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Heavenly Angel Creek: Wells, Nevada

Heavenly Angel Creek: Wells, Nevada

Posted by on Aug 19, 2016 in Birding, Gallery, Hiking, Nevada, Travel | 24 comments

Angel Creek is one of the places that made us realize that Nevada is much more than barren desert and glitzy casinos. We stumbled across this little jewel several years ago on a cross-country journey, and were more than surprised by the beauty we discovered.

Mountains? High alpine lakes? Aspen groves? This was not the Nevada we were accustomed to. We spent three peaceful nights at Angel Creek campground, hiked to high alpine lakes from Angel Lake, and put it on our “must return to” list. In late May, we finally made our way back.

Heading north from our last stop at Great Basin National Park, it’s an easy 200-mile drive through Nevada on some of the loneliest roads in America, through less than inspiring scenery. But pass through the dusty little town of Wells, take a left, and you’re suddenly on a scenic highway, traveling into a wilderness of snow-capped peaks, meadows of wildflowers, and alpine lakes.

We settled into our favorite site at Angel Creek campground, tucked into a grove of spring-green aspen and overlooking the valley below. In our travels—and life in general—we’ve learned that it’s the smallest things that make us happiest. Beautiful scenery, interesting hikes, abundant birdlife, wildflowers. Peace. Quiet. Dark night skies. (Good Verizon coverage is a bonus.) Angel Lake and Angel Creek has all of this, and more.

Our first visit several years ago was in the fall, and the hiking was superb. At least two trails lead to alpine lakes, one a 10-mile round trip hike; the other about 5 miles. We were looking forward to revisiting our hiking adventures—but failed to consider that in late May at this altitude, the trails would be covered in deep snow. Oops.

Had we known the trails were closed, we might have chosen a different travel route. But had we not been there in late spring, when the mountains and lake were still dressed in their winter finery, we would have missed the spectacular mirror image of the snow-capped mountains reflected in Angel Lake. Storm clouds billowed above us, and we hiked as far as we could before deep snow turned us around.

Just four miles below, snug in our campsite at Angel Creek, we were treated to abundant, colorful birdlife, including neon bright Western Tanagers, turquoise Lazuli Buntings, and Lewis’s Woodpeckers with their emerald green backs and rosy breasts. This is where we first saw Short-eared Owls several years ago, and we were delighted to again catch a glimpse of one as it flew across the road and landed in the sagebrush, staring at us with huge, unblinking eyes. The birding is fantastic in late spring—we saw 36 species in only a couple of days. To add to the delight of a spring visit, the meadows were thick with clutches of purple and yellow lupine.

Should you find yourself on this lonely road through Nevada, we highly recommend a couple of days at lovely Angel Creek and Angel Lake. It’s once again on our return-to list.

About the campground:

Angel Creek (a forest service campground) is a few miles off of Interstate 80 in the foothills of the East Humboldt Mountain Range, and eight miles southwest of Wells, Nevada. At 6200 feet, the campground is filled with mature aspens, and many of the sites are nicely shaded. Most of the sites are on the smaller side—our rig is 27-feet, and with our truck, we can only fit into a few sites. However, there’s one long, spacious site (number 16) that will accommodate any size rig.

No hookups, but there’s potable water and clean bathrooms. We also had blazing fast Verizon coverage in the campground. The sites are $15 per night (half-price with the Senior Pass).

Angel Lake—another four miles up a narrow, twisting road—also has campsites, but although there are a few 30-foot length sites, it seems better suited to small rigs and tents (I can’t imagine hauling a trailer longer than about 21-feet up that steep and winding road—especially with the sheer drop-offs). In late spring, the campground (at 8400 feet) was still buried under snow.

