Autumn in Nevada: The Moapa Valley

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Guest Blog Series

In honor of Nevada Day, we have published a short series of guest blog posts about Nevada, with an emphasis on our state’s stunning landscapes and natural resources. These posts have been written by our friends and supporters from across the state. Inspired? Feel free to contact us with questions or a submission:

Nevada landscape near Moapa Valley.

The Moapa Valley

By Whitney Donohue

Southern Nevada is a beautiful place to live. I’ve lived many places across the United States, but I’ve called Nevada my home for more than 20 years and have no intention of leaving anytime soon. Many of the reasons I love it here have to do with Nevada itself – the climate ranges from temperate in the winter to stunningly hot in the summer (which, as long as I have access to a good air conditioner, I love). I’m currently living in Moapa Valley, which has a rich agricultural history that pleases the historical buff in me – the part that is thrilled by the fact that this area has provided food to the United States in the past. The geology in Southern Nevada is something that I’m fascinated with – this area is a rock-hunter’s dream! And of course, if you love camping, hiking, bicycling and varied other outdoor sports, Southern Nevada is a dream.

Southern Nevada is one of those magical places in which it is comfortable to be outdoors all year long. Just outside of Las Vegas are some amazingly beautiful areas in which to picnic, hike, and explore – notably Red Rock Canyon and the Valley of Fire. In both of these areas hidden gems of days of yore can be found on the red rocks – some petroglyphs so very high up on the rocks that you have to wonder if the Ancient Alien theorists could possibly be onto something. At Lake Mead you can hike a short two-mile trail and discover the remains of St. Thomas, the town at the north end of Lake Mead that was purchased by the federal government and submerged in the waters of the lake, only to be revealed as the drought continues to drain the waters of the lake.

If geology is your “thing” Nevada has some stunning examples. At the base of Frenchman Mountain (on the Las Vegas side) is a stunning example of rocks that are 1.7 million years old. Aztec sandstone in gorgeous variations from red to pink to white can be found in both Red Rock Canyon and the Valley of Fire. Fortification Hill and Lava Butte can be found near Lake Mead. They are hills formed by ancient magma that oozed out and cooled to form amazing displays of lava rock. Just take a look at the mountains surrounding the Las Vegas Valley. You can make out the different layers of sediments, see examples of the shift and pull forces that created the Horse Spring Formation.

Nevada is just such a fascinating place to live!

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