The Living Desert

Discussion in 'Science & Nature' started by Frank Sanoica, Jun 17, 2016.

  1. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
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    This is one of the many things which fascinate us about the harshness of the Desert. This Prickly Pear is growing out of a crack in solid rock, gets about 5 inches of rain upon it a year, endures no moisture whatsoever sometimes for several months on end, yet, without fail, for about two weeks out of each year, it will produce flowers of the most incredible, deepest color imaginable. We encountered this one on a nature trail walkway built last year between Laughlin, NV, and Davis Dam, which impounds the water of Lake Mohave, about 2 miles north of town.

    [​IMG]

    Below, a shot of Davis Dam on the downstream side, seen from the Nature Walk Trail. The dam itself is not the big concrete structure, but rather the brownish-colored area having the flat, horizontal top, visible just to left of two red-colored thingies atop a gantry crane. The concrete is the spillway system, in place to allow diversion of excess water not usable to turn the generators, when they are at capacity. There are 5 generators, tops visible just below those red things. What is being seen here, is the Colorado River flowing out of the turbo-generators, noted by the frothy-white water appearance below the generators. At this time, flow is quite low, perhaps 15,000 cubic feet per second or so. From here the river flows southward into Lake Havasu, which is formed by Parker Dam, the last in the series damming the Colorado.

    [​IMG]
     
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    Last edited: Jun 17, 2016
  2. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
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    @Chris Ladewig

    Added picture of Davis Dam after you graciously "liked" my picture. Thank you! Frank
     
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  3. Chris Ladewig

    Chris Ladewig Well-Known Member
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    This dam is south of the Hoover?
     
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  4. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
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    @Chris Ladewig

    By about 90 miles. Those miles comprise the "resting place" of Lake Mohave, the last, and smallest of "Hoover's" lakes, narrow and skinny, but absolutely pristine and beautiful! To me, the most moving thing about these lakes is that they are all man-made, capable of maintaining their status through years of meager as well as excessive precipitation. They are fed mainly by snow-melt run-off at high elevations, but also partly by rainfall runoff. Here is a pic of Lake Mohave, near Nelson, Nevada. Note the extremely crisp, clean air, and the incredibly blue lake color. These are the things that boggled my mind upon first seeing Lake Mead, in 1965, on my honeymoon trip from Chicago. These wonders convinced me, a Chicago-boy, born and bred amongst the political corruption of "Crook" County Illinois, that my efforts should be channeled towards leaving Chicago forever. Which I did.


    [​IMG]
     
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  5. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
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    Here is a view early in the morning taken by my wife, from the 22nd. floor of the Edgewater Hotel tower. Edgewater routinely sends us free room offers, as "locals", hoping to secure gaming revenue. We take them up on it, but spend little gambling. "Locals" around here are treated like royalty, given that we may return daily, vs. less often by those living in CA, or the other surrounding areas.

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Corie Henson

    Corie Henson Very Well-Known Member
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    Thanks for posting those refreshing photos. That prickly pear is really amusing to us. Add to that the mystery that we cannot seem to remember where we saw that prickly pear. I remember taking a photo of my husband beside a garden fountain (like a rock garden) with the prickly pear in the middle. And while posing, my husband said that the particular cactus bears an edible fruit. We both vividly remember that scene but we really couldn't place where exactly it is. More likely it is in a local resort (not abroad) but we have already reviewed the photos that yielded no result.

    I don't know why photos taken of places in other countries look so clean. Dams here don't look like that although I have seen one lately and they look clean but not elegant and refreshing. Maybe I just have my prejudice against the local dams.
     
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  7. Chris Ladewig

    Chris Ladewig Well-Known Member
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    I use to live in the high desert of calif near lake Pyramid, I loved it there and was always in wonder at the blueness of the sky. very rarely here in tn do you see that clean clear blue. The area where you live has it's own type of beauty but I have to say the heat there is far to severe for me. Vegas was the only place that I ever got up and popped a beer for breakfast because it was just to hot for any thing else. It is beautiful though.
     
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  8. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    @Frank Sanoica, near where I lived in Los Fresnos, Texas, there was an old home that had burned to the ground many years before, and never rebuilt. A prickly pear cactus was growing on top of a table that was sitting alongside the ruins. I don't know how tall it was but it had to be a few feet high because it was evident to anyone driving by. It wasn't growing in soil, but from the table itself.
     
