Wanda and Pete's Letterboxes - Nevada

Index to Our Other Letterboxes


26 - 27. DESERT DUO Two easy mystery boxes located in southwestern Nevada.

A. Desert Tortoise.

Retired 20 March 2010
The fence is still there making the hillside inaccessible!

September 2009
We have heard that there is a new fence that has been put up and the cattle guard has been removed. The break in the fence is now a locked gate with signs warning about "trespassing".

Checked 4 Feb 2009
The fence is gone and the cattle guard is half buried, but the cactus is doing well. Also, there is an iron rod sticking straight up from the rock about six steps toward California.

Although the desert tortoise is the state reptile of California, this particular one decided to amble just over the border into Nevada! Don't worry - you don't have to be a "desert desperado" to find it! Just go to the place with a name derived from the Irish word for "water" and the "Mr. Sunshine" part of our personal letterboxing stamp combo. Go around to the back of the castle-like structure, where you may find some big rigs. Walk over to the gravel road heading westward through a break in the fence. From the cattle guard at this opening, note the footpath leading shortly up to a rocky terrace, about 150 steps away at 330 degrees. From the top of this terrace, 15 steps at 200 degrees will get you to a pile of rocks just west of a small 4-headed cactus. To find the desert tortoise's hiding hole, all you need to do is remove the top 2 stones - one roundish, one flat. Please replace them carefully so that the tortoise does not become endangered. Please also exercise caution when heading back down the gravelly slope!

B. Heart of the Desert.

Checked 20 March 2010

Once you have found the "Desert Tortoise", it's about a 20 mile drive to a spot once called "ojito de la tortuga", which the desert tortoise may once upon a time have used as a watering hole. Although the area was apparently known for its "good springs", we didn't find the actual spring where Antonio Armijo camped with 60 men and 100 mules on Jan. 11, 1830 during his route-searching expedition. However, we did find a sign to that effect and a nearby inscribed rock. The nearest mesquite tree, east of the rock, harbors a trio of stones on its southern side. Removing the top rectangular stone will allow you to stamp into the "Heart of the Desert". Perhaps the desert will leave its stamp on your heart too! Please rehide the canister carefully and let us know if you visit, since we may never get back to check ourselves!

287. CHRISTMAS POPPERS A short leg stretcher for those popping over this namesake pass between "casino towns".


It seems that almost every time we have traveled to southern Nevada, we meant to explore a certain gravel road southeast of Las Vegas and northwest of Laughlin to see if it really did have Christmas ornaments hanging on bushes at the top of its namesake pass as we had heard it did. We always seemed to run out of time at the end of our desert loop trips, however, so this time, in winter of 2009, we decided to try out the pass near the beginning of our journey, especially since we discovered that the area now sported a "rattlesnake spring" box we also wanted to visit!

Well, the western part of the gravel road to the pass was not bad for regular cars, but the eastern portion would probably be better suited for high clearance/4WD. At any rate, Pete was so anxious to get to the start of the letterbox hike about a mile east of the actual pass that I could barely get him to slow down for me to catch a glimpse of the few ornaments and shiny icicles dangling in the bushes, let alone stop to let me plant a box! So, rather than have him drive back a "whole mile" to the pass, I simply decided to leave the poppers there near the "trailhead" around 8.5 miles up that gravel road that heads east off highway 95 about 2.3 miles south of the little town of Cal Nev Ari.

From the parking turnoff on the right, simply take about 35 steps south down the jeep road and look right for a juniper tree clump about 10 feet off the road. Under its right front side, behind a tumbleweed (which may have tumbled away by then), some rocks, and a few dead cylinders of jumping cholla that mimic them, the Christmas Poppers - carved by T1 for a homespun letterbox tree in MA, but graciously given to us to plant out here in the wild - now patiently wait in the desert to pop out from their little camo canister! Please poke and prod carefully, then replace everything as found so that other searchers might be able to get a kick out of finding Christmas Poppers in the desert, too!


You can find information about this hobby at Letterboxing North America (LbNA)
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