Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Well.  After our Valley of Fire visit, we had a couple of days that we didn’t have to be anywhere in particular, so we were planning to hang out in the camper and get some blog and video work done as well as a few chores around the camper.  It is a good thing we didn’t have any plans.  The morning after Valley of Fire, Heather got up and went for a run around the BLM camping area we were staying in.  All was well until she tripped over a rock and went hands and face first into the large, sharp gravel.  Both palms got severely skinned up, but worse than that, she hit her mouth on the ground and we are pretty sure that her tooth went completely through her bottom lip.  From the outside it only looked like a small cut, but the gouge inside was large and deep.  It scared Jeff half to death when she came back to the camper bloody and injured.  We got ice on it right away and it wasn’t bleeding terribly, so we consulted Dr. Google and determined that stitches weren’t necessary.  Did you know that the inside of your lips heal incredibly fast?  We did not, but by the next morning, the gouge inside her lip was already mostly closed up and healing.  Once an inventory was taken on all injuries, she had the mouth injury, both palms and one knee were skinned,  she had giant bruises on the other knee, more bruising on one elbow (How in the world do you skin your palm and bruise your elbow on the same arm?!), and a sore spot beside her nose.  We are so lucky that no teeth were knocked out!  Anyway, that kind of side-lined us for a couple of days so she could rest and heal a bit before our next adventure, but we did still manage to accomplish some things.  We got some blog and video work done, and Jeff changed the oil in the truck. Outside.  In the wind.  In the gravel.  At our campsite.  Sometimes, with this lifestyle, you can’t wait for the ideal conditions in order to get things done.

From there, we moved on to Boulder Beach Campground in Lake Mead National Recreation Area.  The campground was nice with lots of trees throughout (something we haven’t seen a lot of in a while) and our site had a great view of the lake!  This isn’t really somewhere we had planned to visit, but we were so close and had some time, so we diverted a bit to take it in for a few days.  We had hoped to visit Las Vegas from here, but after much research and much discussion, we decided that it wasn’t worth the hassle of trying to find a place to park and dealing with the crowds.  You know how we feel about crowds!  Also, our truck is LONG, so we can’t fit in just any parking spot, and most parking garages are out.  Hours of internet research later, we still didn’t have a good plan about a large, safe place to park, so maybe we will just have to fly out sometime to see it!

We did drive just a few miles up the road from our camper to Hoover Dam, and did the dam tourist thing there, though.  We walked around, read the dam signs, checked out the dam exhibits, took a tour of the dam power plant, and walked out on the Memorial Bridge to get some dam photos.  It was a dam good time.  But it was dam crowded.  And dam expensive.  Ok, we will stop now.  Glad we got that out of our dam system!

After our visit to the dam, we decided to try out a bike ride on some of the AMAZING bike trails they have here.  We weren’t sure how that would go since Heather’s hands are still pretty tender from being skinned, but she wrapped them with first aid wrap and wore padded biking gloves, and did just fine.  We are sure everyone thought she was a nut wearing padded biking gloves to ride an electric bike, but they did the trick, so who cares what everyone else thought?  From our campground, we rode a short distance on the River Mountains Loop Trail to the Historic Railroad Trail and took it all the way to Hoover Dam.  The Historic Railroad Trail is awesome!  It follows the old railway path above the lakeshore and through five tunnels.  The views of the lake are phenomenal and the trail dumps you out right at the top of the parking garage structure next to Hoover Dam.  It was easy riding (especially with an e-bike) and so much fun!

The best photo I took showing the low water levels. The white area was covered by water when full.

A word or two about Lake Mead.  The water level is low.  Very low, but not as low as Lake Powell.  Lake Powell was at about 15% capacity when we were there.  Lake Mead is at 28%.  Seeing the water levels so low is both sad and slightly frightening.  These reservoirs and their respective dams are relied on heavily to provide many areas of the west with both water and power. Seeing the water situation out here so dire really makes us think about our water usage much more than we ever did at home.

Today, our last day in the area, started out rainy and the entire day was really windy.  It didn’t clear off until late in the day, so we didn’t do much.  We had hoped to get out for a hike, or even another bike ride, but since the weather wasn’t the greatest, we settled for a drive down to the “beach” area near our campground, and then completing a couple of chores (laundry and dumping our used motor oil at the auto parts store) in town.   We roll out of here tomorrow.  Stay tuned to see where we are headed next!  Hint: we probably won’t be seeing trees again for a while.

Until next time!

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