February 2021: WOWvada Nevada

posted in: Nevada, Road Trip, Van Life | 6

Two months goes by in a flash when you’re semi-retired! It feels like nothing and everything has happened since the last blog update. A life of hiking, biking, and dog training really makes the days tick by much too fast. Has anyone figured out a way to slow it down yet? Even though we try, we’re failing miserably. The seconds keep ticking. I suppose we’re doing our best to squeeze all the juice we can out of life for those precious minutes, hours, days, months, and hopefully years we have left!

I do have lots of updates though, so let’s get right to it!

Nevada

After visiting my mom for a few weeks in St. George, UT (where I wrote the last Grizz Update) we headed to Nevada. With the exception of Sin City (Las Vegas) and Lake Tahoe, neither Eric or I knew much about the state. What a shame! This part of Nevada is both diverse and beautiful. If I could sum it up in just one word it would be: Layers.

Hwy 167

Wow, wow, wow, wow….W.O.W!

If you EVER have the chance, SKIP Vegas and head straight here! Highway 167 is a real treat and will take you to the Valley of Fire Hwy (which we opted to save for another time…which will be explained more later).

This was absolutely one of the most beautiful drives we’ve ever experienced and we’ve done some driving! I guarantee the photos below don’t even touch the true beauty of this area.

The City of Lights has nothing on this place if you ask me! It was stunning. See what I mean about LAYERS?

Redstone Trail

Grizz and I stretched our legs on the Redstone Trail which is right off of Hwy 167. There is a nice picnic area here with some good sized pavilions with BBQ grills and tables. Excellent pit stop with a short hiking opportunity to boot.

Not to mention, the rocks were so intricate with interesting shapes, swirls, and crevices! Fun for exploring, photographing, and observing. We even saw three eagles high above the rocks in what looked to be a large nesting spot.

A happy Grizz, who spent at least 25 minutes running circles and rolling around in the cool, damp sand.

And, of course, a happy Jenni. Stretching our legs never felt (or looked) so good!

Northshore Summit Trail

Another nice spot to stop is at the Northshore Summit Trail. A short, but steep(ish) trail with excellent views of the ever expansive mountains beyond. Even on a dreary day, the colors were really popping! Such a sight to see.

Lake Mead

Lake Mead ended up being home for about 2.5 weeks. We fell in love with the area due to the views, miles of endless trails, and the peace and quiet. After spending a few weeks in the busy metropolis of St. George, it was a nice reprieve. Unfortunately, the lake is shrinking significantly due to climate change and overpopulation. According to experts, the rapid decline is a huge concern as Lake Mead supplies water to the states of Nevada, California, Arizona and parts of Mexico (over 25 million people). Just another reason we should think about our impact on the environment.

Home #1

Not a bad place to park for a night or two. Can you spot the little white van on the far right? Places like this make us feel so small.

Initially, the weather was quite cool and damp. It made for perfect hiking weather. It didn’t take Grizz and I very long to kick into explorer mode!

One of us had a little more energy to burn than the other. I’m sure you could guess who that was!

Here are a few more photos of the area:

What a fun day of adventuring!

Uh…wait a sec. What was that???

After getting back from our walk about, Eric got out the binoculars and made an interesting find after hearing some very close, very loud yelps and howls…

View from the binoculars

Coyotes! Yikes!!!

Come to find out, the area is full of them! Coyotes, coyotes everywhere—day and night. At one point, they even walked about 20 ft from our camp. Luckily, we had Grizz inside. Scary for a dog owner. We think Grizz was big enough that they would probably leave him alone with the two of us around, but we didn’t want to take any chances!

But these views!

Home #2

Not a bad front yard, eh?

A view from the back 20
The rest of our playground 🙂

This was by far our favorite spot. Tucked away from most all other campers who came and went over the course of our 15 days here, it was the perfect retreat! We hiked, biked, played in the crystal clear water. After the brief cold spell moved out, the temps climbed into the upper 60’s and 70’s which was absolutely perfect for February! It was pure bliss.

Here are some photos from our time here. Be prepared, there were too many to choose from and this is 3 weeks worth of adventure!

Grizz and I woke early so we could hike out to the sunrise vistas.

Many dramatic skies were observed while we were here.

Gravely sand and a lake full of water equals a happy Grizz.

There are no bad views of the lake.

Crystal clear waters surrounded by mountains.

This dog.

