Thursday, May 16, 2013

5/16/13         Lethargic, I arose a little after Dr. Bobo, accompanied Primate to the toilet, washed hands and face, noticed puffy bags under my eyes. "Damn, getting old, Primate," I said, added, "Need to trim my eyebrows." Always thought Andy Rooney should've trimmed his.

            Camp struck, a cup of coffee for me and muffin secured for Primate, we headed towards the Nevada low point on the Colorado river south of Laughlin, about forty miles away.

            A brief search for a path down the steep bank and through small trees and brush, led us to the cobble stones in the wide channel of the Colorado River, a long oasis through the desert. I pictured the Colorado River bed a dry, dusty gully at the Arizona low point and Mexican border.

            Photos, of course, recorded our presence, for posterity, Nevada's low point at 479 feet.
Connard Touches NV Low Point.

            A turn northward headed us towards Utah's low point, our last objective on this trip.

           "It's all over, except for the photo finish," I told Primate.

           The wide valleys of Nevada, with distant views of rugged mountains all around, felt expansive. The temperature climbed, everything began its daily bake in the sun. Mirages of water on the road ahead accentuated the thirsty climate.
       
           Las Vegas stood bright in the sun, casino capital of the world, a man-made aberration in the middle of hell on earth, testament to man's will over nature.

           Northeast of Vegas a sparse forest of billboards, each with its own solar panel, lined the road. Haze in the air gave distant mountains a ghostly look. I enjoyed the views in air-conditioned, reclining passenger seat style.

            Closer to Mesquite the road ascended to a higher plateau. Scrub brush and fruit-laden cacti carpeted the valley floor in green. The road descended again, where the vegetation clung to the browns, oranges and reds of rock and loose soil.

            The gravel road west towards the dry wash of our destination low point remained passable, allowed us access to flowing water, a trickle of a stream.

            We walked up the dry wash towards Utah, a warm breeze gusted at our backs. Loose dry sand slowed our advance along the tracks of All-Terrain-Vehicles we followed along the west side of the wash.

            "This is like walking through snow," Dr. Bobo said.

            "From the arctic yesterday to blowing sand (of the desert)," I said.

            The wash widened. A row of green cottonwood trees grew along the east edge of the wash.

            "Looks lower over there," I said.

             We angled a little to our right.

            "I see the fence," Dr. Bobo said, referred to the Utah-Arizona border.
 
            We went east along the fence looking for the lowest spot, touched under the barbed wire several places to cover all the bases, took photos at the one we judged lowest, considered that the official low point of 2,180 feet for Utah.
Connard Reaches Into UT For Low Point.

            "One and two-thirds miles to the car," Dr. Bobo said.

            Head-on into the gusting wind, we trekked down the wash through loose sand, mixed with stones. "About half the strength of yesterday," I said to Primate. My head down to avoid sand in my face, I looked at smooth-edged stones in my path, noted characteristics of some, that red one small, a scattered group purple ones of different shades, a flat tan one next to a volcanic black round one.

            We drove south, debated, searched and decided to overnight camp in Vegas. A shower and good meal at the Sahara Saloon capped a dusty finish to our high and lows on this trip.

            We added a hot, dry 379 miles to the odometer today.
       
            Low points - twenty; high points - fifteen.

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