Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pupfish

After a refreshing day in the mountains, I decided to head in the direction of Death Valley. While looking at Google Earth, I saw something called Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. It looked like it wouldn't take too long to get there. On Google Earth, it looked pretty darn boring. It was close, though, and I didn't think it would really be boring, and if it was I could just go someplace else. I didn't look up any information about it so I had no idea what I was going to see.

I got distracted before I got out of sight of Las Vegas. I could tell that Red Rock Canyon was to my right. Then I spotted some trails going up into some hills by the road. I thought I might be able to get some good views of Red Rock Canyon from up there, so off I went.


What would I see if I followed those trails?

As it turned out, I couldn't see much of Red Rock Canyon. The views weren't that spectacular. If I hadn't gone, though, it would have bugged me until I went back. I found out the trails are used mostly by people riding mountain bikes. I saw several out there.


Part of Red Rock Canyon in the distance.

I used my GPS datalogger on that hike. When I got back in the van, I thought that I remembered forgetting to erase the data from the previous day's hike, so I didn't turn it back on the rest of the day. Silly me. I'll never figure out where I was when I took some of the pictures I took that day. I think I made pretty good guesses on a lot of them, though.

Again, there were a lot of things that I wanted pictures of, but couldn't pull off the road in the van. Traffic was just a little too heavy to stop in the middle of the road, too. I did pull off the road a few times. A guy in a red car and I played leapfrog for a while, stopping to take pictures.


I think the Nevada desert is very pretty.


Las Vegas is back that way somewhere.


I'll have to go back and get geotagged pictures. I don't remember if this was before or after I went through Pahrump. I didn't take any pictures in Pahrump, so I can't use that to separate them.

I finally got out to the refuge. It's all dirt roads out there. They are well-maintained and smooth, but dusty. I knew Suzanne wasn't going to like the coating of dust I was going to pick up that day.


I wish I knew the name of this mountain.


This light-colored ground is *extremely* bright.

I had no idea what to expect in the refuge, so I was pleasantly surprised by just about everything. I suppose a lot of money and effort has gone towards habitat restoration out there. It looks like they are just recently getting around to making accommodations for visitors.


There are very nice boardwalks through some areas.


I was surprised to see so much water flowing. Most springs I've come across in the desert have barely a trickle of water.

I didn't expect to be lucky enough to see the rare Desert Pupfish, but they were all over the place. Well, all the places that were under water, that is. It looked like the males were spending all day chasing each other off from their territory.


I took a lot of pictures of Pupfish, hoping some would turn out. It's hard to get good pictures through water, though.

I made some short videos of the Pupfish, too. Here's the best one, except for the noise. I think it's the image stabilization. I forgot to turn it off.


I went to Devils Hole next. It's a large hole in the ground on the side of a hill. It's fenced off to keep knuckleheads out. The water is geothermally heated to about 92F.


Devils Hole. There's a lot of equipment down there for studying the fish. I didn't see any of the fish in here; too far away.


This is the deep end of Devils Hole. Depending on what you read, it's from 300 to 500 feet deep.

The next stop was Crystal Reservoir. It's a large body of water that must be filled by the springs. I don't know what kind of fish, if any, are in there. I didn't see any. After walking around in the heat for a few hours, the water looked very inviting. I didn't have a swim suit but I had seen only 4 other people out here, and they were gone now. I could go skinny dipping if I wanted to. The trouble with that is that I would probably get a bad burn on areas of my body that had never seen the sun. I decided to see what the water felt like before I got in. I couldn't get to it, though. Other people had been swimming and had left 6 inch deep footprints in the soft banks. The mud stuck. I got some on my fingers and it stayed there until I got back to Vegas. It looked like the bottom had a very gradual slope; I didn't know if I would ever get to water deep enough to float. Then there were all the things that could poke a hole in my feet. I chickened out.


It sure does look inviting.


But there's lots of stuff to poke your feet.

The last place I visited was Crystal Spring. There's a boardwalk that follows a stream to the spring that feeds it. I got a picture of a hawk there. Saw lots of other critters but they wouldn't pose for me.

Crystal Spring.

Click below to see all of the pictures. There's a lot of them.

2010_06_26

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