Five days, 500 miles, 5000 feet of elevation

Cactus were blooming everywhere. This flower is almost 3 inches across!

Mike and I took a few days to enjoy spring in the Mojave after he finished the spring semester and before I started my new summer job. Instead of a spring ski tour, we opted for a few days of rock climbing at Red Rocks near Las Vegas and some side trips on the way back north.

We enjoyed sun and temperatures of 80-90 degrees in Red Rocks, drove north through Death Valley at 107 degrees, hit Bishop for a quick visit with Chris as the weather started to turn blustery and cooler, and finished up with snow on our final morning. Yes, it is springtime in Nevada!

Who says the desert is a dead place? The Mojave is very green at this time of year. The cactus plants are fat with water, and flowers are everywhere.
Black Velvet Canyon, where there are a good number of shady routes -- perfect for when it's 80 degrees.
Fragrant white blooms, First Creek Canyon. Mike's mom. who lives in Indio, CA in the Coachella Valley, identifies this as "wishbone plant, Mirabilis Biglovii or aspera. That is also common in Joshua Tree."
Mike's mom thinks this one "is really interesting, because I think it is Collinsia concolor, with the enigmatic common name of 'Chinese houses', & I have only ever seen that up the Whitewater. Of course, it could also be something entirely different!"
Mike leads a route called The Misunderstanding, Black Velvet Canyon. I'd love to know the story behind this route name ...
Calico hedgehog cactus in bloom.
Belaying the leader. Hummingbirds would occasionally flit in to check out the blue rope -- might it be a long skinny flower?
Orange mallow along the First Creek Canyon trail.
Post-climbing cold beer, Black Velvet Canyon.
Example of cross-bedding -- layers showing that these sandstone cliffs are ancient sand dunes -- hundreds of feet up on Black Magic, First Creek Canyon.
Coiling the rope for the walk out.
Flowers, up close and personal. Mike's mom says this "appears to be desert mallow Sphaeralcea ambigua, the same as we have on both high & low desert, except your plants look bigger."
Moonlight in the Great Basin sagebrush: Camp in Adobe Valley, south of Mono Lake, looking south toward the White Mountains. We saw pronghorn antelope in this valley, and some mustangs ambled close to check out The Sprinter.
Next morning: Who took the mountains and left us with snow?!? Well, it's time to head back to Reno ... Happy Spring!

3 thoughts on “Five days, 500 miles, 5000 feet of elevation

  1. Great pictures as usual. I know you told us once that Death Valley in the Springtime was alive with flowers and color. Well, you proved it with these pictures. 107 degrees in May, huh !! Can’t wait for July !!!!! How was the Sprinter on the trip?


  2. Thanks, Dad! Yes, you will love DV in July. The Sprinter was great on the trip –we get something like 600 miles per tank, the ride is smooth and quiet, and we love being able to stand up inside. Mike can’t wait to do some more work on it this summer.

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