Next Up: Having A Blast In Boise, ID

Wildflowers And Snow

Tucked Into Our Favorite Site

It's A Little Tight

Mountain Views From The Campground

Lewis's Woodpecker

Western Tanager

Short-eared Owl

Blooming Lupine

Reflections In Angel Lake

Hiking In The Snow

Winter In Late May

On The Trail To Smith Lake

Chimney Rocks Near Angel Lake

This Site Is Big Enough For Any Rig

Wildflowers And Snow
Tucked Into Our Favorite Site
It's A Little Tight
Mountain Views From The Campground
Lewis's Woodpecker
Western Tanager
Short-eared Owl
Blooming Lupine
Reflections In Angel Lake
Hiking In The Snow
Winter In Late May
On The Trail To Smith Lake
Chimney Rocks Near Angel Lake
This Site Is Big Enough For Any Rig
Wildflowers And Snow thumbnail
Tucked Into Our Favorite Site thumbnail
It's A Little Tight thumbnail
Mountain Views From The Campground thumbnail
Lewis's Woodpecker thumbnail
Western Tanager thumbnail
Short-eared Owl thumbnail
Blooming Lupine thumbnail
Reflections In Angel Lake thumbnail
Hiking In The Snow thumbnail
Winter In Late May thumbnail
On The Trail To Smith Lake thumbnail
Chimney Rocks Near Angel Lake thumbnail
This Site Is Big Enough For Any Rig thumbnail

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Wonderfully Remote Great Basin Nat’l Park

Wonderfully Remote Great Basin Nat’l Park

Posted by on Aug 8, 2016 in Birding, Gallery, Hiking, Nevada, Travel | 34 comments

Considering that it’s pretty much in the middle of nowhere, it’s kind of surprising that we’ve made our way to Great Basin National Park three times now. I resisted going there for years, thinking that a national park in Nevada couldn’t possibly amount to much. But this remote, little visited national park has become one of our favorites.

Why, you ask? For starters, it’s at the opposite end of the spectrum from the craziness that has overtaken other better-known national parks. You will find no crowded parking lots, no tour buses, and no crush of humanity on the trails. You’ll also find no charming gateway town, or any amenities to speak of. But if you’re after peace, quiet, and spectacular natural beauty, this is a place you’ll like.

The hiking is superb, with a variety of trails for everyone. Some paths meander along streams and wildflower covered hillsides. Other trails start at 9,000 feet, heading steeply up into the mountains through groves of aspen and along the shores of alpine lakes. The park even boasts an ancient bristlecone pine forest, a limestone cave with beautiful formations, and some of the darkest night skies in the country.

An easy 200-mile drive from Snow Canyon, the long highway eased us into the remoteness of the park. Located in the vast high desert of eastern Nevada, far from major population centers, there’s not much for miles around. The tiny town of Baker, population 68, sits at the crossroads outside of the park. The main street is wide and dusty; two cafes with peeling signs, a combination motel/campground/bar, and a self-serve gas station with a strange Twilight Zone vibe make up the “downtown” area.

Talking to the locals and the friendly park rangers leaves no doubt that this is definitely the road less taken for the 68 people who live here—there’s even a sign along the road to the park that expresses this sentiment. It’s a 70-mile drive for the most basic of groceries, further for more amenities. But that seems to be a small tradeoff for the peace and quiet and beauty of this place. (Would we live here? No. But we certainly enjoy visiting—we’ve even considered hosting at the park.)

We were here early this year, in late May, just before the roads opened to access Wheeler Peak and the high altitude trails. We contented ourselves with hiking the lower altitude trails along the creek surging with snowmelt, through meadows lush with bright yellow balsamroot and splashes of crimson Indian paintbrush. We even discovered a gorgeous, pristine natural spring where we harvested fresh watercress and mint.

Lucky for us, we happened to be in the park the weekend of a bioblitz. (A bioblitz is a biological census that focuses on an overall count of the plants, animals, and other organisms that inhabit a place.) The focus of this bioblitz was on birds. How perfect is that? We signed up for a couple of workshops and hikes (all free), and had a great time helping find and count birds. As a relatively new national park, the rangers use citizen science to help document species in the park.

If you visit the park, June is a lovely time, when all of the trails are open and there are still wildflowers in the meadows. Late September or early October, before the snows begin and the aspen are turning to gold, is also gorgeous. We’ve been in both seasons and found it spectacular. (You can read about those visits here and here.)

About the campground:

On our previous two visits, we stayed in the park in Upper Lehman Campground and loved it. However, the roads are tight, and the sites are small and ridiculously unlevel. The campground was closed for renovations while we were there—we’ll see on our next visit if improvements were made to make the sites more accessible and level.

