April 17th, 2010 – This quote applies to wildflowers, too. Which means take pictures and do not pick! This a.m. on an early morning trek on the River Mountains Loop Trail within Lake Mead National Recreation Area, we came across a nice collection of Giant Sunrays, Enceliopisis argophylla, when to our amazement we saw where someone had picked at least ten (10) flowers out of the grouping of three or four plants. What a shame and waste….not to mention it is illegal to pick and remove any wildflowers or shrubs from a National Recreation Area. Here is a photo of the Giant Sunray:
This April morning was just perfect for wildflower viewing. My wife and I entered the trail at Mile Mark 12 near the NPS fee entrance station on Lake Mead Parkway and walked east along the trail taking photos and enjoying the morning. We hit the trail at 6:15 a.m. just at sunrise so shadows were long and contrasts were good. The creosote bush was dark green and full of yellow blooms everywhere along the trail. We came up on a Pigmy Cedar, Peucephyllum schottii, all covered in this yellow/orange web stuff called “dodder” which is a parasite. Here is a photo of cedar and “dodder”:
WE found the desert about as green as it has been in recent memory and its sparse at that. the soils are very harsh so plants have to produce quickly before the summer heat cooks them. We found lots of yellow flowers, several in the white and one in purple which I’ll identify in the gallery that follows. We hiked in 2.5 miles and turned around at Mile Marker 14.5 which offers a grand overlook of Lake Mead from the Las Vegas Wash/Marina area. The Muddy Mountains are off in the Northeast some 15-miles, Lava Butte just north about 4-miles, and southeast across the lake is Fortification Hill and Mt. Wilson. During our 2.5 hour adventure we greeted 27 cyclists on the trail, one jogger, and one walker. No dogs, no coyotes, no snakes, no tortoise, but it was very quiet. I did note a lot of scat on the edge of the trail, mostly coyote I would guess.
PHOTO GALLERY OF APRIL 17TH, 2010 WILDFLOWERS: