Our winter trip this year took us first to Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Nevada. This is part of the Mojave Desert that extends into southern CA and northern AZ. It's a land of extremes in many ways, but especially in terms of heat and dryness and incredible plant and animal adaptations to survive these harsh conditions. Ash Meadows is a desert oasis and a place of magical lushness that supports some very rare species of pupfish.
Right away we found last year's Verdin nest in a mesquite. How cool! Now, we just need to see a Verdin...
A boardwalk winds you along the refuge's paths to help protect the local area from damaging wanderings.
The water here is very salty, but is hospitable to plants and animals that are adapted to it. Steve took a drink and he didn't find it too tasty. In fact, it incited a trip back to the car for some fresh water to cleanse his palate!
Little pupfish and dace call these clear, salty waters home thanks to people who worked very hard to restore this land from past abuses and a massive development plan.
Native People lived in this area as evidenced by signs left behind. We can so see why they lived here.
We watched a very short video (2 minutes) on the Devil's Hole Pupfish so it was just so, so cool to see where this hardy, very rare fish is surviving.
The integration of art and nature is one reason we both so love the desert regions of the U.S.
The Visitor's Center was oddly closed during our visit, but it's brand spanking new and beautiful - including the stone used in its construction.
Next stop, Death Valley National Park...