This time, we stayed in town at Whispering Elms Campground, just six miles from the entrance to the national park. Although initially I wasn’t too enthusiastic (we always prefer national park campgrounds) it turned out to be a fine option. The sites are gravel and large, with many pull-throughs, and we appreciated having full hookups in the freezing temperatures of early spring. There’s a decrepit bathhouse and laundry, which we didn’t use. Surprisingly, we had unexpectedly good Internet, courtesy of the campground (that’s because our site was close to the front of the park). We spent three peaceful nights and would happily return. $30 per night.

Next Up: Heavenly Angel Creek: Wells, NV

Wonderfully Remote Great Basin NP

On The Road To Great Basin

Downtown Baker

Check In At The Bar

Whispering Elms Campground

Still Life With Oil Drum

One Of Our Magpie Neighbors

A Chilly Day On The Trail

Creek Crossing

Hillsides Covered In Balsamroot

Marmot Crossing

Mama And Baby Marmot

Three Babies In All

Spring Aspen Leaves

A Beautiful Natural Spring

Gathering Mint And Watercress

Bullocks Oriole

Wheeler Peak Sculpture

Gateway To...

Wonderfully Remote Great Basin NP
On The Road To Great Basin
Downtown Baker
Check In At The Bar
Whispering Elms Campground
Still Life With Oil Drum
One Of Our Magpie Neighbors
A Chilly Day On The Trail
Creek Crossing
Hillsides Covered In Balsamroot
Marmot Crossing
Mama And Baby Marmot
Three Babies In All
Spring Aspen Leaves
A Beautiful Natural Spring
Gathering Mint And Watercress
Bullocks Oriole
Wheeler Peak Sculpture
Gateway To...
Wonderfully Remote Great Basin NP thumbnail
On The Road To Great Basin thumbnail
Downtown Baker thumbnail
Check In At The Bar thumbnail
Whispering Elms Campground thumbnail
Still Life With Oil Drum thumbnail
One Of Our Magpie Neighbors thumbnail
A Chilly Day On The Trail thumbnail
Creek Crossing thumbnail
Hillsides Covered In Balsamroot thumbnail
Marmot Crossing thumbnail
Mama And Baby Marmot thumbnail
Three Babies In All thumbnail
Spring Aspen Leaves thumbnail
A Beautiful Natural Spring thumbnail
Gathering Mint And Watercress thumbnail
Bullocks Oriole thumbnail
Wheeler Peak Sculpture thumbnail
Gateway To... thumbnail

 

 

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Traveling The Loneliest Highway

Traveling The Loneliest Highway

Posted by on Aug 5, 2014 in Gallery, Nevada, Travel | 20 comments

In July of 1986, Life Magazine published an article about Highway 50, dubbing it “The Loneliest Road in America.” An AAA spokesperson said, “It’s totally empty. There are no points of interest. We don’t recommend it. We warn all motorists not to drive there unless they’re confident of their survival skills.”

In truth, Highway 50 is a nice long stretch (more than 300 miles) of remarkably untraveled highway, a narrow ribbon wending through high desert blanketed by sagebrush with views of mountains on the horizon. It’s true that towns are few and far between—mostly tiny, rough around the edges, and with only the most basic amenities. And it’s definitely a good idea to fill your gas tank at every opportunity—about every 75-100 miles.

One does not generally link “Nevada” and “soul soothing” in the same sentence. But that’s pretty much how I’d describe our cruise down Highway 50. After leaving the spectacular vistas of Great Basin National Park, we headed due west. Although we only made a couple of stops in our journey along “The Loneliest Highway,” they were memorable in a somewhat bizarre way.

• Hickison Petroglyphs. Located about halfway along Highway 50 is a rustic (very rustic) BLM campground, approximately 25 miles east of Austin. There are no hookups, and no water—but it’s free. The petroglyphs are what attracted us. After all of the fabulous petroglyphs we’ve seen in our travels in the southwest, these are—to be polite—underwhelming. But the scenery is beautiful and the campground is peaceful.

