The new Gold Butte National Monument covers nearly 300,000 acres of remote and rugged desert landscape in southeastern Nevada. The area is less than two hours from the Las Vegas Strip, but a world apart. Here dramatically chiseled red Navajo sandstone, twisting canyons, and tree-clad mountains of the adjoining Paiute Wilderness punctuate vast stretches of the Mojave Desert dotted with Joshua trees and desert shrubs.
The 99 mile long Gold Butte National Backcountry Byway provides access to a cross section of the area’s features and begins just south of Interstate 15 near Bunkerville, NV. The first 20 miles of the byway to Whitney Pockets are mostly paved and accessible by passenger vehicles. Other unpaved portions of the route can be accessed by high clearance vehicles and some may require 4-WD. Check visitor kiosks for area information.
The brightly hued sandstone provides a stunning canvas for the area’s famously beautiful rock art, and the desert provides critical habitat for the desert tortoise. The byway and other routes provide access outdoor recreation, and visitors to the monument can camp (undeveloped), hike to fantastic rock formations and hidden rock art sites, and visit the area’s namesake mining ghost town. Wildlife viewing and hunting opportunities are available and the area even has a population of majestic desert bighorn sheep. A full array of visitor services are available in Mesquite Nevada just north of the new monument. Stock up on supplies as no services are available on the byway or elsewhere in the monument.
Morrowind was a huge influence on my taste in epic fantasy. The world you traversed was just so HUGE, and I found it all so fascinating. And one of the biggest reasons I prefer it to the more polished Skyrim is that it was all just so STRANGE. Look at those buildings! What the hell is that! Can you imagine stepping into a world were that is seen as normal! This was the homeland of the Dark Elves, and as such, everything had this surreal organic quality to it. Instead of living in castles, people lived in giant twisting trees. Instead of traveling by horse back, you took this giant flying flea-thing. Everything was just so otherworldly, and that’s what kept me coming back.
Taurus- Greedy or selfish seduction, lady in white entities, twisted or spooky trees and scary forest, violent Earth elemental, hexed treasure, werewolf, singing ghost, gemstones, black rose, black diamond, trolls, labyrinth, and magical items especially jewelry.
Gemini- Evil fairy, dark fairy, Mr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, old insane asylums, evil twins, con man/woman, trickster, magic words, rumors, dark colored butterfly, enchanted books, and getting lost.
Cancer- Witch craft, spells, tarot cards, grudges, curses, Frankenstein Monster, full moon or moon magic, haunted houses and areas, cloak, witches hat, black cats, sea monsters, nostalgia, cursed or magic mirrors, magic candles, and the past.
Leo- Radioactive waste and danger, scandals, evil king or queen, haunted opera/theater, mutation, pyramid, magical statues or monuments, temples, sand storms, rain dances, sun dances or worshiping, supernatural energy, and fire magic.
Virgo- Dr. Frankenstein or any mad scientist, good girl/guy gone bad, general corruption, herbs and potions used in magic or spells, gnomes, dark sex, sinister deals, dead garden, an enchanted garden, and man-eating tree or plant.
Libra- Love potions and curses, ravens, werewolf, the night sky, dark beauty, lust, genie, Dorian Grey, harpy, sacred smoke, masquerades, Queen of Hearts, bad dreams, magic lanterns, and charms.
Scorpio- Vampires, dark seduction, mystery, fortune teller, black widow, black/dark magic, underworld, voodoo, snakes, masquerades, tarot cards, black and white photos, secrets, dark sex, ravens, scorpions, dark still pool, and necromancy.
Sagittarius- Gypsy magic, fortune teller, traveling magician, traveling
salesman of “medicine” and potions, wildfire, dark unicorn, dark circus or carnival, gambling and risk, General Zaroff from The Most Dangerous Game, and aggressive centaurs.
Capricorn- Horror, Gothic design, Victorian age, steampunk, spider webs, death, grim reaper, mad scientist, gargoyles, poppies, bats, a corrupt leader of a cult or underground organization, cave, dark humor, mine, graveyards, abandon buildings and places, and skeletons.
Aquarius- Dark science fiction, mad scientist, dark unicorn, storms, a corrupt leader of a cult or underground organization, magic keys, owls, Phantom from The Phantom of the Opera, corrupted technology, meditation, chaos, dark rebellion or revolution, thunderbird, aliens, portals, and dystopia.
“Instead of growing twisted like a gnarled tree inside myself, I am able to dance out my anger and my frustrations. Yes, I have danced about lynchings, protested in dance against Jim Crow cars and systems which created sharecropping. I have attacked racial prejudices in all forms…” —Pearl Primus, Dance Magazine, November 1968.