December 29 – December 31, 2016 – New Years Eve!
After spending three nights at Gold Butte, it was time to move on again, and I opted to drive down the west side of Lake Mead and slowly start making my way south. I wanted to get to a warmer climate, but I didn’t want to hurry it. I don’t find the desert south all that interesting compared to Colorado and Utah, so was holding back for as long as the weather remained reasonable.
I’d learned that some friends of mine were camped by The Valley of Fire State Park, and I thought it would be nice to spend New Years Eve with friends. The problem was that they were at the west end, and I was at the east end.
State Parks are very expensive. The guy at the gate told me it would cost me $10.00 to drive though, and $10.00 to drive back. This is one of the least expensive State Parks, but it’s still a lot of money. The rocks looked very similar to the area I’d just been hiking in for free for three days, and I didn’t want to spend so much money to drive through such a small park. Also, the weather was turning kind of nasty, and I just wasn’t in the mood for hiking in it. I decided not to spend the money, which is about half of what I spend on groceries for the week, and opted to camp near Overton instead. So I found a spot by the cliff edge at Snowbird Mesa, which is also known as Poverty Flat. The views were quite expansive, and I could even see The Valley of Fire State park from there, though it was a long way off.
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The image below was taken with my back to The Valley of Fire, so I’m looking straight east toward Gold Butte. I think I can see some of the rocks of Whitney Pocket there, but I’m not 100% sure. I studied the map, and it appeared that way.
Anyhow, I stayed at Snowbird Mesa the night of the 29th, and the 30th, but on that night some bad weather moved in. It was about 11:15 PM when wind started to blow, and it got so bad it rocked my van severely, and I couldn’t get any sleep. It was actually quite scary, and at about 12:45 AM I decided to drive to a less windy spot if I could find one. I drove to a wildlife refuge that had free camping, just south of Overton. It rained heavily all night, but I was somewhat shielded from the worst winds because I was surrounded by shrubs and trees. In the morning Studley Van was sitting in the middle of an enormous, deep, puddle, and a few birds were scuttling around enjoying the welcome moisture.
I spent the day in Overton using the WiFi at McDonald’s, and had a quiet New Years Eve watching a movie, and having a glass of wine. None of the other ‘residents’ peeked out, except in the area below me near the road, where a few fireworks were fired off.
It had been an uneventful evening, and I’d gone to bed about 11:00 PM, but New Years morning was quite breathtaking.
When I looked over at The Valley of Fire, it was ON fire with a beautiful sunrise. Below the mesa was The Muddy River, and the mist was hanging low and thick over the water and wetlands around it. I had been up at 6:30 am walking the mesa, and watching the change of light on the mist and surrounding rocks and mountains.
This was a truly beautiful start to a New Year, and I welcomed 2017 with a big smile and a sigh of contentment.
I hope you have enjoyed this installment of my travels during the winter of 2016/2017, and hope you’ll continue the journey with me. If you only get an email notice of this one blog post, you may be unaware that I have many other categories and tons of travel posts available to read on my HOME page.
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Roxy ~ A Nomad for Nature and Photographer at: