Saturday, January 30, 2010

cows on the beach, Valley of Fire, part four

Our nap was delightful but the heat of the day was still on us. More hiking was out of the question so we thought finding the edge of Lake Mead and taking a dip might be worth a try. On a map the lake is just a couple of miles West of the park so we were on our way. We stumbled into some messy road work and ended up driving on gravel whoop-dee-dos for a bit. Following the map took us to Overton Beach. Hmm... no beach. There is a boat launch there that is now at least ten miles from the edge of Lake Mead. Drought indeed. Water still filters down from Moapa Valley to the north and there is active agriculture in the area but no lake. The recent lake bed was green with grass and cows munching their cud stared us down.

We continued on to the town of Overton for a cold soda and lingered for pictures of freight train cars on a siding and a big red rooster on the roof of a biker bar. That used up enough of the hot day that we returned to the park. Our last stop on the way back to camp was the cabins, a collection of small stone and adobe lodgings. A didactic sign explained that they had been built as part of an overnight rest stop along a stage coach route. Small with ceilings blackened by soot they were almost cozy. If we had not been joined by some cell phone hosts I could have finished my John Ford moment. Sitting in the dark interior looking out at the painfully bright red landscape and blue sky I very nearly saw Ethan Edwards pause, standing on the threshold weighing... stay or go?Back in camp we spent the evening reading, playing ukes, and listening to the echo of Say's Phoebe saying, "fee bee?"

Up early again on our last day, we packed our junk and went out for one more sun rise and one more chance to catch the clouds.

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