Category: Off The Beaten Path

On This Date: July 21, 1948 B-29 Superfortress Bomber Crashed into Lake Mead

July 21, 2015

A Modified B-29 (F-13) crashed in to Lake Mead on July 21, 1948

A Modified B-29 (F-13) crashed in to Lake Mead on July 21, 1948

On July 21, 1948 a Boeing B-29 Superfortress (F-13)  crashed in to Lake Mead. The Bomber was modified from a B-29 into a F-13. The “F” meant that it was modified for photo reconnaissance. It was on a special mission to conduct atmospheric research using an instrument called the “Sun Tracker”.  Painted on the nose of the plane was the words “Cosmic Ray Research”.  The plane operated as high as 30,000 feet down to just about as low as you can fly.

While on mission, the plane was making a very low pass over the Lake Mead surface with what is described, “glass like” when it hit the water.  The plane was traveling at about 250 mph as it crashed and skipping across the surface for over a quarter of a mile.  Five men on-board escaped via life rafts before the plane sank in water over 170 feet deep.  The crew was rescued from the lake six hours later and was instructed not to disclose any details of the flight, its mission or its loss. As the mission was classified, these details were not released until fifty years later.

In 2001, a private dive team searching for the B-29 using side-scan sonar found the wreckage in the northern arm of Lake Mead. Because the bomber lay inside a National Recreation Area, responsibility for the site fell to the National Park Service. Due to the cold deep water, the plane  has been well preserved. Currently the site is off limits to divers.

Photo By: – Public Domain

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On This Date: July 3, 1930 Appropriation Bill for the Boulder Dam Was Signed

July 3, 2015
hoover dam

Hoover Dam on the Nevada – Arizona Border Built Starting in 1931

On July 3, 1930, President Herbert Hoover signed the appropriation bill for the Boulder Dam.  Work started on the dam in 1931 and Las Vegas’ population swelled from around 5,000 citizens to 25,000, with most of the newcomers looking for a job building the dam. The casinos and showgirl theaters first appeared in Las Vegas to entertain the largely male-majority dam construction workers. The name of the dam was later changed from Boulder Dam to Hoover Dam.

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Date Taken: November 26, 2011

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Mount Charleston On Fire – Carpenter 1 Wildfire: Update 7:22 pm 7/8/2013

July 1, 2015
Carpenter 1 Fire in Mount Charleston

Carpenter 1 Fire in Mount Charleston as Seen From Summerlin on July 5, 2013

The Carpenter 1 Fire which started on Monday July 1, 2013 by a lighting strike has expanded to over 11000 acres, the fire started on the west side of the Spring Mountains or as we call it, the Pahrump side of the mountain. The Fire has been burning for over six days and has crossed over the ridge and has descended on to the Kyle Canyon side of the mountain. Over 400 firefighters, five helicopters and four heavy air tankers are currently assaulting the fast burning fire.

The Red Cross has set up two shelters, one at Hafen Elementary in Pahrump on the south and west side of the fire and the other at James Bilbray Elementary at 9370 Brent Lane in Las Vegas on the east side of the fire.

The shelters are open 24 hours a day. Local governmental partners are making animal sheltering available for animals and pets of all types. Red Cross also delivering food and water to residents gathering at the perimeter of the evacuation areas.

Road closures include: Lee Canyon Road. (State Route 156) is closed at U.S. 95., Kyle Canyon Road (State Route 57) is closed at U.S. Route 95, Trout Canyon Road is closed at State Route 160, Lovell Canyon Road is closed at Trout Canyon Road. Mt. Charleston is located 40 mins Northwest of Las Vegas.

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Update: Burn Area or Hot Spots

Orange – Area of Satellite Indicated Hotspots, Red – the Original Carpenter 1 Fire


Red Carpenter Fire, Orange is Satellite Hot spot Areas – click to view larger

MODIS hot spot from satellite sensor, estimated location (1km).

Source: ESRI

New Large Map as  July 7, 2013 9:30 pm PDT

Hot Spot Map Carpenter Fire 1- Mt Charleston July 6, 2013 4:15 pm PST

Hot Spot Map Carpenter Fire 1- Mt Charleston July 6, 2013 4:15 pm PST – Click to view Large Map


Hot Spot Map Carpenter Fire 1- Mt Charleston July 6, 2013 10:15 pm PST - Click to view Large Map

Hot Spot Map Carpenter Fire 1- Mt Charleston July 6, 2013 10:15 pm PST – Click to view Large Map

Update: July 7, 2013 9:30 pm PDT – now 14,458 acres now burned

Hot Spot Map Carpenter Fire 1- Mt Charleston July 7, 2013 9:00 pm PST - Click to view Large Map

Hot Spot Map Carpenter Fire 1- Mt Charleston July 7 2013 9:00 pm PST – Click to view Large Map

Carpenter Fire 1 7/8/2013 7:20 am

Hot Spot Map Carpenter Fire 1- Mt Charleston 7/8/2013 7:20 am – Click to view Large Map

Basic Information

Incident Type Wildfire
Cause Lightning
Date of Origin Monday July 01st, 2013 approx. 12:00 PM
Location Fire location is one mile from Kyle Canyon
Incident Commander Rich Harvey

Current Situation

Total Personnel 753
Size 14,458 acres
Percent Contained 15%
Fuels Involved Pinyon Juniper
Fire Behavior Running fire behavior with short crown runs. Group tree torching and spotting.
Significant Events The Great Basin Incident Management Team #2 assumed command of the Carpenter 1 Fire at 0600 on Sunday, July 7.


