Exploring Spirit Mountain

The desert is often viewed as a place with little or no life. Get out of your car and explore and you will soon discover that is not true. One of my favorite places in Southern Nevada is Spirit Mountain. If you visit this area, please treat if with the utmost respect as it is culturally significant to many Native Americans. I’m not very knowledgeable but have found information referring to it as “the place where shamans dream”. The photo above shows some of the many petroglyphs in the canyons at the base of the mountain. This was taken at the entrance to Grapevine Canyon. About ¼ mile up canyon from here is a series of small pools and a thicket of wild grapevines that I imagine give the place its name. The article at the following links contains the best description I’ve found explaining the possible meaning of the various symbols.


Yucca In Christmass Tree Pass
Yucca plant in front of interesting rock formation.

The photo above was taken at the entrance to Sacatone Canyon. I don’t know if the small rock cave is natural or man made. Either way it would make excellent shelter if you were ever caught out in one of the many storms that pass through the area this time of year.

Matted Cholla cactus in Christmas Tree Pass over Spirit Mountain
Matted Cholla cactus in Christmas Tree Pass on Spirit Mountain

A little further up the pass the area opens to a small valley. This cactus is only about one foot in diameter. I really like the contrast in scale of it to the mountain range in the background.

Bird Nest in Cholla Cactus.jpg
Bird Nest in Cactus

This last picture does a great job of showing how life takes refuge in some of the most harsh places. It is a little difficult to see but there is a bird nest cradled in the center of this cholla cactus.  This cactus species has thorns up to 2″ long and are actually sharp enough to embed themselves in the soles of your shoes. What a great place to build a nest and protect your young from predators.

I seems regardless of where you are, life has a way of adapting. Nature more so than the human race.

Thanks for visiting, hope you enjoyed. Let me know if you would like more pictures from this trip.             — John


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