Millions of really cool rocks everywhere. Thank me later for not posting all my rock pics.

Another view of the lake.

Grizz races daddy down the sandy hill.

Stacks upon stacks of layered rocks could be found around the lake.

More sunrise vistas.

A few good sunsets while we were here too.

Another view of the lake.

This dude is seriously my best furry friend.

Grizz licks his chops while enjoying the views with mom.

Probably my favorite view of the lake in this well earned spot (long ride out to a secret cove).

This dog can find a big stick just about anywhere!

Grizz LOVES the water, the sand, being dirty.
Funny Story

Grizz and the water, oh my.

This dog probably ran 10 miles while Eric and I picnicked in our own private oasis. He would zoom up and down the sandy hills like a wild banshee. Once he was brave enough to fetch sticks out of the lake we knew we had created a monster. Grizz would dive in, fetch, run out, shake…THEN that’s when the fun started. For some reason he thought it would be a great idea to wallow around in the sand and get completely filthy, sand deeply embedded in all that thick fur. He was a mess!

We tried to outsmart our little man by luring him back into the water to fetch a stick and try to grab him before he could repeat the process. Ha! Right. He’s too fast. We had to wear him out like this for about an hour and THEN try to get him as dry as we could before he rolled around in the sand. This is when we decided Grizz has some kind of super powers because by the time we got 7-8 miles down the road and back to the van, the dog was perfectly clean! What?!? Amazing.

Another beautiful morning on the lake.

Morning hikes with Grizz.

Following some animal trails back to the road.

Grizz cools off on a hot, windy day.

Grizz waits for mom to climb the hill so we could watch another sunrise. He’s always waiting on me.

So many planes. The biggest downside to this area! But it’s pretty close to Vegas so…it is what it is.

Grizz meets some wildlife.

Expansive views.

Another day, another gorgeous sunrise.

We were surrounded by interesting landscape at every turn.

A happy face rock.

The most beautiful sunset of our time at Lake Mead.
Home #3

Our final night was spent at this beautiful location that we had all to ourselves. While there was a bit of road noise during the daylight hours, the night was so quiet, you could still hear the coyotes singing their songs.

The downside?

The earth consisted of a flaky crust of volcanic rock which was pretty rough on Grizz’s paws. Keeping a border collie in a designated area is not an easy task, but Grizz learned pretty quickly to stay on the softer gravel.

You have to admit, it was a pretty stunning front yard though!

Beware of the serial killer….
Oh, that’s just Eric the Grill Master.

Eric BBQ’d us a delicious dinner and we all stood together and watched the sun as it made it’s final debut for the day casting golden hues over the mountains.

The Big Idea

While in Lake Mead, sitting in the van one late afternoon contemplating life and what we were doing (or rather NOT doing), we cooked up a pretty big idea. Remember that bike trip we’ve been talking about for the last 5 years? Well, that journey may come to fruition after all. Next stop? Back to Utah to plan, gather, and train!

Stay tuned for more details on our big bike trip!

Thanks for reading friends! Questions or comments? Leave them below and don’t forget to check out our Instagram page @CyclingSloths

6 Responses

  1. Aunt Louise

    You guys are so adventurous. Good for you. Thanks for letting us know what you are doing. Grizz seems the perfect addition for your family. Love you guys. Aunt Louise

    • Jenni

      Adventurous or crazy 🙂 Thanks Aunt Louise! We love Grizzy and we love you too! Have fun on your bike adventure as well! <3

  2. Debbie

    Oh my gosh Jenni! Your pictures are making me drool!!! What a fabulous adventure you all are having! Grizz has turned out to be the best traveling companion. I can’t wait to hear more about your upcoming bicycling adventure and seeing more of your pictures! They make me feel like I’m traveling with you!

    • Jenni

      Oh Thank you Debbie! If that sent you drooling, wait until you see the next blog (posting now!). You’ll be able to see why I recommended this area as part of your upcoming trip! Yes, Grizz has turned out to be one of the best traveling companions. I hope you get to meet him soon!

  3. elsie

    Pappad and Mommad are so happy for you guys. You both look good and our new grandson is wonderful. Beautiful place keep enjoying your life. We Love you

    • Jenni

      Grizz is pretty wonderful as long as it’s just the three of us. 🙂 He is still having difficulties with strangers and almost all other animals but we’re working on it! Thank you both. We are happy and good.

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