There is a hidden valley of verdant splendor in the McCullough Mountains. When I moved to Boulder City in 1981, one of the things on my to-do list was explore the McCullough Mountains.
In 1981, I quickly realized my Toyota Tercel, even though it was a four-wheel-drive, was not going to deliver me in one piece through the wash that runs down from the valley. It was an El Nino year, like 2023 is turning out to be.
I found that I needed an off-road SUV to enjoy the mountains and deserts of Nevada which I have explored over the years, finding singular black rocks with petroglyphs on them, an abundance of chalcedony, as well as human occupation – sites in the El Dorado Valley which now have a mirage of water created by the presence of solar panels. Off the road a bit are canyons with petroglyphs.
The dry lakebed was at one time so beautiful when it was a resplendent reflection of the McCullough Mountains created by the winter rains during El Niño years.
I’ve climbed to McCullough Peak from the other side of the mountains. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a trail to the top of the mountains beginning at the end of the El Dorado paved road that connects many of the solar sites in the valley? The peak is over 7,000 feet, often creating the convective thunderheads of the monsoon season.
Have you visited Keyhole Canyon or Grapevine Canyon, now in the Avi Kwa Ame National Monument? They demonstrate the occupation of the area long ago by Native Americans. They were likely a simpler consciousness, more third-ray. I used to decorate the junipers in Christmas Tree Pass at Christmastime. I’ll bet that the Park Service from Spirit Mountain National Monument will disallow any further decoration of those trees on the way to Grapevine Canyon. Perhaps they will hold a seasonal ceremony with the Native American tribes?
Water is so rare in the desert that a wet spring always brings beauty to the desert, doesn’t it? My parents took me hiking in the beautiful places of America, so I readily enjoyed the beauty of the Mojave Desert. It is most resplendent in the spring when there has been rain from the fall to the summer.
I camped in an Arizona canyon in one such June when I witnessed a rainbow arching over the canyon as I drove home down a valley. I enjoyed bighorn sheep walking through that valley. I’ve seen a mother coyote running with her cubs down that valley when the spring yellow wildflowers have a special aroma. Perhaps that happened this year since we had an abundant amount of rainfall in the desert surrounding Boulder City?
The Rocky Mountains had an above-normal snowpack this year, didn’t they? I just returned from Durango, Colorado where I saw the Animas River, flowing into the San Juan River, finally traversing into the mighty Colorado River. It is mighty once again this year isn’t it? According to the Bureau of Reclamation in May, Lake Powell is receiving an incredible 77,000 cubic feet per second (CFS) as the unregulated inflow of the Colorado making Lake Powell water levels rise higher than they were at this time last year! That is great news for those who follow the lake forecasts, isn’t it? Those water levels have been falling for nearly 20 years.
I rafted the Colorado from Moab through Cataract Canyon leading to Lake Powell in July 2001 when the river had only 5,000 CFS. The raft bounced over a rapid so violently that I was thrown into the river. That was a thrill! Water, rising in Lake Powell or Mead is gorgeous for those of us who have been here long enough to remember the year 1983.
That year, water spilled from the spillways of Glen Canyon and Hoover dams, didn’t it? In talking to Robert Broadbent, Boulder City’s first mayor, who later became the commissioner of Reclamation, he told me that was the most “terrifying professional experience” he ever had since the agency was frightened that Glen Canyon Dam would fall into the Colorado River since the spillway tunnels sprayed water for days, cavitating huge caverns in the spillways of the dam. That hasn’t happened since, has it?
New life is always spectacular in the desert, isn’t it? New life arises from the rains, doesn’t it? What new life is arising from the heart of Boulder City? Enjoy love this year with your loved ones in the beautiful desert and mountains surrounding Boulder City, Nevada!
Eric Lundgaard is the former mayor of Boulder City and currently the president of the Aquarian Theosophy Foundation.