Sunday, May 23, 2010

Endangered Blue Pupfish

Yesterday we spent the whole day exploring Ash Meadows NWR. What a neat place! Of course we had to drive forever to even get in the park and then we drove all over the place to see the various springs and the reservoir. It encompasses over 23,000 acres of spring fed wetlands and alkaline desert uplands.

"Water is the key natural resource that makes Ash Meadows a unique ecosystem in the dry Mohave Desert. Where does it come from? Over 100 miles to the northeast, water enters a vast underground aquifer system. This water, also know as 'fossil water', takes thousands of years to move through the ground. A geological fault acts as an 'underground dam' blocking the flow of water and forcing it to the surface into 30 seeps and springs. Over 1000 gallons per minute flow year round, most of which come from seven major spring. "

Blue Pupfish, picture by AnneBlacktail Jackrabbit, picture by Anne
Zebra tailed lizard,picture by Jim

The springs are warm and the temperature can reach 90 degrees. the water is crystal clear

sandy bottom of the stream

I like dead trees and this one has only a bit of green left on it

even though water flows just a couple feet from the bank its dry

one of the springs, if you look in the lower left you can ripples on the water, that's where its flowing from underground.

Yerba Mansa, we saw it at every spring

the water was very inviting and the three of us took many pictures!

Alkaline crust just off the boardwalk. one side skirted the stream and the other side was dry desert

Miss Anne looking pretty in pink in front of this huge rock, two more smaller ones are on the backside.

restored cabin of Jack Longstreet who lived here 1891-1899 He had a spring not far from the front door.

bridge over the water This is the Crystal Reservoir and is open for day use. You can swim and boat as long as the engine is electric or human powered. no fishing either

We ended up having lunch at the Longstreet Casino in Amargosa Valley. Nothing to shout about but it filled the empty hole. We didn't realize there was so much to see or we could have brought lunch.
Our last stop was Devils Hole but you can't see much because it's all fenced off. Apparently they send divers down for exploration and study the system. Devils Hole is part of the Death Valley NP.
We arrived home around 1430 and for me a cup of coffee was first on my list. Also fed Boo, he sure was glad to see us!
Since lunch was so late we didn't have dinner, just snacked on leftovers. A cold front came through an made the day pleasant for wandering the desert. We had to close the house up after sunset because it was in the mid 60's and dropping quickly. We slept under the comforter and stayed nice and warm.

It was 57 degrees in the house when I got up at 0700 this morning. Time for the fireplace. Clouds have moved in and the day is chilly, only 63 degrees as I type this. Taco soup sounds like a mighty fine idea for lunch.

"Nature chose for a tool, not the earthquake or lightning to rend and split asunder, not the stormy torrent or eroding rain, but the tender snow-flowers noiselessly falling through unnumbered centuries ~ John Muir"