Nevada

Vegas Days & Nights: Act 2 Hoover Dam

The second night of sleep in Vegas Land was grand. Awoke to unobstructed sunshine thru our window and headed out for an early jog down to see Hoover Dam.

The necessary evil that is navigating around gambling lounges in Vegas Land:

Local art scene:

Great early light once we escaped to outside:

The trail to the dam, along an old rail line, was just off the edge of the hotel parking lot. Tim was pumped to run shirt came right off:

The asthma monster got to me shortly into mile 1, but it gave me an excuse to stop and snap a pic of Lake Mead:

My lungs kicked in gear the last 2 miles. We zoomed along smoothly thru tunnels and down to the dam complex. Art Deco as hell down there:

The water was looking low as hell too. Record drought has pushed Las Vegas to build a nearly $1 billion tunnel beneath Lake Mead to fortify their drinking water supply. That and this water goes far beyond just Nevada; California, Arizona and even Mexico draw from here:

More Deco flair. What a glamorous dam:

Luxury bathrooms even. This is all on the frigging dam too:

Ultimately, though, Hoover Dam is a testament to the beginning of the era of concrete which kicked off in the 1930’s. Staying on theme, the graceful road bridge adjacent to the dam features the widest concrete arch in the Western Hemisphere:

The ridiculous scale of these man-made structures, in such a rugged and remote location no less, coupled with the greatly receded water level of Lake Mead was just eerie. The sunny, dry morning air and the invigorating jog saved our moods, but the feeling of something just being horribly off lingers with me still. A Guardian article Concrete: the most destructive material on Earth sums up my dread well. Such massive concrete projects are just not ideal for our planet. China is leading the way in concrete craziness, Japan has been going nuts with concrete seawalls and other disaster prevention measures and the US continues to pave away too.

The walk back to the hotel was lovely:

Bittersweet seeing the hotel come into view, didn’t want the walk to end:

Back to the lobby for a big breakfast:

As we finished shoveling down massive omelets, it was time to food plan for the rest of the day. We were headed to a campground for the night, so we grabbed loads of apples, peanut butter and bread. Our kind server didn’t bat an eye as we prepped a tower of peanut butter sustenance:

One last essential bit of prep before heading out on the hike to our campsite…. I had left my trusty baseball hat behind on a city bus in Vegas. The desert sun, even in October, is not to be played with. There would barely be a lick of shade on the route alongside Lake Mead we were about to embark on too.

Simple fix just popped into the gift shop for a new hat. 20 minutes of wide-mouthed frustration later, I came away with this plastic wonder for the bargain price of $40. Thanks for modeling Tim:

Back out into the sun on the hunt for the trail:

Really nice trail. Lots of signs so super relaxing to follow along:

There was one shady oasis on offer we didn’t pass on, even with it only being 3 miles into the hike. Beautiful Boulder Beach Campground:

Back on the trail and past some abandoned resort type properties. The water level of Lake Mead receding and just the isolation of the area makes for a fragile human existence out here:

Sign game on point on this trail. They keep getting better too:

We were probably cruising along at 3.5 mph here definitely not speeding:

We stumbled across a construction zone. Lots of work going on around this vital water source, like the Third Straw Project (bizarro news video there, lots of pics here) to save drinking water access for Vegas that I mentioned earlier:

The trail began to arc away from the lake and gain elevation as it slipped into the golden hour:

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See what I mean about great signs:

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Hang in there buddy. They did him no favors putting a fast road so close to the lake:

Our trail became the abandoned older stretch of the road. The light got breathtaking:

Every picture we got was a stunner:

Our extra time taking in the sunset cost us the chance to reach Las Vegas Bay Campground by daylight. Headlamps on again as we rolled into our spot for the night. An overly dutiful local cast car lights and plenty of judgement on us as we came to the campground welcome center. The genius determined my walking stick propped against the outside of the building was an attempt to vandalize the nearby electrical box….yeah we talked him down and he drove off.

There was plenty of light it turned out once we set down at an open site. What I would describe as just a surreal, hazy pumpkin colored giant ass moon was rising up over the lake. No photo could do it justice.

After taking in the glorious moon rise for several minutes we set up tents. We’d covered around 20 miles total for the day, so I don’t know if we even ate much for dinner. We quickly crashed hard for the night .

That concludes Act 2 of the Vegas adventures. Act 3, the final installment, brings the answer to what took a hot piss outside our tents at 3am, an aerial yoga adventure and an all-nighter back on the streets of downtown Las Vegas. Cheers for reading:)