We arrived and thought we were alone until we saw three goats ambling through our site. I did a double take, trying to make sense of what I was seeing, and then met the goat owners—a young couple traveling from northern California to their new home in Colorado (the goats traveled in comfort in the back of their small pickup truck). We spent an enjoyable couple of hours hiking with the goat family on the trails above the campground—it was a surreal and yet somehow absolutely perfect Highway 50 experience.

• Sand Mountain. About 100 miles from Austin is Sand Mountain, another BLM site and also a campground. We had considered camping here, but I’m oh so glad we didn’t—we stopped for a picnic lunch, and realized that this is a campground for ATV’ers. Not our idea of a good time, at all. But it was kind of interesting watching the ATV’ers buzzing up and down the sandhill, like busy little ants.The sign at the campground made us absolutely certain that this was not our kind of campground. (See photo below.)

There’s more to explore on The Loneliest Highway, but those adventures will have to wait for another road trip. If you find yourself needing to traverse Nevada, have no fear of traveling Highway 50. You likely have all the skills you need to survive the journey.

Traveling The Loneliest Highway

Hwy 50 -- The Loneliest Highway

Landscape Along Hwy 50

Hickison Petroglyphs Recreation Area

Campground Hickison Petroglyphs

Goat Family On The Trail

Lovely Trail Late Afternoon

Surveying The Valley Below

Queen Of The Mountain

Birding With Goats

Nothing As Far As You Can See

Golden Hills At Sunset

Petroglyph Trail

Petroglyphs

Detail Of Petroglyphs

Mariposa Lily Peeking Through Sagebrush

On The Trail Above The Campground

Horned Lizard

Sand Mountain Recreation Area

Darn, No Martinis And No Tire Fires!

Traveling The Loneliest Highway
Hwy 50 -- The Loneliest Highway
Landscape Along Hwy 50
Hickison Petroglyphs Recreation Area
Campground Hickison Petroglyphs
Goat Family On The Trail
Lovely Trail Late Afternoon
Surveying The Valley Below
Queen Of The Mountain
Birding With Goats
Nothing As Far As You Can See
Golden Hills At Sunset
Petroglyph Trail
Petroglyphs
Detail Of Petroglyphs
Mariposa Lily Peeking Through Sagebrush
On The Trail Above The Campground
Horned Lizard
Sand Mountain Recreation Area
Darn, No Martinis And No Tire Fires!
Traveling The Loneliest Highway  thumbnail
Hwy 50 -- The Loneliest Highway  thumbnail
Landscape Along Hwy 50  thumbnail
Hickison Petroglyphs Recreation Area  thumbnail
Campground Hickison Petroglyphs  thumbnail
Goat Family On The Trail  thumbnail
Lovely Trail Late Afternoon  thumbnail
Surveying The Valley Below  thumbnail
Queen Of The Mountain  thumbnail
Birding With Goats thumbnail
Nothing As Far As You Can See  thumbnail
Golden Hills At Sunset thumbnail
Petroglyph Trail thumbnail
Petroglyphs  thumbnail
Detail Of Petroglyphs thumbnail
Mariposa Lily Peeking Through Sagebrush  thumbnail
On The Trail Above The Campground  thumbnail
Horned Lizard  thumbnail
Sand Mountain Recreation Area  thumbnail
Darn, No Martinis And No Tire Fires! thumbnail

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Great Basin: The Loneliest National Park

Great Basin: The Loneliest National Park

Posted by on Jul 31, 2014 in Gallery, Hiking, National Parks, Nevada, Travel | 25 comments

Anchoring one end of “The Loneliest Highway in America,” Great Basin National Park has become one of our favorite parks. The hiking is spectacular, the spring and summer wildflowers abundant (in the fall, the leaf colors are equally stunning), the night skies for star gazing are among the finest in the country, and there’s even a beautiful cave to explore. (We didn’t do the cave tour this trip, but we did it when we visited in the fall of 2012.)

I find it interesting that Great Basin National Park consistently makes the top ten list of the least visited national parks. By comparison, Great Smoky Mountains NP attracts nine million visitors, and the Grand Canyon five million. Great Basin—at best—draws about 60,000 visitors a year. I suppose that’s not really surprising—after all, it’s in a remote corner of Nevada and it’s not exactly on the way to anywhere.

