Vegas, the Strip, just to see what had changed. Lots of construction going on and new casinos going and many old casinos are gone. The Frontier, which used to be next to Circus Circus, is now a thing of the past, as is Aladdin. We parked at Bills Casino (used to be Barbary Coast), and walked up to the Venetian where we saw the actors above singing and performing. Then we walked across to Caesar's Palace and watched a show there. And of course we had to stroll through Las Vegas's Margaritaville. But the show we really came into town to see was the Star Trek Experience, which we found out closed Sep 1, 2008.


The highlight of the Boulder Beach gathering was the Murder Mystery "Margaritaville", put on by 20 of our WIN members. I think most everyone had more fun picking out their costumes at the local thrift shop, than actually performing in the play. If none of you have ever attended a murder mystery before (I hadn't), then listen up. You are given a part with a characterization and some objectives which you are to perform, such as: I was as new honeymooner and was putting together a surprise reception for my husband, but he didn't know this and thought I was flirting with others at the resort. Oh I forgot to mention, the play was set at a resort on a carribean island. It was all adlib, no lines to memorize. We weren't on a stage, but mingled with the crowd watching the performance. It was lots of fun. Jack Daniels, the bartender was the one murdered, and lifesavin' Sam was his murderer. But oh, getting to that deduction was the most fun of all. Here are the characters and their costumes.
Sandy Beachbum

Sargeant Lord

Starr Bright-a hollywood actress who was supposed to be at rehab

Tatum Tatt-tatoo artist

Thurston Howell III-millionaire

Lifesavin Sam-the lifeguard

Lucky Numbers-a lottery winner

Managin Mo-Sandy Beachbum's manager

Margie Mooner-honeymooner

Mike Mooner-honeymooner

Coconut Jane-owner's wife

Coconut Joe-owner of Margaritaville

Izzie Islander-local girl

Jack Daniels-the bartender

Kylie Cocktail-the waitress

Agent Hollywood-Starr Bright's agent

Bindy Barkeep-manager of the bar

BJ Bellhop

Cabana Bob

Candy Cotton-the millionaire's girlfriend

Echo Bay, Lake Mead, NV

After leaving Pipe Springs, I stopped in Mesquite, NV, at the casino. They advertised a prime rib dinner for $4.95. It sounded good. When I arrived I found about 15+ RVs parked in the back, most were WINs, on their way to Echo Bay like me. I had my prime rib dinner and enjoyed the country band in the lounge before heading on the next day to Echo Bay.

At Echo Bay we hiked at Valley of Fire State Park, and visited the Lost City Museum in Overton, NV. The Lost City Museum is build on the site of some old pueblo indian ruins. It had some interesting information, especially about the city of St. Thomas which was covered with water when Lake Mead was filled in 1938. And now since the lake is so down (120 ft below normal is what we were told), St. Thomas' ruins are exposed and you can hike down and see them.

On our hike to St. Thomas we got conflicting information on how to get there. Some of us hiked from Overton Beach. It turned out to be a bushwacking, not a hike. But we did make it, 3 miles through tamarask trees and dense brush. The other group drove down a dirt road which we thought might have been a 4-wheel drive road (it wasn't), and they found nice wide paths with a marked trail leading down to the ruins. No matter, it was an adventure, just the same.

Reconstructed pueblo at Lost City Museum

Our bushwacking hike to St. Thomas

Some of the ruins at St. Thomas

Valley of the Fire State Park

Pipe Springs National Monument

Leaving Page, I had 2 days before needing to arrive at the next gathering at Echo Bay, Lake Mead, NV. So on the way I stopped for a visit at Pipe Springs National Monument. Pipe Springs was settled by the Indians long before the white man arrived. As a natural source of water in the desert, it was of course a place where people would make their homes. But the mormons created a settlement there in the 1860s. They built their main building over top of the spring and they called in Winsor Castle. It was a tithing ranch. Mormans in St. George would tithe cattle and labor to build the ranch, seeds for the gardens, and Winsor Castle would raise the cattle, milk the cattle, make butter and cheese, raise food from the garden, then send most of it back to St. George to feed the laborers building the temple. It was also the first telegraph station built in Utah. They would train young girls, some as young as 16, to man the telegraph station. But by the late 1800s they had overgrazed the land and the ranch was let go.
Here is a picture of Winsor Castle today.

Here is a picture of Winsor Castle in the 1870s.

Page, AZ

Following the houseboat trip, many of us stayed for several more days, taking in the sights around Page. There was Antelope Valley to visit and many hiking trails in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, of which we were on the south end.

Antelope Valley is on the Navajo reservation and is only accessible if you go on their guided tour. Although it is a short hike, only about 1/4 mile, it is entirely through a slot canyon. Probably one of the most scenic and photographed slot canyons in the world.

Slot Canyon in Antelope Valley
Some of us also hiked Wire Pass Trail in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Also full of slot canyons, the colors were not so vibrant, but you didn't have to have a guided escort and we found petroglyphs. Plus, I got to take Fancy for a hike as well. This hike was approximately 7 miles that day.

Petroglyphs in Wire Pass

Here we are climbing on our way out. We decided to climb over the slot canyons instead of through them.

Here I am standing in one of the slot canyons.

And here are Fancy and I taking a break.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Lake Powell

From Monument Valley, the next stop was Lake Powell. Four houseboats and 48 people for one week. And you know, all of us returned. Not one person was thrown overboard and most are talking about doing it again next. So I guess everyone had fun. One boat sort of went off and did its own thing, but the other three boats stayed together.

Our first night we had a ring-tailed cat, a close cousin to the racoon, visit us for the home made cookies which were left out on the deck. The ring-tailed cat wasn't loud, but the people running all over the boat chasing it were noisy. I think everyone on the boat was awake before the cat jumped off into the water.

Each houseboat also had a speedboat which we used to take side trips up the canyons. We tried to find some hiking, but could never find where to start at the end of the canyon, so mostly we just took sight-seeing trips. We did hike to Rainbow Bridge. There were happy hours in the lake and some kayaking up the canyons too. There were several nights with campfires and one night we even brought out the boombox and danced in the sand under the moonlight.

On the last morning our boat was attacked by pirates, yes pirates (at least they were dressed like pirates). There were pajama dances on the top deck of one boat, and the food, oh the food. We all ate enough to last us for at least a month. On my boat we had ribeyes, fajitas, tacos, spaghetti, ribs and chicken.

Here you can see all three of the boats.
Sunning on the top deck of the houseboat.

Cruising up Lake Powell. Look at that scenery.

Here is Rainbow Arch. Some years ago, maybe early 90s, there was actually water flowed under the arch, but the lake is so low and has been for so long, water under the arch is a dream nowadays.