Friday, March 30, 2012

Mesquite 3

Final images from our trip...

Joshua trees at sunset near the Virgin River gorge. The desert landscapes in this area were stunning.

Enjoying the amazing barrel cactus garden near the base of The Grail at Lime Kiln Canyon. Pam counted over 40 in one small area.

This one was the largest. Elise for scale!

My mother reading to Elise in the evening at our apartment in Mesquite.

Our evening trip to Valley of Fire state park. It contained beautiful sandstone formations, narrow canyon walks and more petroglyph sites.

Elise about to hike through a slot canyon at Valley of Fire.

On the trail to the Wailing Wall in the northeast of Mesquite.

A climber starting the route "The Infidel" at the Wailing Wall.

A female climber on "Bastard Stepchild" at the Wailing Wall.

Elise at sunset on the hike down from the Wailing Wall.

Our move to Vegas for the final leg of the trip. We stayed at the Bonnie Springs motel near Red Rocks.

The petting zoo was a HUGE hit. This deer nuzzled Elise the moment we arrived!

A peacock attempting to beautify the surroundings.

Elise took a pony ride. This was another highlight of the day.

We finished the day with a hike and bouldering session below Kraft Mountain in the Calico Hills. Elise really enjoyed scrambling on all the sandstone blocks and it was a great way to finish up the trip.

Home to the rain. Sigh...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mesquite 2

The following pictures came from Elise's camera and show the trip from her perspective.

The view over the pool area from our apartment deck in an evening rainstorm. This pool area and the adjacent waterslide was a MAJOR draw on this trip. We made an effort to swim midday if the weather was even remotely warm enough. I shivered through a few rather brutal swim sessions.

Her beloved "B.K." in our apartment. Can't leave home without him!

She's really getting into self portraits. Here she poses in the apartment with the door to the deck behind her.

Another self portrait. This time riding in the car. Note the sun visor and fish lips.

Her prized possessions from the Zion gift shop: a flashlight and an "Angel's Landing" coin commemorating her effort on the hike. I though the flashlight was a ridiculous choice, until we ended up hiking out from the cliff at dusk a few days later and she lit the way!

Elise and Pam visited a museum which housed fossilized dinosaur tracks found in the area. Elise really enjoyed this activity and dearly wanted to take me back there to see it with her. Alas, we moved on before having the chance.

Having a lunch break at the parking area for Lime Kiln Canyon. Mom took this.

I'm trying to coach Elise a bit on the nuances of finer photography. Here, I suggested she zoom in on the detail of the prickly pear to show the spines. I think she did well.

On our many hikes, Elise like to go first and be on "lizard patrol". She spotted many and managed to capture this one on film! No easy task.

Her barbies kept her busy in the back seat. Here they are riding shotgun in the car door pocket. I need to help her get better focus on these close-ups.

Indian paintbrush at the petroglyph site. This picture turned out quite well, I think!

Elise's photo of the "falling man" petroglyph, the most intriguing petroglyph I've ever seen. Tears were shed shortly after this photo was taken. The batteries in Elise's camera died and she was devastated. Between sobs she said, "I really wanted to be the first to find a good petroglyph and take a nice photo to show you". My heart melted at her sentiment.

The stupidest thing I did on the trip was grab the fallen lobe of a beaver tail cactus and break it in half with my bare hands to show Elise the interior. What I thought was a spineless lobe, turned out to have hundreds of little needle-like hairs, which I then spent 20 minutes extracting from my palms. Here Elise and I recreate the moment of doom.

There were a lot of free range cattle roaming the desert near the cliffs. We saw this bull near the car one evening and Elise excitedly started taking pictures. She got closer and closer, much to my dismay, but the cow seemed uninterested. I stayed close by, nonetheless.

The screech owl we discovered in the cave. Her picture turned out well!

Our final days were spent at a motel on a ranch just outside Vegas. There was a replica of an old western town and a petting zoo, which was another MAJOR highlight of the trip. Peacocks freely roamed the area.

Pam took this.

The petting zoo. We were the first there, and this deer walked right up to us and let us pet it. Bingo!

This one made me cringe. It's a beautiful Canadian lynx spending it's life in a cage in the Vegas desert. Elise loved getting so close to the animals, but it sure left us with mixed feelings afterward.

My mother and her sister Anne, made a surprise overnight visit and came bearing gifts. Elise loved this shoulder bag (she called it her "satchel") and proceeded to carry it everywhere we went. She used it to store her special items she collected on the trip (various rocks, feathers, etc).

Spring break is officially over and it's back to the grind (and the rain). Enjoy the start of spring!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Mesquite 1

We are over halfway into our spring break trip, and have enjoyed drying out in the Nevada/Arizona/Utah desert for a week. Our home base is Mesquite, Nevada, but we are travelling into all three states to climb and explore. The weather has been good, but a winter storm blew through this weekend which really cooled things off. The rest of the week looks better, though.

I am very busy trying to squeeze in work time between climbing, exploring and family activities, so I'll let let these pictures do most of the talking.

Elise in her new suit and visor for the sessions in our condo pool.

Climbing at Black and Tan wall. She made it up a 5.10a on this trip, her hardest outdoor climb yet.

Evening in the desert.

Landscape near the Utah Hills, where we've been climbing.

Posing by a barrel cactus. The vegetation in the desert is beautiful here.

The water slide at the Casablanca, the resort we are calling home. This is, without a doubt, the highlight of the trip for Elise.

On the Angel's Landing hike in Zion.

The Cathedral and Wailing Wall, the cliff we've spent most of our time at.

Our little Mazda 2 is getting us where we need to go! Elise calls it our "St. Patrick's Day" car.

Our apartment is in the smaller building on the left, second floor.

At the notch near the summit of Angel's Landing. We didn't get much farther than this, but that's a story for another day.

Carrying some special baggage out from the Wailing Wall. Ask me about this "incident" some time.

Riverside Walk at Zion.

Angel's Landing hike in Zion.

A desert screech owl Elise and I found in a cave near our climbing cliff.

Taking photos with her new camera at the Falling Man rock art site near Lake Mead.

Indian Paintbrush

Elise on vacation. Watching "Dolphin Tale" in bed on the plasma TV.

The pool behind our apartment.

The "falling man" petroglyph at the rock art site.

One of the best panels at the rock art site.

Storm over the mountains east of the site.

Elise and I enjoying the art. This was an amazing area far in the back country with literally hundreds of petroglyphs.

Pam and Elise at the rock art site.

Evening storm over the desert.

Enjoy the start of spring!