Speckled Rattlesnake ( Crotalus mitchellii )

The Speckled Rattlesnake is fairly common pit viper found in southern California, southern Nevada, western Arizona and south-western Utah and down the Pacific coast into Baja California.  A moderate size snake, this animal typically does not exceed 39 inches in length.  As with most animals, the Speckled Rattlesnake is a master of disguise and commonly are colored to compliment the surrounding rock.  This viper can range from pink, cream, tan or pale blues and grays.  This feature I can personally attest to as I witnessed and entire Cub Scout Pack literally step over the specimen photographed below while hiking on a camping trip in the Valley of Fire State Park just outside of Las Vegas, Nevada.

Juvenile Speckled Rattle Snake found in Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

A Juvenile Speckled Rattle Snake found in Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

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Bitter Springs

Bitter Springs is a 28 miles back country road which connects I-15 to the North shore Road highway 167 located inside Lake Mead National Recreation Area near Echo Bay.  The trail takes you by old mining roads and washes throughout the Muddy Mountains.

To reach the trail head, head North on the I-15 from Las Vegas. Exit the Valley of Fire offramp (exit 75), and turn right towards the state park, Valley of Fire. There is a lot of excellent camping in Valley of Fire.

Unless you have a need for fireworks or booze, proceed past the Moapa Indian Reservation store. After three miles the paved road bends left. The trail is the dirt road heading straight into the dessert towards the mountains.

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St Thomas, Nevada

Founded in 1865 when Brigham Young sent settles to the confluence of the Virgin River and Muddy Rivers.  St Thomas remained a Mormon settlement until 1871 when a surveying correction placed the town in Nevada.   When the Mormons abandoned the area, other settlers claimed the property.  St Thomas used to served as a pit stop for travelers between Los Angeles, California and Salt Lake City, Utah using along the old Arrow Highway (US 91).

St Thomas Ghost Town, Lake Mead NRA, Nevada

St Thomas Ghost Town is accessible with lower water levels in Lake Mead, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada

The United States Federal Government “purchased” the land as part of the Hoover Dam project.  In actuality, there were multiple suits as the residents of St. Thomas raise complaints about the amount the federal government was paying for their land.  In time, the residence lost and the entire town was doomed to its destiny and the water of Lake Mead continued to rise.

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Anniversary Mine and Narrows

Annivesary Mine Narrows

Annivesary Mine Narrows

The Anniversary Mine trail is truly a fun place to go and the location has a little bit of everything.

Located in the Muddy Mountain Wilderness of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, the Anniversary Mine was founded in 1921.  The colomanite mine operated at seven years until 1928 and produced an estimation 200,000 tons of ore.  The mine is located a short ways off North Shore Road (167).  There exist some foundations, and tunnels along with some minor infrastructure of the operation.

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