Sunday, January 04, 2009

Boulder Beach

My challenge during a long weekend in Las Vegas (more pictures at hshipman) with lots of extra time on my hands was to find some beaches. Of course, that usually begins with locating water bodies, which around here narrows the search awfully quickly. The first candidate was at the Mandalay Bay, where the pool offered hope of artificial waves and a simulated beach. But it was closed for the season and the photo over the fence isn't worth posting. The next attempt was at Lake Las Vegas, since the Ritz Carlton advertised a white sand beach, but though we walked the shoreline, there was no beach to be found. Maybe you have to be a registered guest.

Lake Mead, on the other hand, does have beaches, although with the lake falling about 10 feet per year since the late 1990s, they don't have much time to form before being stranded. At Boulder Beach, the lake is retreating down a gradually sloping alluvial fan and given enough time in one place, the waves can form small beaches. These gravel barriers were neat, separating small puddle lagoons from the rest of the Colorado River. Occasionally higher waves would spill over the top of the berm, carrying gravel down the backside to form little overwash fans.

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