After my trip on the lower Colorado River a few weeks ago, we decided to visit Lake Mohave as a family for some warm weather, shoreline camping, multi-state kayaking, and even a campfire on what the kids deemed a “secret island.” This was one of our best camping trips yet.
Here’s another view of our campsite from the water looking up. Clear water located just 25 feet from our campsite, easy kayaking access to the Colorado River, and a high of 86 degrees in mid-November! My wife likes camping again after so many chilly 12,000′ excursions in Colorado, and I am starting to appreciate the weather of the American Southwest.
The first morning involved kayaking from the Arizona to Nevada side of the Colorado River and Lake Mead. We went early to avoid any potential winds or current from a water release at the Hoover Dam, either of which can make this otherwise calm body of water difficult for children to navigate.
The kids had never been to Nevada and were quite excited to set foot in the “Land of Las Vegas” after seeing me off to so many work conferences there. The Nevada side looked about like the Arizona side, but it is pretty cool to so easily navigate a multi-state water body. I want to return sometime in the summer so the kids can have fun setting their virtual watch back an hour when entering Nevada and daylight savings time versus Arizona.
Our dog didn’t seem to care which side of the river we were in so long as there were ample ducks for him to watch after. I love these simple dog boots to prevent his claws from puncturing our inflatables.
You can see that the water is clear enough to see through to the bottom in many spots, although there was a fair amount of algae floating near the surface. I didn’t encounter any algae upstream in the Black Canyon (north of Willow Beach), and the next two days the algae mostly cleared out from Lake Mohave as well.
We spent a lot of time out on what the kids called “Sand Beach Island” (or their “secret island”). Our dog was in heaven since he was free to roam the area without fear of wandering off too far since he refuses to swim. We even transported a rack of wood out to have a campfire and roast marshmallows.
One thing to be careful of is rising water levels caused by releases from Lake Mead at Hoover Dam. Generally, I’ve found this happens earlier in the morning and later in the afternoon when the electric demand from nearby cities like Las Vegas are higher. But, it can technically happen at any time, so we always tie the boats to an object 3-4 feet higher than current water levels.
“Away is a place that’s not on any map, but you know it when you find it.” I saw this statement on an RV mailer today and found it a bit ironic given how all of the “campers” advertised rarely leave the blacktop and electric hookups let alone go off the map. I feel very fortunate that my family likes to truly get away, and that my wife puts up with some of the trecherous roads required to do so. Having a cassette toilet system in the popup and an extra water tank mounted to the trailer frame makes it easier to stay in remote locations for longer periods of time.
Speaking of remote: we didn’t see a single person by land for 4 days and only a few boats got within 100 yards of our dispersed camping spot and “secret island.” And no cell/Internet service meant no interruptions.
I was sort of relieved that the kids didn’t get any bites since their ultralight fishing poles are meant for a 2-4 pound trout whereas the carp we saw swimming were 25 pounds or heavier. One jumped just 15 feet or so from my daughter’s wading spot, so that was enough excitement to keep her repeatedly casting for a while.
The water was perfect for wading. Calm, clear, and just cool enough.
After 3 nights on the shores of Lake Mohave for Veterans Day weekend, we watched this amazing sunrise before packing up and heading home very thankful for the public lands that those veterans fought to protect. I do believe we will be back!