Saturday, November 14, 2015

LOW LOW Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, Las Vegas

Hi Kids!
The Hoover Dam. Wanted to see this my whole life!
 As we headed west, it got warmer and warmer, especially at night, though it was still dipping down into the 30's.  Finally we got to Lake Mead and wow, what a sight.

We had been traveling along the Snake River for some time. The Snake is one of the nations biggest, most powerful rivers, and not surprisingly, one of the most exploited.  It provides the water and power to a large portion of the desert Southwest, and Las Vegas could not exist at all without it.

It is the Snake river that winds down from the north and cut it's way through the country, creating the Grand Canyon.  It's a tremendous river, it reminds me of the Columbia River at home.  Just like the Columbia, several hydroelectric dams have been built to harvest it's power.  The biggest of these, the Hoover Dam, created behind it the impressive Lake Mead.  It's a gigantic water resource for recreation and more importantly, a water source for millions of people and the cities they live in.

My fears confirmed, Lake Mead is at horrifically low levels.
You have heard me talk a lot about the terrifying reality that the level of Lake Mead is falling quite rapidly now. This has been due to the combination of over use and years of drought and low snow fall in the mountains in the surrounding area that supply water to the Snake River and it's tributaries.  There is much debate as to the root cause of all of this, but the result is the same: The lake is draining itself, and this has catastrophic implications.  There simply IS no other water source that can provide what this lake does to all of the surrounding cities.

As we approached Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, I was curious to see if all of the hype I had been following in the news was just that: HYPE, or reality.  Sadly, I must report that it appears to be at least as bad as I had read, and perhaps even worse.  I have no idea how the people in the area feel about it. Are they concerned? Are they actively trying to conserve water and power?  I hope so.  The clearly marked white "bathtub ring" around the lake is proof that cannot be refuted; The lake is draining.

Our excellent, inexpensive spot at Boulder Beach campground
Only $5 night with our America The Beautiful Pass!
We had planned to stay at a National Recreational Area near Lake Mead. These are great places to stop over, and are almost always near water and fun and are almost always very inexpensive to use and well kept.  This park was no exception! This park was adjacent to a privately managed RV park that was mostly fulltime RVers, and had excellent amenities.  Don't forget to check out these types of parks when you are traveling, we have never been disappointed.

The park wasn't crowded at all and we were able to select from many different spots.  There were no hookups, these parks almost never do have them, but as I always comment, we certainly don't need them with our Lance. We have the solar panels and the radiant Olympian heater, and big water and waste tanks... we just don't need anything!  It opens up a HUGE amount of resources for us to stay overnight just about anywhere.

This park had an RV dump station and a place to take on fresh water so this made it an extra cool spot. Next door, in the RV park with full hookups, they had a clean laundry facility so I was able to get in there and do our wash.  Just can't beat that!

Shipwrecked floating bathrooms, a common sight, really bad.
At left are two restrooms that used to be on the water attached to the dock area.  As the water recedes, they just keep dragging them out further and further. In the distance, you can see where the beach should be and it's like walking around on the moon.  Very unsettling for sure.

 We visited a local marina, actually a HUGE marina full of boat slips and businesses, there were a couple of cafe's there on the water and several boat servicing businesses.  We walked out the long ramp to get out there, just to check things out.

Too bad Carp aren't good to eat. They are THICK in the warm
lake around the docks. They beg for food and follow you around.
Wow, the water is warm in the lake, for obvious reasons, and you know what that means: CARP. I know we have a few carp at home here and there but NOTHING like we saw here!  It's pretty obvious that nobody or nothing eat carp because they are thriving unchecked.  It's hard to depict in a photo, but they follow you along the dock as you walk. They are everywhere, clearly people must feed them.  They come up out of the water, smacking their lips at you.  It's creepy!

 Well, off to Las Vegas after this.  We will be staying right on the strip at the RV park next to Circus Circus like we did last time.

More soon!! Love, Mom.
You can see how far you have to walk and then the long road
down to the water level. It's really obvious that something
has got to change or this lake will be no more.

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