Devil's Cove, Nevada

St. George Jeepers Trail Report – March 28, 2017

Devil’s Cove, Nevada

Thirteen Jeeps assembled at the Chevron Station in Mesquite to begin our Tuesday trip to the Devils Cove on Lake Mead. The day, as they usually are in the region, was bright, sunny and pleasant with temperatures in the 60’s. Departing Mesquite we traveled to exit 112 off I-15, crossed the Virgin River and then to the scenic Whitney Pockets area on the New Gold Butte Road, below.

During spring one of the objectives of our March and April Tuesday trips is to view not only the remarkable geology of the area but also the wildflowers in bloom. Below a Mojave yucca in near full bloom.

Vista from the trail 

Another Mojave yucca in bloom 

Rocky mount covered with creosote bush, barrel cactus, fishhook cactus and broom snakeweed. 

As we traveled south and to lower elevations the valley and slopes were blanketed in wildflowers. 

Broom snakeweed, Guttierrezia sarothrae and desert daisy. 

Below, desert daisy, Baileya multiradiata. 

Below, dwarf mistletoe 

Dwarf mistletoes are parasitic plants which infect all coniferous tree species in Nevada except incense cedar and junipers. However, these two species are infected by true mistletoes. There are 14 species of dwarf mistletoe which may infect the state’s native conifers. The parasitic plants are typically associated with one or two principal host tree species. The parasite can be introduced into an area by planting trees which are infected. 

Life cycle

The plant spreads primarily by seed. The berry-like fruits ripen in the late summer or fall and burst, shooting their sticky seeds distances up to 50 feet. The seeds adhere to needles, twigs, branches and trunks and germinate the following spring. Seeds can also be spread by sticking to the feet of birds.

Infection of the host occurs when the root-like structure from germinated seed successfully penetrates the bark. The root-like system becomes imbedded in the wood and provides the plant with water and nutrition supplied by the host tree. The mistletoe plant continues to grow and spread in the host. Shoots of mistletoe form within two to four years, and fruits are produced in another one to two years. 

More desert scenery 

Approaching Devils Cove and the Colorado River. Full lake level is 1,229 feet elevation. Lake level on the day of our visit was 140 feet below that level. 

Beavertail cactus in bloom 

Below, Devils Cove, showing the cove’s relationship to Lake Mead, upper left. Devils Cove is no longer directly  to the river or lake and the level is lower than when the below photo was taken in 2015. 

As we approached the cove, we were greeted by a herd of 14 curious wild donkeys. 

Lunchtime at the cove. 

High water line is obvious, giving the observer a good indication of how low lake levels are. 

View from the cove. At the lower center of the photo on the plateau is the donkey stallion. 

Zoomed in on the herd stallion. 

Desert poppies 

Canaigre-This course herbaceous perennial is one of the early spring flowers of the desert. Commonly called wild rhubarb, its sap and roots are high in tannin content. Indians and Mexicans use the leaves for greens. Papago Indians of Arizona roast the leaves and the roots for treating colds and sore throats. This plant is a close relative of the European dock, several species of which have become naturalized in the US. 

Desert Paintbrush, likely Castilleja chromosa or angustifolia 

Penstemon spp. 

Scenery at the Whitney Pockets intersection. The flower is globemallow, one of the sphaeralcea species, possibly coccinea, or scarlet globemallow. It was blooming prolifically in the Whitney Pockets area. 

View looking west over Lake Mead, the Overton area and the Sheep Range Mountains. 

More scenery in the Whitney Pockets area. 

Desert marigold were blooming abundantly in the Whitney Pockets area. 

Purple sage – Salvia species 

Closeup of purple sage blossom 

Another nice beavertail cactus with many more blossoms yet to come. Most of the beavertail cactus bloomed within a 4-hour time span between our arrival and departure. 

Submitted by Bud Sanders 

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