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    Last edited: Jun 18, 2016
  9. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
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    Prickly Pear, among others, bear fruit after the flower falls off, which has for eons been used by the Native folks. Many tourist locations sell locally-made Prickly Pear Cactus jam. I have to admit, I have never tasted it! Along the road in front of our red brick house down in Laveen, AZ, several gigantic Prickly Pears had grown up in the years before we bought the lot. Neighbor across the street confided his wife had him dig them up while still small, to get rid of them, and he hrew them across the street! They produced an enormous amount of fruit, which sadly, we never harvested. By the time we left in 1999, the cactus were at least 8 feet tall!

    I was told by my College Advisor at UNLV, me being relatively new then to the desert, it is almost impossible to kill most cactus. We have a small Prickly Pear in back now, which the bunny rabbit chewed half-away. It has produced new "ears" forming roots into the ground, of their own.
    Frank
     
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  10. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    A Desert Dessert!;)
    [​IMG]
     
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  11. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
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    @Chris Ladewig

    Pyramid Lake is located amidst very desolate country-side, quite a bit of it Native American land. I once drove nearly all the way around it, it's huge! The world's record Cutthroat Trout was caught from Pyramid lake early in the last century. Worthwhile reading here:
    http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/7/10/the-return-of-thegiantcutthroattrout.html

    Short quote:
    "For the first time since it was declared extinct in the 1940s, a giant cutthroat trout native to northwest Nevada’s Pyramid Lake has spawned naturally this year in its historic home.

    In the early 1900s, the lake produced the world-record cutthroat trout: 41 pounds. But due to decades of industrialization, the Pyramid Lake strain of Lahontan cutthroat trout — thought to be the largest on earth — gradually disappeared."


    Here's a fairly nice view of Pyramid:

    [​IMG]
    A fisherman displays a Lahontan cutthroat trout at Pyramid Lake

     
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  12. Texas Beth

    Texas Beth Well-Known Member
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    The mexican individuals in my community eat prickly pear to help with Diabetes. I am not sure how it helps, but they swear by it.
     
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  13. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
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    @Texas Beth

    Most interesting! Do you have a lot of Mexican-Americans in your location ? How do you know this about their cultural habits? This may open an entirely new area of consideration for old, local, traditional time-tested remedies! Frank
     
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  14. K E Gordon

    K E Gordon Very Well-Known Member
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    I remember many years ago, on a trip to Arizona I was surprised to see cactus candy, a jelly candy partially made out of the juices of the cactus. It was similar to the apple candy, that we have here in Virginia..except ours contains apple juice of course. However, I am sure both of them contain very small amounts of the substance. I think I have some pickled cactus that I bought in a Mexican store. It's nothing to write home about in my opinion, just something a little different.
     
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  15. Chris Ladewig

    Chris Ladewig Well-Known Member
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    That's a different pyramid lake the one I lived near was next to the I-5 freeway in Calif.. Not that large as lakes go.
     
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  16. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
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    @Chris Ladewig Ah, excuse me then, I had no idea there was more than one Pyramid Lake, especially since the one I am familiar with is in Northern California/Nevada.
    Frank
     
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  17. Linda Binning

    Linda Binning Well-Known Member
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    "That's a different pyramid lake the one I lived near was next to the I-5 freeway in Calif.. Not that large as lakes go."

    It's on the grapevine going from central California to So. California. I drive by it often. It's beautiful.
     
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  18. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
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    @Linda Binning
    So, the L.A. Water Commission has not drained that one dry, as it has others? Commendable! Frank
     
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  19. Linda Binning

    Linda Binning Well-Known Member
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    I don't think so Frank. I'll check when I go down again July 7th. To be honest, when we came by there a few days ago I had taken a Xanax so I'd sleep on the drive home. (I wasn't the driver. :) I'm sure it still has plenty of water in it. I think it's a really beautiful area.
     
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  20. Krissttina Isobe

    Krissttina Isobe Very Well-Known Member
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  21. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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  22. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
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    @Joe Riley

    Incredible story, Joe! That lake is pretty deep. Small enough that it likely would not be spotted by routine satellite imaging work, which I suppose does not waste it's time scanning open desert. 2.6 acres is plenty large enough to spot by satellite. Frank
     
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  23. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    Yeah, Frank, those folks got a new address....Gafsa Beach!;):confused:o_O
     
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