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Shoreline and Spiders in the Nevada Desert (Cottonwood Cove)

Posted by E.G.D. on November 16, 2011

Cottonwood Cove Beach, Lake, Boats, Mountains, and Sky! (© Jody Diehl)

Last week, Mom (aka Jody) and I went to visit my grandma and go to a wedding in Las Vegas, Nevada.  On the way home, we (not unnaturally) decided to take the long route and hit every beach we could reasonably call “along the way.”  The very first beach we hit was Cottonwood Cove, on Lake Mohave on the Nevada side of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.  It was a drizzly, gray sort of morning, but there is something to be said for a beach in the off-season on an off-day.

Sign at Cottonwood Cove (© Jody Diehl)

The whole Cottonwood Cove area had a quiet, laid-back sort of vibe, and we were the only people walking on the public beach.  It seems a lovingly-well maintained area, and there is a very nice camp ground and a hotel right there on the beach.  The hotel, in fact, has a private beach reserved for hotel guests, which is probably less crowded when the tourist season is at its peak.  The resort’s options, incidentally, include extremely spiffy-looking houseboats with slides!

Cottonwood Cove‘s public beach has a nice swimming area, boating is definitely an option, and there seems to be plenty to do by way of hiking and camping.  What more could you ask for from a beach in Nevada?  Cottonwood Cove is the perfect escape for people who want to get away from the noise and the heat of Las Vegas, and the drive is easy and pleasant.

The drive (for us, anyhow) also included multiple tarantula spottings, which makes this post “Wild Wednesday” worthy!

Tarantula near Cottonwood Cove (© Jody Diehl)

We were driving back to the highway from Cottonwood Cove when suddenly Mom/Jody said “That was a tarantula.”  I, rising to the occasion, said “What?  Where?”  Let’s just say that Mom has a far better eye for details in the landscape than I do, and she had managed to spot a spider that was doing an excellent job of blending in with the pavement.  She did a u-turn, and we went back for pictures.  As you can see, she got quite close, and this furry little guy stood stock-still while she clicked away.  Apparently, these tarantulas are non-confrontational critters who are more likely to avoid you or to stay still at you than to bite you, but they are mildly venomous.  According to “Poisonous Spiders of Nevada,” an article on, “An impressive and frightening-looking spider, the desert tarantula is relatively common in Nevada’s hot, dry basins, and it also ranges across much of the Southwest. Despite its size and burliness, this hairy spider is essentially harmless to humans. Its bite is usually likened to a bee sting and, except in the case of allergic reactions, doesn’t provoke any lasting effects. Tarantulas will also flick hairs at attackers, which can be irritating to the skin but, again, far from life-threatening. These tarantulas in general are docile creatures; large numbers of males may be seen on desert roads in the autumn when they rove about seeking receptive females for mating.”  That explains why we were seeing them near Cottonwood Cove in November!

Same Tarantula at Cottonwood Cove (© Jody Diehl)

Isn’t he cute?  Well, all I can say is that if you disagree, you may want to opt for the houseboat instead of the tent! -E.G.D.

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