02 April 2014

At the Sand Dunes and Visiting a Ghost Town!

1 Apr 2014--I have only 2 more blogs to post till I am caught up on Death valley, so here goes one of them.  On Friday, the 28th of March, we headed virtually down the street 1 1/2 miles from our RV Park to the Mesquite Flats Sand Dunes.  There are actually 4 sets of dunes within the park, but without a high-clearance and/or 4-wheel drive vehicle this is the only one we could get to.  Not much wildlife in the dunes, but there certainly are some deadly snakes...picture 3 shows what we believe is evidence of one from the previous night.

From the parking lot to the highest dune was said to be one mile, but we think that was "as the crow flies"!  It took us just over 2 hours to walk out and back, and it was definitely more than a mile!!!

Surprising that flowering bushes grow in the sand.  With less than 2 inches of a rain a year, the roots of this Creosote Bush grow very, very deep to get to the stored ground water.  They have been known to last 32 months with no rain at all!  Look at the root structure in the 2nd pic...quite extensive!

With everything tan/gray around us, it is hard to show how high these mounds can be.  The highest of these dunes are supposed to be a 100 feet tall, and it felt every inch of it when we were climbing them.  haha  We read that the highest dunes in the park, the ones we weren't able to see, actually go up to 700 feet high!!!

Anyway, here is a pic and 2 videos where we try to give you an idea of how high they are.  

And some more pics showing how pretty they can be.

Cathy's final climb to the furthest and highest peak.  A couple little kids went down these on their bellies...looked like fun!

And some of the sand that is STILL in my sneaker these many days later!  haha

So after our morning sand dune climb, we headed out of the park and back into Nevada to check out a "ghost town" we had seen mention of on the internet and been told about by one of the park rangers.  We also had an ulterior motive...there were only 2 spots to get gas in the park, one cost $4.70 a gallon and then this place below...are you kidding me?  And you ask why we hike so much?  haha  We got it for $3.69 in Nevada and were happy to have it.  haha

Here we come into the ghost town of Rhyolite, you can see it from a distance in pic #2.

But within feet of the actual town we 1st stopped at this roadside attraction, which we originally thought was part of the town, but wasn't.  It was basically an old hippy's idea of an outdoor art museum, I guess.  This "District of Shadows" was just talking nonsense and was very confusing until we figured out the whole thing. haha

This structure is titled "Icara", and is supposed to be a female counterpart to Icarus, the boy who tried to fly to the sun with wings made of wax.

The sculptor of these objects is from Belgium and is known for his life-sized, "ghostly" figures. They are made of plaster, like that used in casts to help heal broken bones, and this 1st one is called "Ghost Rider", followed by "The Last Supper".  They are hollow so they are pretty cool looking.

We were here for a good 20 minutes before we saw this sign letting us know what it was.  The pink cinder blocks are the Lady Desert: The Venus of Nevada, and the couch was taken from a children's museum and is now out here in the desert.  Why?  Don't really know.  haha

So within walking distance of the open air museum is the ghost town of Rhyolite, a town established in 1905, that reached its peak population of about 8,000 in 1907, and abandoned in 1920!  It had banks, a school and even 3 rail lines into it for mining extraction.

And right down there in the 1st pic, on the outskirts of town....you guessed it, a brothel!  haha

This was one of the train stations.

Now that we saw it we wondered why anyone would send us out here, haha, but then Cathy was scanning the land around us and we finally saw some wildlife...right outside the abandoned town were some wild burros that we hadn't seen anywhere else.  With so much land out here, it is surprising how little we saw of animals on this trip.  The whole time we were in Death Valley I think we saw a total of 3 lizards...that's it!

So on we went to get our "cheap" gas, into a town called Beatty...pretty from a distance but not up close.  But I am a total sucker for a church with mountains in the background.  Just seems particularly holy!  haha

So we have one more posting for Death Valley...will send that out tomorrow I think, and then we will be all caught up with that.


  1. Really surprise the ghost town is still there. Any idea how those burrows got out there. You haven't seen any horses yet?

  2. You need to always have a jacket, in case that sand starts blowing around!!!
    What is the white stuff in the sand???
    The Venus of Nevada needs some touching up, who the hell made her??? lol