Full Moon Photography Camp-out


When: Feb 10-12, 2017
Where: Boulder Beach Campground-Lake Mead, Boulder City, Nevada.

This is a family friendly weekend.  While we do partake in adult beverages, if you are not well behaved around other people, kids, and our grandmothers, please seek out another event.   🙂   We don’t tolerate rowdy or loud  types that may bring other camper complaints, ranger visits, and situations that will result in being asked to leave.

This is a no cost involved meet up.  Other than your own travel expenses, National Park entrance fee’s and National Park campground fee’s.  We collect no money.

Saturday Potluck attendance is optional but if you attend we please ask you brings some type of food to be shared.  Anything such as a main dish, side dish, appetizers, chips, salad, etc.

Also be sure to bring firewood.

Disclaimer: We hope we have the moon timing correctly plotted for the area 🙂

Map to Campground

Are you a photography buff wanting to photograph the moon rise?  Want to camp?  Enjoy a potluck meal?  Or sit around a campfire?

Secure your own camping site in the dry camping area of Boulder Beach Campground inside Lake Mead NP, near Las Vegas, Nevada.  These dry camping sites are not open to be reserved in advance.  But this time of year there should not be a problem with availability.

RV sites with full hook-ups are available in an area adjacent to the dry camping sites and I believe you can reserve these in advance..

Dry camping sites are first come first served and all attending must make their own arrangements to secure their site and pay directly to the park.  This is in the Lake Mead National Park.  There are entrances fee’s at the Park main gate even if you come in for the day.  Annual, senior, and other passes may reduce your entrance and camping fees.  The group meet up does not charge any additional fee’s.

Link to NPS Website Fee’s Page

Some will be in trailers, camping out of their vehicles, in tents, and RV’s.  RV’s can set up in the dry camping sites if you don’t need full hook ups and want to be closer to the group.

There is a Full moon, moon rise timed with sunset Friday evening.  We are combining this photo op with Camping all weekend.  We will be on the western shore of the lake.  There is an open area that offers full view of the lake and distance mountain peaks across the lake to the east.

We are putting together a very informal group Photography, Moon viewing, Dutch Oven Potluck, & Die Hard Camping Event for this February 2017 Weekend.  You can interact or not, as much as you wish with others attending.  On Saturday afternoon we will have a Potluck meal get together in the dry camping area.

Camp with us for the weekend or come out for some photography.  If you can’t camp all weekend, at least bring a chair and your hot chocolate or favorite hot beverage to share the evening campfire.  At a minimum don’t miss the potluck.  We are close enough to Boulder City, Henderson, and Las Vegas that some may just want to drive out during the day or evening?  Since this is one of the cooler months I expect this group to be rather small.

Contact me if you want an invite, or view the details. The event is set to private in Facebook. I will have to send you an invite.  Email to:  info@toponautic.com   (In the subject line type: ATTN Rick I want in on Shoot the Moon)  If you don’t hear back within 24 hrs please attempt another contact.

Some of our regular member campers and Dutch Oven Cookers are already invited.  This is camping, Potluck Dutch Oven Cooking (other cooking techniques gladly accepted).

This time of year in the Las Vegas, Nevada area, the weather can be nice or on the cool side.  Prepare accordingly.  Bring firewood for evening campfires.

For a personal invite and access to more details on our Facebook event please email:   info@toponautic.com   In the Subject line of your email type ATTN Rick:Add me on Facebook/Shoot the Moon .   I will have to send you a FB friend request.  Once you approve it I will add you to the event.  If you don’t see it happen please send me another email and let me know.

We charge no fee’s to attend this group event. This is just an informal gathering of like minds taking care of their own arrangements.  (you do have to make your camping reservations, pay that to the park, as well as park access fee’s)


Red Rock Cactus and Rain

The Desert Southwest offers some diverse scenery.  While most of the year that days are hot and sunny, there are cooler periods.  On occasion we are blessed with delightful rain.  While these rains can sometimes come down with such intensity they become deadly, they also transform the stark landscape into something of beauty.

I live on the western edge of Las Vegas, Nevada.  Further west of us is a rugged mountain range with peaks that exceed 10,000 feet.  At the foothills of this range is Red Rock Conservation Area.  The lower levels are desert.  From the desert floor there are giant clumps of sandstone jutting up hundreds of feet.  Sandstone walls of the Keystone Thrust, rise up from the valley floor up to  3000 feet.  Just behind them, the mountains.

I was watching the rain pouring on the mountains the other day and decided to drive up to Red Rock to enjoy a different kind of experience.  One of the rain and water flowing, rather than the normal dry, and unforgiving terrain.

Since this was the early part of May and we have had rain more than the past many years, the cactus, plants and bushes were in full bloom.

While not the optimum conditions for photography everywhere I turned I saw different colors.  The rain started again and I had to keep the gear dry.  So I popped back in the vehicle and enjoyed it and the drive out of the park.

For info on Red Rock Conservation Area click this link



Twice a year we have a local group out of Las Vegas that camps at one of Nevada’s Ghost Towns.  Our spring event will take place May 12 through the 15th, 2016.  The core group camps with anything from RV’s, Teardrops,  to Tents.  RV spots are limited to 11 and normally all get reserved.  There are also a limited amount of rustic cabins for rent.  There is endless dry camping where you can camp out of your car and set up a tent.

We also have an October trip scheduled for October 13-16, 2016.

