Thursday, April 9, 2015

Lake Mead National Recreation Area - Spring Break 2015

 After visiting Valley of Fire, we headed to nearby Lake Mead National Recreation Area. We just had a few hours to get a taste of it before we met friends. So we ate a picnic lunch by Rogers Spring and then went down to Echo Bay so we could see the lake.

We spotted a road runner, and even the kids were excited to see this neat bird.

Echo Bay was really interesting. It used to be extremely busy, with a restaurant, lodge, convenience store, RV park, campground, and more. Then the lake levels started dropping. And no longer could you motor in and just saunter up to the restaurant or lodge. It was a longish walk in sweltering summer temperatures. Visitation started dropping. And the lake levels kept dropping, so the restaurant (below) and lodge closed.

Before long the marina closed. New islands appeared.

Fuel was no longer offered, although people could still launch boats at the boat launch, over a mile from the developed areas.

In the photo below you can see the old boat launch in the center of the photo, far back, and the new one on the right.

So Echo Bay, although still larger than where I live, almost seemed like a ghost town. It was a little surreal. Okay, a lot surreal. I kept looking around, wondering where everyone was, imagining how it used to be. In the 1980s, this place was rocking. The reservoir was at capacity. Probably very few people imagined that the lake levels would drop a little bit, and almost none to the extent that it has.
I still can't wrap my head around it all.

We were also fascinated by the 18-inch high fences along the road. We figured out they were to keep the tortoises from getting squashed. They looked ever so funny, though.

Further down the road we turned into Callville Bay. It's faring better than Echo Bay. Boat rentals are still available--and sure would be fun! Nevertheless, the telltale lake rings and increased distance from the developed areas made it seem like a place past its prime.

Next we went to Boulder Beach, where we swam a little. We were hesitant because there was green algae in the water, but hoped that if so many other people were swimming, it would be okay. When we left, I got a photo of the Southern Nevada Water Authority straw into the lake. This is where Las Vegas' drinking water comes from, a place called Saddle Island that is now a peninsula.

Soon after we met our friends, took showers, and had a nice visit. An unfortunately I didn't take any photos! It was a very nice short trip to Lake Mead, and we'd sure like to go back and explore more.

Next up: Red Rock Canyon

3 comments:

trav4adventures said...

We were at Red Rock canyon yesterday! There were some clouds in the sky and by noon, we could see rain coming down in the distance! It was a chilly 50 degrees! The scenic drive was VERY crowded by noon, so plan on getting there EARLY before the crowds!

We also drove out to the state park, Spring Mountain Ranch, which is $9.00 to enter. You park your car and follow a trail up on top of a little cliff, then down to the ranch pond, and then through the ranch. THAT was well worth the $9.00. I think your kids would enjoy that more than Red Rock canyon.

Enjoy!
Cheryl Ann

Desert Survivor said...

Thanks Cheryl Ann! We managed to see some of Spring Mountain Ranch too, and that is a fun place. Glad you're having such a good trip!

Andrew said...

I watched season 1 episode 1 of "How the States Got Their Shapes" a while back. One of the segments was about Lake Mead and the marina owner, Gail Kaiser. Very interesting!

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