RVery Best Nest

Come join Joe, Mallery & I, as we travel around the USA in our RVery Best Nest. God's Favor has been chasing us down, and we are enjoying all of His blessing's, that He has created for all to enjoy!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge

                      Sunday 4/1/2012                                                          

On our 3rd day drive to sightsee the Death Valley area, I wanted to visit the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. Note the lime green sand/hill.

Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is located on the road that we took going toward Death Valley, State Line Road, but off State Line Road in Nevada, before you enter CA. The sign says, " Where the desert springs to life".

Everything looks new as we enter into the refuge.
These tall grasses seem out of place in the desert.
Off from the parking, the refuge has boardwalk to follow.
The boardwalk is very short at less than a mile. At about 1/4 of a mile we came to King's Pool, a spring.
The spring is the home of the silvery blue pupfish.
This little pupfish had algea on it's back, I gues for camafloge.
The silvery blue pupfish are males. The female are more green. You can see the male pupfish best in the spring and fall during mating season. The endangered Warm Springs pupfish habitat is less than one square mile. These Ash Meadow Amargosa pupfish have adapted to survive in water as warm as 93 degrees F.
The spring is very clear with algea and boulders.
The boardwalk goes by the Ash Meadow tree. It is very strange to see a green tree in the middle of the desert
There are two kinds of mesquite tree in the refuge. The honey mesquite and the screwbean mesquite. This is a picture of the screwbean misquite tree's seed pod.
This is a picture of the seed pod of the honey misquite tree. The misquite trees do not leaf out until May. Then a yellow cyliner shaped blossom draped the mesquite tree, which turns into the seed pod by June.
We continue on the boardwalk and see these hole in a boulder of limestone. Can you guess how these hole were made? Prehistoric Native Americans pounded the misquite seed pods into flour with a rock or a sturdy blunt peice of mesquite wood. 
As Joe and I continued on the boardwalk we noticed a guy climbing the mountain. Do you see him?
With a close up, you can see him now.
Joe spotted this poor little rabbit next to the boardwalk. It looks like a hawk got it, and just ate it's insides.
We could hear some birds, but didn't see very many. Finally I saw this one. We thought we would have seen more birds, since there was water here in the middle of the desert. The information board said that 270 species have been seen here, some that live here and others during migration. It said the best time to see birds was April and May. It was the 1st day of April, so maybe it was just a bit early.

Next Joe spotted this guy on the sidewalk as we got close to the parking lot.
This little guy is a Nevada side-blotched lizard.
He let me get so close to him. I was like 2 feet away, before he took off. Note the loss of his toes. If that is what you call them.
We got our lunch from the car and headed for the picnic area.
Our veiw as we ate our lunch.
We watch the guy who climbed the mountain. He was at the top, while we ate.
We left Point Rock in Ash Meadows Refuge and drove to Devils Hole. Devils Hole is in the actual borders of the refuge, but it actually became part of Death Valley in 1952.
Devils Hole is a cavern cut into a rocky hillside. A fence surrounds the entire hilside.
Looking down into Devils Hole.   The less than one inch endangered pupfish that live in Devil's Hole have been isolated here for 10,000 to 20,000 years. The National Park Service monitor the water level of the hole. The water must maintaine a certain level above a rock shelf for the pupfish to survive.  Years prior, farming had created irrigations, causing the lost of water to these area's, decreasing the natural vegitation that supported the wildlife. The refuge was established and the wetland and natural habitat is slowly being brought back to life.
Joe spotted this Chuckwalla on the rock wall, looking down toward Devil's Hole. When Chuckwalla's get scared, they run and hide in crevices, then inflate their body by swallowing air. This wedges them in, making it harder for predators to capture them. Joe is good at spotting everything. I wouldn't see have of what we see if it weren't for him!
We left the viewing spot of Devil's Hole, and followed a trail along the fenced up the hillside.

 We found another opening into Devil's Hole that was fenced in.
View from where we hike up around the fenced area. Can you see our car below?
Next we drove to Crystal Reservoir. This reservoir is m where all the springs in this area dump into.
It was extremmely windy that day. The resevoir had white caps.

People use to boat, swim and water ski here, until it became part of the refuge.

There were alot of birds and ducks in this area, but they would not let you get close to them to get a picture.
There is a very short trail that takes you around the reserve. It was too windy to enjoy the trail that day. We left Crystal Reservoir and drove to the Visitor Center and Crystal Spring.
The ground around the springs is very white. After reading some information, I found out it is white because it is very alkaline.
Here is a picture of all the springs located in this area. God provied water where there is 4 inches of rain or less.

We noticed unusual markings on the mountain in front of us.
Here is a close up of the markings. There was no information on how it was formed. It looked like one of Madonna's bra's to me.
This is a stream coming from Crystal Spring.

Everything is dry like a desert. The mesquite trees are still brown.
but we have the stream.
Beautiful Crystal Spring.
The spring water comes from a vast underwater  aquifer over 100 miles northeast. This fossil water takes thousands of years to move through the ground to here.

On our walk back on the boardwalk at Crystal Spring, I found dry mesquite screwbeans pods from last spring.
Remember when I pointed out a mountain range that had a face with a large nose while we were driving from Beatty, Nevada on Hwy. 95.I could see that same face from Crystal Springs. We left Crystal Springs and the Visitor Centor to drive to Big Dunes. We were prabably a mile away from Big Dunes, but because the wind was so strong in the Amargosa Valley, visiability was very minamal. Any other day we would have seen it. We took Hwy. 95 south and headed home for the day. We are still in Three Rivers, CA. We decided to stay here and drive into the park. Joe figured out for the price of gas, it would be cheaper to stay here. It is only a 30 minute drive into the park, and we would not have any hook ups or internet or phone service. Internet is very slow here, but I have the option to drive into town where there is a stronger connection.

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