Trust me. If you like your nature experiences peaceful, gorgeous, uncrowded, and unique—you need to make the trek to this park.

This time, we spent four nights, and we were wishing we had another week to just soak in the beauty. We hiked a different trail each day—through aspen groves to turquoise colored glacial lakes, along rocky hillsides to ancient bristlecone pine forests, and through meadows of wildflowers along a beautiful creek. We came upon an entire meadow of shooting stars—a first for us, and absolutely spectacular!

There is an almost complete lack of civilization here. The nearest town, just a few miles away, is Baker, population 68. There’s an unattended gas station, an RV park of sorts, and a couple of cafes, including the LectroLux—which serves pizza, beer, and good wine—and curiously, is decorated with Electrolux vacuums suspended from the ceiling. We stopped by the LectroLux one evening for a glass of wine, and had the place to ourselves—our server was gracious, and then went back to reading “Gone With The Wind,” which she offered to lend to me as soon as she finished the last few pages.

A few caveats:

Stock up on groceries. Seriously. Bring everything you need and more, because the closest town is Ely, about 65 miles away (and Ely isn’t exactly a gourmet paradise).

Bring lots of leveling blocks. We love staying in the park, but virtually all of the sites are horribly unlevel. No hookups, first-come-first served, and unlevel sites—nonetheless, incredibly beautiful and peaceful. Our site in the Upper Lehman campground was one of the few good-sized sites, with a gorgeous sitting area by the creek. The Lower Lehman campground has bigger sites, but we couldn’t get our trailer level and gave up. If you have a big rig, you might be happier in the in-town park (Whispering Elms), which is very Baker-esque, but appears adequate.

Great Basin: The Loneliest National Park

Choosing Today's Hike

The Alpine Loop Trail

Along The Trail

Fresh Aspen Leaves

Beautiful Alpine Lakes

Stella Lake

Teresa Lake 10,000 Feet

Didn't Expect Snow

Bristlecone Pine Trail

Ancient Bristlecone Pine

Rocky Bristlecone Pine Trail

Turn Around Point On The Glacier Trail

Slow Down For Marmot Families

Baker Creek Trail

Paintbrush, Lupine, and Forget-Me-Nots

Lupine

Along The Creek

Crossing Baker Creek

Mountain Bluebells

Glorious Shooting Stars

Meadow Of Shooting Stars

Campsite Upper Lehman Creek

Spotty At Our Campsite

Relaxing At Camp

Hummingbird Drinking From Columbine

Visitor's Center Great Basin NP

Inside The Visitor's Center

Downtown Baker

Welcoming Committee

Museum Of The Future "Coming Soon"

The Only Gas Station For Miles

In-Town Campground

Decor At The Electrolux Cafe

On The Road To Baker

Great Basin: The Loneliest National Park
Choosing Today's Hike
The Alpine Loop Trail
Along The Trail
Fresh Aspen Leaves
Beautiful Alpine Lakes
Stella Lake
Teresa Lake 10,000 Feet
Didn't Expect Snow
Bristlecone Pine Trail
Ancient Bristlecone Pine
Rocky Bristlecone Pine Trail
Turn Around Point On The Glacier Trail
Slow Down For Marmot Families
Baker Creek Trail
Paintbrush, Lupine, and  Forget-Me-Nots
Lupine
Along The Creek
Crossing Baker Creek
Mountain Bluebells
Glorious Shooting Stars
Meadow Of Shooting Stars
Campsite Upper Lehman Creek
Spotty At Our Campsite
Relaxing At Camp
Hummingbird Drinking From Columbine
Visitor's Center Great Basin NP
Inside The Visitor's Center
Downtown Baker
Welcoming Committee
Museum Of The Future
The Only Gas Station For Miles
In-Town Campground
Decor At The Electrolux Cafe
On The Road To Baker
Great Basin: The Loneliest National Park  thumbnail
Choosing Today's Hike  thumbnail
The Alpine Loop Trail  thumbnail
Along The Trail  thumbnail
Fresh Aspen Leaves  thumbnail
Beautiful Alpine Lakes  thumbnail
Stella Lake  thumbnail
Teresa Lake 10,000 Feet  thumbnail
Didn't Expect Snow  thumbnail
Bristlecone Pine Trail  thumbnail
Ancient Bristlecone Pine  thumbnail
Rocky Bristlecone Pine Trail  thumbnail
Turn Around Point On The Glacier Trail  thumbnail
Slow Down For Marmot Families  thumbnail
Baker Creek Trail  thumbnail
Paintbrush, Lupine, and  Forget-Me-Nots  thumbnail
Lupine  thumbnail
Along The Creek  thumbnail
Crossing Baker Creek  thumbnail
Mountain Bluebells  thumbnail
Glorious Shooting Stars  thumbnail
Meadow Of Shooting Stars  thumbnail
Campsite Upper Lehman Creek  thumbnail
Spotty At Our Campsite  thumbnail
Relaxing At Camp  thumbnail
Hummingbird Drinking From Columbine  thumbnail
Visitor's Center Great Basin NP  thumbnail
Inside The Visitor's Center  thumbnail
Downtown Baker  thumbnail
Welcoming Committee  thumbnail
Museum Of The Future
The Only Gas Station For Miles  thumbnail
In-Town Campground  thumbnail
Decor At The Electrolux Cafe  thumbnail
On The Road To Baker  thumbnail

