We left Furnace Creek Campground around 8:30am and drove through the desert on Highway 190. Google maps said it should take 2 hours and 30 minutes. We arrived at our destination a little after noon. I think we only made two stops. The scenery once we got out of Death Valley wasn’t exciting enough to photograph. Lol. I took the first driving shift and Larry got to drive through Vegas. We didn’t take the airstream down the Strip...it was hard enough to maneuver some of the freeways.
We found a spot to camp at Lake Mead National Park. I got to use my annual park pass again to save myself $25. Yes!! The campground was terraced and everyone got a view of the lake. It was shady with lots of tall bushy trees. We had power and water at the site and the restroom was close too. It cost only $10 a night!! That’s a steal. The only drawback was they didn’t have showers. They must have had 150 campsites but not one shower. We figured we would just go into the lake and wash off some dirt in there. The park didn’t have a store with beer. Second strike. We ventured out to a gas station a few miles down the road and got some yummy snacks, beer and cute little individual cups of wine. We headed to the Lake. We had our towels, beach blanket, and cooler. The beach was flat but super rocky…..a challenge to find a comfy spot. Walking out into the shallow water was really tortuous on my feet. Larry has way tougher feet than me. I was surprised how cold the water was when I finally got my whole body in but I needed to soak off some stink. It was refreshing...that’s what I told Larry. He was not amused with the temperature and barely stayed in the water for 5 minutes. He was good. Since we were close to Las Vegas and apparently in the flightpath to the airport, I got to watch planes fly overhead all afternoon. A plane flew over every 2 minutes, we counted at one point. Busy airport.
We didn’t go into Vegas at all. We talked about it. We both have been there before and the only thing I would want to do is go on one of the cool roller coasters. We decided it wasn’t worth all the people and hassle. We opted to go to Hoover dam first thing in the morning because I remember parking to be difficult to find. I also looked up a short 3 mile hike to Arizona Hot Springs that was just 10 miles away. Larry was still sick but was up for both adventures. I packed for the day. I took a cooler with 2 bottles of water, a couple of clif bars and a bag full of the most delicious apples that I picked off my Uncle George’s tree back in Washington earlier this month. The apples were small and looked like they might have worms. I washed them up and cut them in bite size pieces. I was surprised to only find 2 with worms out of 20 sketchy looking apples. Win! I sprinkled them with lemon juice so they wouldn't turn brown, threw them in the cooler too. We brought our suits for the Hot Springs and peanut butter sandwiches for our lunch on the hike.
We enjoyed the Dam and walked all around it. We read all the signs until we couldn’t read any more! We met a nice man and his son. They were from Virginia but his son was in the Marines and his dad came to see him. They offered to take a picture of Larry and me at the dam. We offered the same back for them. They were super nice and we had a nice little visit. We probably spent 2 hours looking around and then we were ready to go.
We got to the trailhead about 11:30am. It was super easy to find and had lots of parking. We both read the signs about which trail and how many miles it was. 2.9 on one map and the other was 1 mile out and back. We figured it would be a breeze. The sign also reminded us to Take Lots of Water. The last sign informed us that the hot springs contain the Naegleria fowleri amoeba and not to get water in your nose. In our back pack we took our suits, towel, 24 oz of water and our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We figured for such a short hike, we had enough. Remember this is Arizona, the desert, in mid october at noon. It was about 88 degrees that day. We started out walking mostly on flat trails for a fair amount of time. We followed the dry creek as the signs were few and far between. We met hikers coming back and they said the hike was worth it and it’s not too far. As we climbed up some very steep hills to go down into some narrow slot canyons in the blazing hot sun we were wondering when we would see the hot springs. We actually needed to do some bouldering down some tricky narrow spots and I was a bit worried about having to climb back up them on the way back. We just kept on trucking. It took us over 2 hours to find the Hot Springs. I wasn’t at all disappointed when we got there. We changed and Larry scoped the pools of water out before I tried them There was 4 in all. The first one was blistering hot and you needed to scoot through that one fast before your feet burned off!! Second one was still super warm The third one, Larry said I’d like because it was hot/warm and the last one he warned me, had the Naked Man(our Unicorn) sitting in it. I was able to quickly get through the smoking hot pool...barely. I could rest on the sand bags that divided the pools to get my guts up for the next pool. It was hot but bearable. The third pool was just right for soaking so we stayed there for about 30 minutes. Naked Man(our Unicorn) in the last pool was very friendly. We chatted with him a bit while another soaker took pictures in the pools. Naked Man(our Unicorn) requested not to be photographed. Naked man(our Unicorn) said that we could either go down the ladder below the last pool or turn around and head back the same way. He comes here a lot and was a wealth of information. We decided to go down the ladder and do a loop by the river. It was supposed to be longer, but easier. Naked Man(our Unicorn) said to follow the yellow trail markers. People can easily get lost.
