Rings Loop Trail

Today’s #FridayFieldTrip was hiking the Rings Look Trail in the Mojave Preserve.

It’s a short hike that begins from the parking lot of the Hole in the Wall Visitor Center; it’s about a mile, that takes you past some great rock art, through some fantastic landscape, and then up over a series of steep pour overs with these metal spikes and rings to help you along. It wasn’t easy, but I’m glad to say I did it.

After the hike, I talked to a ranger. Mitchel Caverns (part of the state park in the middle of the Mojave), now has a full-time caretaker, many of the infrastructure projects (water, solar power, lighting of one of the caverns) have been completed. There’s no budget to staff the place at the moment, so it won’t be open to the public in this physical cycle. At least there’s a caretaker, so the damage and theft should now stop. So, it’s good news.

Saratoga Spring

It’s spring break at the college, so I took a #FridayFieldTrip on a Tuesday and visited Saratoga Spring in Death Valley.

My GPS worked great to get there, which is good because there’s no sign from 127 of where to turn. If you do decide to visit, look for the historic marker for Wade’s Exit, that’s the turn off 127.

Saratoga Spring is a place in the park I’ve never been before, way south in Death Valley.

The desert wildflowers are in bloom out there. It’s not quite the super bloom from last year, but there were some amazing fields, seemingly endless, of yellow flowers.  Sprinkled around were others, purple, white, and pink.

I also got to see the endangered Saratoga Spring Pup Fish, too. There’s are two pools near the old road (now a walking path) and there were huge schools of pup fish. The water, colored red by some mineral or maybe just the mud, didn’t allow for great pictures of the little guys, but the schools were huge, not like the small numbers at the Wildlife Refuge.

There was also the remains of a small cabin, perhaps a miner’s cabin? There wasn’t a sign to explain what it once was.

Mob Museum

Today’s #FridayFieldTrip was a long overdue visit to the Mob Museum here in Las Vegas. The museum is housed in the old post office/court house, built in 1933. It’s so rare to be able to visit something old in Las Vegas, because we blow things up and bulldoze them down to build the latest thing. The building is on the National register of historic places, and they’ve done a great job maintaining the integrity of the building while creating a museum space.

The museum collection was both interesting and disturbing. It’s about gangsters and police, so there are some rather graphic images of dead guys, not to mention electric chairs. But all the exhibits were well written, even thoughtful. Each one was a standalone piece.

While the information is interesting, and there’s an attempt to create a timeline, it felt to me that there’s a lack of through line to the collection. I don’t know that a comprehensive story was told of organized crime in America (or even Las Vegas). It was simply a series of snippets. Of course, most art museums don’t present the entire history of art, either.

Cleveland was mentioned several times, but none of my family members were named, so that’s a good thing.

I left there feeling a bit sad and uneasy about the world we live in. Maybe that’s the point?