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Great Basin National Park

Great Basin National Park

Posted by on Sep 17, 2012 in Food, Gallery, Hiking, National Parks, Nevada | 0 comments

Unlike every other national park we’ve visited, there’s no entrance fee for Great Basin National Park. We were surprised by this, but then figured it’s because: 1) the park is in the middle of nowhere 2) it’s in Nevada 3) visiting a national park in the middle of nowhere in Nevada is not high on most people’s “must-see” lists.

But, wow. If you’re ever at all nearby—or even if you’re not—this park is worth the journey and several days of your life.

The scenery is spectacular, the hikes are gorgeous (albeit strenuous, at 8,000-13,000 feet), the rangers are enthusiastic and love their park, and the campgrounds are beautiful (but primitive).

This park is seriously remote—there’s no cell phone coverage in the entire valley; the closest town, Ely (population 4,000), is 60 miles away; and the park has some of the darkest night skies of anyplace in the country. I actually woke in the middle of the night the second night we were there, thinking—“We are so far from civilization”—and I scared myself. But that just made me realize that I need to spend more time away from civilization.

The slogan at Great Basin NP is “See the Milky Way in Great Basin National Park—Half the park is after dark.” We did just that, participating in an evening night sky program and learning about the autumn constellations (I can never find anything but the Big Dipper and the North Star when I’m left to my own astronomy skills). We also took the requisite Lehman Caves tour. The caves were interesting, filled with the usual stalactites and stalagmites, along with some bizarre formations that are unique to these caves. The guy who discovered the caves had his own little tour company back in the late 1800’s. If you paid him a dollar, he’d give you a candle stuck inside of a gallon-sized tin can and drop you down into the cave by a rope. You were left on your own to explore; if you didn’t make it back to the drop-off point in 24 hours, he’d come looking for you. I most definitely would not have taken that tour.

The best part of the park, in our opinion, is the hiking. The trees were clothed in their fall regalia—the aspens bright gold and oranges, infusing the deep green forests of pine and juniper with flashes of light. The crisp mountain air was scented with the resinous fragrance of the evergreens, and the sky was a brilliant, deep sapphire. It was heavenly. The hiking (the uphill part) is intense at this elevation, but worth the effort.

A word of advice: If you venture to this semi-remote part of the country, stock up on groceries. There’s nothing much available in these parts if you are partial to healthful food. I asked for goat cheese and any kind of lettuce that wasn’t iceberg, and the store clerk looked at me blankly. However, I wasn’t the only disappointed customer. I overheard a woman say to her young daughter, “What kind of a grocery store doesn’t carry lard? I guess we’re not in the South anymore, Lucy.”