Down the ladder we went. That was super exciting. I had my hiking shoes on and had to remove them as we walked down the creek. Where it narrowed, there was no dry rocks to step on. While I was walking barefoot on some spiky rocks in the water, I spied a lizard trying to scale up the side of the canyon. I was able to catch the little sucker! Win! We stopped at the yellow marker(I guess) to have our lunch. We were down to about 2 oz of water now. That was worrisome. When we were ready to hike up the trail, we weren’t really sure it was the trail. We decided to go down the river a bit. We met another solo man walking along picking up trash that told us to follow the creek bed to the river to get out. Naked Man(our Unicorn) had told us to follow the yellow markers. I was so confused and now realizing we were nearly out of water, we couldn’t make a mistake and walk in the wrong direction. We turned back and just then saw Naked Man(our Unicorn) starting to hike up the trail, where there was a yellow marker, very hard to see. He had on his shoes and a backpack. We asked if this was the right trail and if we could follow him out. I told him that we were nearly out of water and I didn’t want to get lost. He said to follow him but he wanted to stop at the river for a dip. He also offered us some water as he always brings extra. I took the water! He was super friendly and chatted about helping others who forget to bring enough water. He had several stories of people dying from dehydration in the recent past. So it’s a Real thing around here. When he got to the Colorado River he stopped for a swim. He pointed us in the right direction, out through the canyon and we parted ways.
About 15 minutes later, Naked Man (our Unicorn) caught up to us and was our hiking partner again. We had drank the first bottle of water and Naked Man (our Unicorn) produced another one for us! This happened the whole way back on the trail. We never got Naked Man’s name (our Unicorn). The only thing I know about him is that he was married, no kids and worked at the Las Vegas County Library. Along the way, we passed other hikers. Naked Man (our Unicorn) would greet them and visit a bit but continued to hike alongside of us. I wondered if the other people thought he was “with” us. Lol No matter. When we got to a place where we could see the road, Naked Man (our Unicorn) put on some shorts and we continued to the parking lot. We said thanks and bye bye. It was an amazing hike. I really enjoyed it but think we might have gotten lost without Naked Man (our Unicorn). I think God sent Naked Man (our Unicorn) to save us. That’s why I nicknamed the Naked Man our Unicorn. Our Unicorn magically lead us out of the desert with an endless supply of water from his backpack. God made him Naked so we would get the point (lesson) about bringing enough water with us. A mistake that we have made more than once. It could have been critical this time. When we got back to the truck it was nearly 5pm and we had walked/hiked over 10 miles too!!! Our elevation gain was 2600 feet. OMG!! It was a hard hike for me and Larry was still fighting his cold. It really wiped him out.
We sat on the tailgate and had those delicious apples and more water. The extra water we had left in the truck! The apples tasted so good and we were very grateful to be sitting safely back at the truck. I had planned a short bike ride after this little hike, but when I asked Larry, I just got THAT LOOK!!! I said we could save it for tomorrow morning.
We got an early start for our bike ride as we needed to hit the road by noon today for our next destination Hurricane Utah. We wanted to go ride the old Historic Railroad trail that was used exclusively to build the Hoover Dam.
It’s about 7.5 miles round trip and is inside Lake Mead National Park. It’s mostly flat and we got to go through 5 tunnels. I was still beat after our dehydrating hike from the day before. Larry was the same or worse. He was such a trooper when it came to activities. He never said no or complained. He just suffered in silence and I truly appreciate that ALOT. The ride was fairly easy til the end close to the dam. We got to see the Backstage area where they kept all the old HUGE parts to the dam. It was mostly downhill toward the dam which meant uphill on the way back. I actually had to push my bike up the hill a bit...LOSER!!! Ha ha ha. We spend an hour and a half on the trail and I’m glad to have gotten to see the Lake and the Dam from this view. All round, we did Vegas Our way!