Historic Railroad Trail

Good morning, my friends. Since yesterday's post was pre-written and pre-published, I skipped a day of blogging yesterday in favor of running errands in town. Now, it feels as if I've been gone for a while, and so I missed you guys yesterday. As I've mentioned, we have slow internet where we are now, and so I spent yesterday afternoon uploading lots of pictures to this post. It took around 45 minutes...but you know...anything for you guys. I have a lot to tell you this morning, so grab yourself a cuppa and let's have a good old-fashioned gabfest in writing. I'm verbose, so I'll probably do most of the talking. Feel to interrupt by shouting things at your screen at any time.

When I wrote last, I thought I might be getting out for a photography challenge. Then, Mike surprised me by suggesting a hike. I'm not sure why that surprised me, but it was unexpected. When we were here in Boulder City last winter, we noticed a hiking trail as we drove out of town headed south. The Historic Railroad Trail was originally a 30-mile line used to haul equipment and concrete to and from the Hoover Dam building site in the 1930's. The weather was nice, and so it seemed like a good day to get outside.

We started out getting lunch at Boulder Dam Brewing Co. We like the slogan on their t-shirts: "The Best Dam Beer." We've been here many times, and they have an outdoor dining area. We haven't eaten restaurant food aside from takeout eaten in the car for quite some time, and so we jumped at an opportunity to sit at a table and have a server take our order and bring things to us. The pandemic has brought a new appreciation for activities we used to take for granted.

I've mentioned the grackles before, and they were out in force at the restaurant, hoping for a hand-out, no doubt. You can see three of them in the tree below.

After lunch, we headed to Lake Mead National Recreation Area and the trailhead. After a big lunch, it seemed like the right thing to do.

Here's some information about the hike and a map of the trail.

It's a joint project shared between the U.S. Department of the Interior and the National Park Service.

It starts near the park visitor center and one can walk all the way to Hoover Dam and the Memorial Bridge, if one has that much energy.

So let's just see how far we can go, but first...here are the many ways you could die if you follow us.

Fortunately, it's February now, so it's okay to continue on. Sorry for the blur in this image. With such a scary warning sign, my hands were trembling.

Right away, we noticed the many colors of the landscape, which reminded us of the Artist's Palette drive in Death Valley.

Here are some signs that discuss the trail and the geological forces at work.

As we walked along, we came to this section where some leftover "debris" from the dam construction were dumped...

along with this explanatory sign.

Here, we could get a good pano of the area. Remember you can make the pictures larger by clicking on them.

And here's a legend describing the humps and islands you can see in the image above. I cut off the extreme left edge. The mountains there are called the "River Mountains."

Here are a couple of pictures showing the landscape before and after the dam was built.

The real draw for this hike were the five tunnels we would pass through if we were to walk all the way to the dam and bridge. Here, we came to the first one.

There are supporting timbers at either end of some of the tunnels to prevent the softer rocks from falling on workers and tourists.

Passing through the first tunnel, we came to this viewpoint.

There were some boats on the lake, including this tour boat that looked a little like a paddlewheeler. Tickets for a boat tour were on sale in the visitor center.

And here's some information about the tunnel construction.

And the bats that inhabit the tunnels. If there were bats present, we didn't see them.

Inside, it was dark, but there was plenty of light since the tunnels were short.

Our shadow selves didn't like the tunnels. They vanished each time we went inside.

We only went as far as passing through the 2nd tunnel. In and out distance for us was about 3-1/2 miles. Mike broke his ankle some years ago, and his ankle was giving him trouble. Also, my shoulder was bothering me. Just the force of gravity and the slight jarring of my footsteps had me whining too. We're old. What can I say? 

Mike wants to go back and ride his bike all the way to the dam and bridge. He probably will do that when I decide on a sewing day. In the meantime, we're talking about driving over there just for fun. You can read about our visit to Hoover Dam and see some pictures right here. We took the tour some years ago, and it was fascinating being within the bowels of the earth and seeing the workings of the hydroelectric plant below. Although I haven't checked, I feel fairly certain tours are canceled during this pandemic time.

Surprisingly, the visitor center was open. COVID precautions were evident, and there was a one-way path through the visitor center and store. I was on the hunt for a refrigerator magnet...

first one of this trip, and also a good hiking book for this area.

From there, we headed back to the RV to nurse our injuries, old and new...the injuries, not us. We're just plain old.

Okay, so fast forward to yesterday, and we stopped off at McDonald's for our beloved Egg McMuffin. We were on our way to see an orthopedic surgeon for a shoulder x-ray. I got a good report there. Dr. Grondel said my x-rays looked good, and that my healing was ahead of where he would expect me to be. That was very good news. Also, he knows my doctor in Oregon, which was good to hear. It makes me more confident a report will be sent, as I requested. 

After that, we had a couple of errands to run, and made a visit to a local quilt shop. I've visited Quiltique before, and so I won't write a whole formal blog post about it. If you want to see more of the store, check out the post from my first visit right here. This is a great store in Henderson, Nevada. If you're in Las Vegas, it would be worth a drive south to visit. To the pictures taken back then, I'll add these from my visit yesterday. Isn't this first quilt pretty? It's a huge panel with a pieced border. There were kits for sale.