If you want the experience and car camping is your thing.  This would be a unique opportunity to attach to your Havasu Falls trip if you are coming in through Las Vegas.  Or just join us and have a fun weekend.

This is paved roads the entire way.  You can travel here with the family car or a rental with no fear of needing an off-road vehicle.

Gold Point, Nevada is about a 3 hour drive north out of Las Vegas.  It is remote but offers a rewarding experience.  The Saloon is opened for our group.  There are also some prepared meals available for purchase, but head count must be given.

This is rustic camping for the most part.  Pit toilets, but there is a shower.  No tables.  No tree’s.  Don’t expect comforts and you won’t be disappointed.  A shade/rain fly is recommended but not necessary.  As is a folding table.

Hard Luck Mine Castle

There are no services or store.  The nearest small town is about 40 miles away.  Be sure to bring everything you need.  Water is available.

The area is full of photogenic buildings, old iron, mining equipment, and machinery.  A handful of people live in the town and are restoring buildings while maintaining the old dilapidated look.

The town sits at an altitude just above 5000 ft so during spring and fall expect chilly nights and pleasant days.  Some years its rained and  we spent the day in the saloon sitting around the wood stove with a roaring fire.

One of the Las Vegas Dutch Oven cooking groups does a Saturday Potluck. Cost of admission to the potluck meal is to bring a dish or food of some sort.

There are endless gravel roads going off into the mountains in all directions.  One snakes over a hill to another Ghost Town called State Line…though 4 wheel drive may be required for that one.

Or head over to the Hard Luck Mine Castle.  If you can get the owner to give you a tour (donations required) you will be amazed at what someone built in some very unforgiving terrain and on top of the old Hard Luck Mine shaft.

The Ghost Town of Rhyolite, Nevada is about a hour and a half drive one way from Gold Point (On paved roads).  It is another photographers dream. Totally awesome at sunrise or sunset!

You are pretty much on your own as far as food.  Though some meals can be arranged in advance.  Sheriff Stone (one of the proprietors will do breakfast, lunch, and dinner if arranged for in advance)

Come joins us around the campfire!

Sponsored by: “TheDutchOvenCook.com”



A group of Dutch Oven Cooking friends from Las Vegas spent a few days camping and cooking at Cathedral Gorge State Park, Nevada USA.  This was mid September 2015 to attend their annual Dutch Oven Cooking Competition.

When I wasn’t relaxing around the campfire, prepping food, or cooking in competition I hiked the eroded slots called the Caves area.  For all I knew I might have been stepping off a space craft on to another world.  The video is a tranquil walk through the caves area.  This was during sunset.  The video comes to its conclusion when emerging from a slot and the landscape opens up.  At this point I thought I might be standing on Mars.

Below are still photos of Sunrise and Sunset in the same area.

Cathedral Gorge – September 2016 – Photo taken at night. Lit up from the light of the Full Moon
Cathedral Gorge – September 2016 – Photo taken at night. Lit up from the light of the Full Moon


Old Gold Mine site: Techatticup Mine, Nelson, Nevada

One of the most interesting old mine sites I have kicked around is the Techatticup Mine area, about 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas, Nevada.  In current time it is host to endless settings of photo ops as well as a mine tour.

Prior to the late 1700’s this arid area near the Colorado River was home to several Native American tribes such as the Paiutes and Mojave.   In the late 1700’s the Spanish came through in search of gold.   The Spanish called the area Eldorado.  They never found the gold and moved on.

Prospectors again returned to the area.  Steamboat travel on the river had been established.  Nelsons Landing became a stopping point.  Nelsons Landing was a community on the Colorado River bank and would become one of the most active ports on the river.  Up the huge dry wash several miles from Nelsons Landing, somewhere around the year 1861, gold was discovered.   The Techatticup and Queen City mines sprung up.   These along with some others, formed one of the richest mining districts prior to Nevada even becoming a State.


As you wander through old rusting vehicles and weather worn wood buildings you would never image this area as being one of the wildest western towns to ever spring up in the search for gold.  Complete with double crossers, Civil War deserters, partner poisonings, gunfights, murder, and mayhem.

The area was also home to several notorious Native Americans that lived in this area.  They also dealt in trouble and death.  If interested, research Ahvote and Quehoe, or spelled Queho too.

There is a whole legend surrounding Queho.  Along with Sheriff Frank Wait and posse attempting to find and capture him.  The story would make a true western movie, but with a weird twisted ending.  He eluded everyone.  His mummified remains were to be found later by prospectors in 1940.  In this strange tale, his remains where then put on public display until the 1950’s.   He was finally laid to rest in 1975.

In today’s equivalent, billions of dollars’ worth of Gold, Silver, Copper, and lead were mined.  There are miles of existing tunnels in the mountain at this site.   Current owners, the Werly’s, purchased some of the area in 1994.  They have restored many of the buildings and lead tours into the mine.

The area has been used as the setting for several Hollywood movies and TV shows.

If you are in or visiting the Las Vegas, Nevada area be sure to take at least a half a day and explore this area.  If you have the time, follow the road down the hill to the gravel parking area at the base of the huge dry wash.  Then hike a few hundred yards to the bank of the Colorado River.

At this location on the river, five large dry wash channels converge into a final small outlet where Nelson’s Landing once stood.  In 1974 heavy downpours sent runoff water rushing down these channels.  Some reports say the wall of water was 40 ft high.  The entire landing and village were destroyed, washed into the river, killing 9 people.