Lake Mead N.R.A.

Lake Mead N.R.A.

Friday, November 25, 2011

3rd Week of Volunteering at Lake Mead N.R.A.

November 25, 2011 Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

We’ve completed our 3rd week of volunteering here at Lake Mead NRA. We’ve been averaging just over 24 hrs. a week each. Which is more than the required 16 hrs. each. The other day we drove 150 miles out one way to the Gold Butte area of the park in the Northeast quadrant. Most of the driving was interstate with about 20 miles of off-road through BLM land before reaching the park boundary.

The diesel 2500 4x4 we occasionally use.
The scenery through the BLM land was very beautiful as we climbed to an elevation of 4K ft. and the plants were more abundant. Because we would be working in a wash area we had to keep our eyes on the weather as the area is prone to flash floods.

We also saw large numbers of Joshua Trees of various sizes.

The Joshua Tree likes dry soils on plains, slopes and mesas, often growing in groves. Joshua Trees, Yucca brevifolia, grow in the Mojave Desert of southwest California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona, at elevations from 2,000 to 6,000 feet.

The Joshua Tree, the largest of the yuccas, grows only in the Mojave Desert. Natural stands of this picturesque, spike-leafed evergreen grow nowhere else in the world. Its height varies from 15-40 feet with a diameter of 1-3 feet.

Originally thought to be members of the Agave (Century Plant) Family, the Joshua Tree and other yuccas have been reclassified as members of the Lily (Liliaceae) Family. Two variations of the Joshua Tree are classified as J. brevifolia var. herbertii and J. var.jaegeriana.
Joshua Trees (and most other yuccas) rely on the female Pronuba Moth (Tegeticula) for pollination. No other animal visiting the blooms transfers the pollen from one flower to another. In fact, the female Yucca Moth has evolved special organs to collect and distribute the pollen onto the surface of the flower. She lays her eggs in the flowers' ovaries, and when the larvae hatch, they feed on the yucca seeds.
Without the moth's pollination, the Joshua Tree could not reproduce, nor could the moth, whose larvae would have no seeds to eat. Although an old Joshua Trees can sprout new plants from its roots, only the seeds produced in pollinated flowers can scatter far enough to establish a new stand.
Mormon pioneers are said to have named this species "Joshua" Tree because it mimicked the Old Testament prophet Joshua waving them, with upraised arms, on toward the promised land. 

Inside the park, we worked with a park employee, Kelly to re-install 4 metal barrier posts that had been pushed over by 4-wheelers violating the law to ride off-the designated (dirt) road. 
Kelly and I re-installing metal posts.

We then inspected the remainder of the road, making sure it is passable, looking for abandoned vehicles etc. and restoring areas where vehicles had driven off the road by raking them out. 
Getting home after 300 miles and 10 hrs. made for a long day. We’ve discovered that most of the days working this volunteer job have been long. We weren’t expecting the long hours when we accepted this job. We expected to do about 6 hrs. a day. We don’t like leaving Maggie and Rico home alone for so long.  Long story short we’ve discussed the matter with our supervisor Dara and she plans to work with us and try to shorten our days. In fact since Joyce and I had already put in over 16 hrs. in our first two days this past week, Joyce took off and I worked our scheduled 3rd day with Dara which turned out to be another 9 hr. day!  Part of the problem I think is that the regular staff works either a 10 hr. day shift or 12 hour shift.  I feel confident though that we will be able to shorten our days as we move along.
Thanksgiving day, we had our friends, Paul and Paula over for turkey and all the trimmings. We (Joyce) made a 9.5 lb. turkey in our convection oven and Paula made a lot of the sides. We had a fabulous meal. We have much to be thankful for. We hope everyone enjoyed the holiday as much as we did.
I hope you enjoyed the pictures of the desert.


  1. Those are wonderful photos, Darren.(as usual)

  2. That's the one thing that keeps us from heading in the workcamping/volunteering direction at the moment...putting in longer hours and longer stays than what we think we might be able to do. But I'm sure that depends on the situation and where you are working. Sounds like you'll be able to get your work schedule adjusted so all parties can be satisfied. Enjoyed the information about the Joshua trees....

  3. The pictures are amazing. It is a shame that people disregard posts and destroy that same beauty with their four wheelers. Terrible thoughtlessness!

  4. Great pictures, looks like a great area, just have to get those hours down to manageable. :)

  5. GREAT photos and adventure ~ sorry your working so many hours!
    Have fun & Travel safe