Planned Actions Crews continue to do structure protection. Assess possible containment strategies.
Growth Potential High
Terrain Difficulty Extreme
Remarks PROJECTED FIRE MOVEMENT: North into Kyle and Lee Canyons, southwest toward Trout Creek and east to Lovell Canyon and Harris Springs Canyon. During the next 24 hours, it may hook north into the lower end of Kyle Canyon.

Info As of 7:22 pm PST July 8, 2013 :


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Fletcher Canyon Trail, Mt Charleston, Nevada

June 5, 2015

Hiking in Mt. Charleston, Fletcher Canyon.

Fletcher Canyon Trailhead in the Spring Mountains National Recreational Area

This is a great hike, 1.8-2 miles one way, this is a relative easy hike. The starting elevation is at 6,822 ft and goes up to 7,610 ft to the narrow canyon.  This hike is frequented by lots of hikers with their dogs. On one visit we saw over 20 different dogs with their owners. (If you bring your dog, make sure you pick up after your pets, thank you!) On the trail, you may cross a stream of cold mountain water (seasonal). Follow the foot path climbing up as the canyon walls narrow and you enter a slot canyon filled with living trees, ferns, wild roses; as well as debris (logs, rocks) washed down by flash floods. You will eventually dead end at an obstacle rock. This is the turn around point for most hikers.  More adventurous hikers tell us you can get around the rock and continue on to Stanley B. Springs.

Time on Hike: 2-3 hours depending on your resting/downtime.

SR 157 at Fletcher Canyon Trailhead- looking up towards Kyle Canyon

Driving directions: 15 N from Las Vegas to 95 N toward Reno, W on SR 157 (Mt. Charleston – Kyle Canyon) 18.1 miles (which is 1/2 mile past junction with SR 158); look for small parking area and trailhead on R (N) side of road just before reaching the USFS Visitors Center. There is very limited parking

In Fletcher Canyon looking down

Looking up at Fletcher Peak 10,319 ft / 3,145 m

GPS track of our hike, covered 4 miles up and back on the trail.

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Lone Mountain Hike in northwest part of Las Vegas

March 8, 2015

GPS: N36°14’17.88″ / W115°18’59.026″

Lone Mountain is a steep, isolated, rocky crag located in the northwest part of Las Vegas just inside the Interstate-215 Beltway. The summit stands some 600 feet above the surrounding desert and homes, giving great views of the city and the surrounding mountains.

To get there take the 215 Beltway to West Lone Mountain Road, park at the newly built Lone Mountain Regional Park, there is parking and restrooms at the park. Another alternative route is to park at the end of Vegas Vista Trail  off of West Alexander Road and head up the western side for a more direct route.

Lone Mountain Summit, Las Vegas Nevada

Panoramic view of Lone Mountain Summit, Las Vegas Nevada

Click Here for a 360° Virtual View

There are several routes up Lone Mountain. The Northwest Route is fairly steep, but it is short (0.51 miles) and takes only about 30 minutes if you stop to enjoy the scenery along the way. The other is a longer from the north end. Lone Mountain is good place for a quick get-away or after-work hike. Be careful hiking this during the summer heat it can be very hot. This hike would make a good sunset/sunrise climb with a great view of the Las Vegas valley.

Elevation: 3342 ft.
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Desert Megaphone

February 16, 2015

GPS: N35° 01′ 18″ W116° 11′ 51″ (WGS 84)

Desert megaphone

Desert Megaphone

Desert Megaphone. This odd looking hunk of metal was found during a trip to Afton Canyon, California. on December 23, 2000. No one really knows who built this contraption or how they built it. This thing is huge. It must be about 10 ft. long and about 2 ft. round. It is made of heavy steel and has been welded into place and set into the rocks by drilling holes. This desert art work has been named the ‘Desert Megaphone’ and is a great thing to talk about.

Its located by Crucero Rd in the Mojave desert. Nobody knows who built the Desert Megaphone or who put it there, but I feel it was made by someone working for the railroad long ago. Some have speculated that the ends may have been covered with skins and used as a drum.

The Megaphone is a big tube of welded steel fashioned from several train parts. From the looks of it some attention to detail was done to create it. If you bang on it with a rock it makes a loud clanging noise. Someone also attached a small brass bell to it, for what reason who knows. The direction it points also has no reason either.

Leave a comment if you have any information regarding the “Desert Megaphone” or have seen it prior to December of 2000.

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