Sunday, November 6, 2016

Lake Mead and a Stop at North Ranch


After leaving Virgin Tuesday, we stopped at Government Wash in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area for a few nights, along with Debbie and Annie. From our spot we could see a bit of what is left of Lake Mead.


After a 16 year drought along the Colorado River Basin, the water level in Lake Mead has dropped to an all-time low this year, at only 37% of capacity. Such a shame.


Annie left us the next day to head back home to LA, while Jim, Debbie, and I went for a hike through the Bowl of Fire. This area is smaller than nearby Valley of Fire State Park, but contains the same colorful red-orange Aztec sandstone.

There is no real trail but you just walk up a rocky, sandy wash for a couple miles.






There were some big boulder obstacles in a few places, but nothing too difficult.



Approaching the bowl, the colors become more varied.






Jim and Debbie in the bowl.


It was a fun place for our last red rock hike of the year.



On Thursday we took a ride into Henderson, NV for lunch at PizzaRev, where you create your own pizza, similar to Subway. They have a huge selection of toppings to choose from, and the $7.99 price includes almost any of them you want. We really liked it. Then it was a stop at Trader Joe’s.

On Friday we moved on a couple hundred miles south to North Ranch, the Escapees park near Congress, AZ. This is our first time here, and although the sites are just lined up in a huge gravel lot, it served its purpose to get laundry done and wash the months of caked-on mud off the Subaru. $20/night for full hookups.


We also took a long walk on the BLM land behind the park.


Nice mountain views.



Today we’re sadly parting ways with Debbie as she heads to Casa Grande and we spend a night in Phoenix to hopefully get our three fogged windows in the Lazy Daze repaired tomorrow. Then on to our usual, McDowell Mountain, for a couple months.


  1. It is so sad to read about the water level at Lake Mead. Such a gorgeous place.
    We have stayed at North Ranch a couple of times. The people are so nice. We have some good friends, Duane and Louise, there right now. They play pickleball all the time.

    1. Jim and I hit the ball around some on the pickleball court, but nobody else was playing then. Unfortunately they only have one court so it seems there would be a lot of waiting around to play during the scheduled play times.

  2. We sold our lot at North Ranch a number of years ago, but it was right in the middle of the back row by the gate that goes out onto that land. Not sure if that was a good move or not, but we just never seemed to go there. Went only twice in twelve years. It's a nice place when it isn't summer weather. Might have used it more after we retired, but probably not!

    Hope to do some sightseeing, with the Lazy Daze this time, up near Phoenix this winter.

    Virtual hugs,


    1. We remembered that you used to own a lot there. The ones that border on the BLM land are really nice.

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks, we always feel like we're "home" when we get back to McDowell.

  4. we were at North Ranch the week before you. Glad to learn about the place you walked, in case we go there again. We just walked around the main part of the campground.

    1. Sorry we missed you! There are miles and miles of roads and trails on the BLM land behind North Ranch. Appears it is mainly used for ATVs, but we didn't see anyone out there when we were walking.

  5. The Bowl of Fire is a great hike! I knew each feature you showed, even the strip of green chinle across the path:) We went with a few friends the first time and have the neatest photo of all of us sitting in a different cubbie groove in on the huge red hills. John and I had to return to explore further. We spent a month in Boulder City and there are still so many hikes I want to do.

    Hope all goes well with getting your fogged windows fixed. We are on the east coast so long because we have an appointment in Hudson, FL on Monday the 14th to have ALL of our windows removed, cleaned, and resealed!!! It will take all week. I am so worried about everything going well. Friends had all theirs done and recommended it. This place also has a ten year warranty. Finger crossed for success for both of us!

    1. There is a surprising amount of hiking in the Lake Mead area. We always enjoy it there.
      Hope your window repair goes well. Jim is very nervous about ours, as it seems nothing we have done ever goes right!

    2. I am very nervous about ours!! They are taking ALL of our windows out...yikes! Then we get to live with cardboard covering them for a week! Not sure how that will go.

  6. The Bowl looks like the Nightmare Gulch we just recently hiked!

    That pizza place sounds just like one we tried in Bend, and another in South Dakota...this create your own pizza at a bargain price thing is a neat trend!

    We'll be at McDowell in February I believe...enjoy your couple of months there!

    1. We didn't know about the pizza place in Bend. Will have to check it out next time.

  7. Wow, it was astonishing to see the water level in Lake Mead, but really not surprising I guess. We've not been to the Escapees' Park in Congress, although know many who have. Enjoy your time there.

  8. Bummed to see the water level continues to drop, such a beautiful lake. Definitely missing our desert! Great pics along the trail as usual. Love that big square boulder just sitting up there :-)

  9. It's always sad to leave the red rock country behind, I just left the vermillion cliffs today. Soon you'll be back "home" at McDowell though!

  10. Sorry to hear it was your last red rock hike of the year. Your pictures of the colors on the trail are wonderful. I’ve never heard of create your own pizza. Sounds yummy and $7.99 sounds like a great deal.

  11. Good thing the red rock around the shrunken lake is so stunning. I really need to check out McDowell.