February 22, 2015
After a couple days exploring Mojave National Preserve we headed east towards home but decided to break up the drive by stopping for the night at Callville Campground, sort of along Lake Mead.
The drive took us through more Joshua Tree forests.
The lake is shrinking, a lot. The Lake Mead National Recreation Area infrastructure was designed to operate optimally at lake levels between 1,180 feet (359.6 m) and 1,220 feet (371.8 m), levels typically seen in the past 30 years. As of Wednesday, March 16, 2016 the water level was 146.4 feet (44.6 m) below full pool of 1,229.00 (374.5 m). The National Park Service and concessionaires have spent millions of dollars extending launch ramps and moving marinas to chase the declining water. Some facilities have been forced to close.
These big yet shrinking reservoirs just don’t make sense. Trying to hold mass amounts of water with a huge surface area that evaporates off what little gets there now anyway.
Only a few people in the one open campground loop, dry camp for $20/night, half price with Senior Pass. The site was level though not very large with picnic table and fire ring. Bathrooms with running water, stand pipes occasionally, dump station. Our nearest neighbor three sites over only ran the generator for a couple hours. Ugh. Good time to go for a walk.
The sun was low causing the surrounding hills to glow and providing a soft backdrop to the out of place looking and invasive palm trees?
We walked down the closed road towards another campground loop and a tiny view of Lake Mead in the distance. I’ll bet when the lake was full this place was hopping.
Can you see that old water line? Wonder how low the lake has to be to see what’s left of the original 1864 settlement of Callville, submerged after the completion of Hoover Dam in 1936.
We picked out a couple favorite camp sites that one time overlooked the lake. I wondered at the absurdity of camping here in the desert with your ski boat beached nearby. Now, the place has a rather dead feel and not because of the sparse vegetation.
Walking back I saw Vultures roosting in one particular palm. Might not want to camp under this tree.
Watched the full moon rise and went to bed early in preparation for the long drive home the next day.