Sunday, October 23, 2016

A Visit to Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, NV…


We sure are enjoying our stay in Pahrump Nevada at the Preferred RV Resort. So much so that we added more days! Our first excursion was a drive over to the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge to see the Devil’s Hole, a geothermal aquifer-fed pool within a limestone cavern.  Fortunately for us it was only about a twenty minute drive from our park through the scenic high desert.


Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is a unique refuge in that it was set aside to protect one species, the Devils Hole Pupfish. This little fish (known scientifically as Cyprinodon diabolis) is often called the world’s rarest fish with population numbers in the low 100’s. Considering how many eggs fish lay that is an alarmingly low number.


Worse news for this endangered species is the fact that all attempts to establish populations elsewhere have all failed. Combine this with the fact that their population is dwindling since first landing on the endangered species list, the future looks mightily dim for these poor guys. Not to mention the last known population can be found in Devil’s Sinkhole and with more and more water shrinking due to irrigation for agriculture I cannot imagine this tiny creature has a chance of existing much longer.


(NOTE: If you click on the above photo and enlarge it you will see a bat that is getting a drink right in the middle of the pond… it was very cool to see it swooping by and sipping water…)

Seeing Devils Sinkhole and the tiny pool of water below makes one wonder why a species becomes so narrowly specialized that it results in it’s own annihilation. As a Darwinian believer I can only surmise that this species being one “one of the weakest’ has for some reason decimated itself for the good of others. How? Nobody surely knows…


Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge also had a very nice wooden boardwalk that took us along a spring which feeds the wetlands in this desert valley. Along the way birds were seen flitting from tree to tree. We saw mostly various sparrows as well as a few warblers with an occasional butterfly being spotted as well. Other desert pupfish can be seen in the crystal clear spring waters that have ponded in a few locales. With the desert mountains in the background this was quite a serene hike..


NOTE: We just left Pahrump Nevada and are moving over to Hemet California for a week…


  1. A bat picture is pretty amazing. Sad story about the pupfish. Thanks for giving it and the refuge some air time. Things do sound pretty bleak.

  2. We visited that refuge in 2010. It was such a surprise to find these clear blue ponds out in the desert. You're the only other people we know that have also been there.

  3. Just curious. Why don't you do SKP parks?

  4. We still have a couple of pupfish ponds in San Diego. I know you are heading this way, if you want to see them. As for the bats, Fran and I have gone swimming with them! Just have to be there opening day when Agua Caliente County Park opens in the fall.

    Are you going up to Idlywild? We'll may be at the Riverside Count Park.

    1. We will be in SD on Nov 1st... Just got to Hemet CA and will be looking for things to do... tell me more about Idlywild!

    2. From Hemet it's up the hill. Fun old 'tourist trap' town but with many miles of trails. The Ernie Maxwell and Suicide Rock are favorites. Good visitor center with butterflies (in season). It's worth at least a day trip. I've hiked Mt Jacinto from this side, ... long ago :)

  5. Love the Preferred RV park in Pahrump. It does sound like the pupfish is limited. Too bad nothing can be done to prevent its extinction.

  6. Good to hear things are going well. The weather is improving but I think the rain is following us, maybe we should be called the rain whisperers. We are headed to Parhump for a a whole month. Want to have time with my friend in Las Vegas and they are in the mist of a move. Thanks for the tip on this preserve. Have fun and safe travels!