Also these Las Vegas themed minis...

And this cute baby quilt...

Although I haven't yet decided whether to add a border to the Charm Stars quilt, pictured below, I was looking for fabric that might be appropriate. With so much color in the quilt, it will be hard to choose something that works. I liked this fabric below. If I don't use it as a border, it will work as a pretty binding.

Ordinarily, I pick up a fabric as a "regional print" to use in my Shop Hop quilts. This shop is already represented in the first Shop Hop quilt. Here's the block I made. 

I chose this fabric because of the blooming cactus we'd seen on that particular trip. Also, I purchased the backing for the first Shop Hop quilt from this store.

If I could have found something with bones on it...to remind me I was visiting with a broken shoulder...I might have purchased something for the second Shop Hop quilt I have in the works. It's a little early for Halloween-themed fabrics though, and so I didn't see anything. 

Also yesterday was the first day for the Crabapple Hill Stitch-along for International Embroidery Month. Here is the first inchy for that project:

I've been checking her site obsessively this morning waiting for the second inchy instructions to be posted. It's a disadvantage of waking up before the sun when I have to wait for other people to get out of bed. Oh, the humanity!

Smitty is enjoying the warmer weather here, even if the sun isn't shining on his kitty perch.

When he sits in the sunshine, his whiskers of wonder are evident.

Kind of gives you whisker envy, doesn't it?

Okay, so no plans for today beyond stitching the second inchy. I'd like to get back to my redwork too, but I have to pace myself. I'm sure we'll think of something. We're considering driving over to the dam and bridge, even if the tours aren't available right now. It's still an incredible structure, and worth a repeat visit.


Barbara said...

Black people lived right by the railroad tracks, and the train would shake their houses at night. I would hear it as a boy, and I thought: I'm gonna make a song that sounds like that. ~ Little Richard

justmakeitfit@gmail.com said...

Wonderful post Barbara, thank you. Your descriptions make me feel like I'm right there along for the ride. Your embroidery, as always, is magnificent. So glad at least one of us gets some warmer weather instead of this ridiculous snow I'm currently viewing.

Ann said...

Thanks for the memories. I lived in Las Vegas between 1975 and 1977. I swam in the lake once. It was awesome. Enjoy that beautiful area.

Annette Mandel said...

Glad you found some dam debris. You do realize that you're in a different, earlier, time zone than Crabapple Hill?
I always answer your posts vocally 😃 Annette

Nancy said...

Barbara, Your comment today reminded me of visits to my grandmothers house. Her house was right next to the tracks. We could feel the trains come through all hours of the day and night. When I was an adult and took my children there we parked our rented RV by the access road next to the big barn. Those trains really rocked that RV we were so close. We needed the RV because grandma never had indoor plumbing and I had three young kids one in the process of being potty trained. What an experience for them. The oldest was 5 and still remembers the visit. My grandmother was one tough old lady. We were wimps in comparison needed an indoor bathroom for the kids and us.

Christine said...

Your post today brought a smile to my lips. We flew over the Hoover Damn on our way from Vegas to the Grand Canyon.... I unfortunately sat on the wrong side of the plane with headphones that didn't work so neither saw nor heard the Damn!!! lol
Thanks for sharing, rest up today as I'm quite tired after the first hike of the year

Lyndsey said...

Great post Barbara. It's been raining here for what feels like weeks so we haven't ventured out much for exercise. Reading about your hike has cheered me up and once the rain stops I will be heading out for a hike. I'm also making the little inches but I'm running a day behind as I forgot I need to draw the little patterns out.

piecefulwendy said...

You two always manage to find some fun things to do, and we get to enjoy reading about them. I learn so much from your posts! So happy for you on the shoulder report. Good news, indeed!

SJSM said...

What an interesting hike. It’s good you were there in winter. Hearing the history and mechanics to get supplies to build the dam let’s one know what a marvel it is. Your quote has me remembering a college apartment. We lived next to the track. It’s funny how one adapts. In conversations we would stop until the train passed then pick up where we left off. Watching TV was out of the question as you always missed something important. This is before cable TV and rewinding a program. If you missed a part, the moment was gone. One learns to sleep through trains.

Magpie's Mumblings said...

Wow - it's no wonder this post took so long to load! It's chock-full of all sorts of fun things to see and read about. I must say I love traveling through your camera lens!!
I'm so glad the x-rays show good healing and even better that you're ahead of where the doctor would expect you to be. That's good news indeed!!

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

Glad you are healing well.

QuiltGranma said...

I always love it when your sense of humor comes shining through! "shout at the screen..." Our pastor, when I was little, took his wife on vacation ... I think to Coulee Dam. When he came back he said it was their "best vacation by a dam site!" My father had a sense of humor, too. No swearing in our household, so he got a kick out of Forest's comment, and repeated it enough that I remember it to this day. Thank you for taking us along on your vacation!