We travel well stocked with at least two weeks worth of organic meats, fish, and dairy products, but obviously need to replenish our supply of fresh vegetables and fruits every few days. I managed to find broccoli and a head of purple cabbage at the grocery store in the photo below, so our three nights in Great Basin we had chicken tacos with purple cabbage slaw; grilled salmon, wild rice pilaf, and broccoli; and grilled steak, chipotle roasted sweet potatoes, and broccoli. So far, so good!

Great Basin National Park

Campsite In Upper Lehman Creek

Road To Wheeler Peak

Hiking The Alpine Loop Trail

Alpine Lake

Aspen Grove

Up And Over

Bristlecone Pine

Close Quarters In The Cave

Chicken Tacos For Dinner

 Great Basin National Park
 Campsite In Upper Lehman Creek
Road To Wheeler Peak
Hiking The Alpine Loop Trail
 Alpine Lake
 Aspen Grove
 Up And Over
 Bristlecone Pine
 Close Quarters In The Cave
 Chicken Tacos For Dinner
 Great Basin National Park  thumbnail
 Campsite In Upper Lehman Creek thumbnail
Road To Wheeler Peak thumbnail
Hiking The Alpine Loop Trail  thumbnail
 Alpine Lake  thumbnail
 Aspen Grove  thumbnail
 Up And Over  thumbnail
 Bristlecone Pine  thumbnail
 Close Quarters In The Cave  thumbnail
 Chicken Tacos For Dinner  thumbnail

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Three Nights At Angel Creek

Three Nights At Angel Creek

Posted by on Sep 13, 2012 in Gallery, Hiking, Nevada, Travel | 0 comments

This is our third night in this peaceful Forest Service campground. Although there are few other campers and it seems far from civilization, we have excellent Verizon coverage, which has enabled me to get some necessary writing work completed. I like my office at home with its view of our backyard garden, but working in our trailer with its ever-changing nature panorama is pretty sweet, too.

Yesterday we took a half-day hike from Angel Lake, at the top of the canyon, to Smith Lake, a high mountain glacial cirque. It seems as though all of the hiking that we’re doing lately is at 8,000 feet and above. This hike started out through a landscape thick with sagebrush, which smells divine in the warm afternoon sun. We passed by only three other people on the trail: a vegetarian fisherman who throws back everything he catches, and a couple in full camouflage gear who were hunting with muskets (they were empty handed, as well).

The last few hundred feet of the trail were pretty sketchy—steep with long drop-offs, and a narrow trail with loose sand and rock. At one point, I turned to Eric and said, “I’m done. I want to turn back.” And he said, “You’re steady on your feet. It’s your mind that’s the problem.” True enough, and I wanted to see the lake, so I continued on, scrambling up the rise. On the way down, however, I scuttled down the steep part of the trail on my butt, sort of like a crab. Clearly, I have no pride when it comes to steep drop-offs.

This afternoon we drove a few miles down the mountain, through the dinky town of Wells, and then several miles on the worst road we’ve ever been on. It was the pothole road from hell, a rollercoaster of deep gullies and pits. Once we were on it, there was no turning back until we reached the end. So we continued on, at a speed of less than 5 mph, then parked and hiked a half-mile into a beautiful canyon. Crossing the bridge over the creek was interesting, as you can see from the photos. The hot spring, though, was a wonderful, huge swimming pool.

Magpies, ravens, and mountain chickadees surround us in this campground, and night before last we awoke to a unique sound that we’d never before heard: a long screech, followed by a soft “whoo-whoo-whoo—whoo-whoo-whoo.” The calling went on for at least a half-hour, and we were certain it was an owl, but which one? Eric finally figured it out: the screech was a female short-eared owl, and the soft hooting response was the male. We saw a couple of them the next evening swooping near the road in the dusky evening light as they were hunting in the tall grasses.

Three Nights At Angel Creek

Hiking Through Sagebrush

Craggy Angel Peak

Boy Scout

On The Trail To The Hot Spring

Stream Crossing

Reward At The End Of The Trail

Three Nights At Angel Creek
 Hiking Through Sagebrush
 Craggy Angel Peak
 Boy Scout
 On The Trail To The Hot Spring
Stream Crossing
Reward At The End Of The Trail
Three Nights At Angel Creek thumbnail
 Hiking Through Sagebrush  thumbnail
 Craggy Angel Peak  thumbnail
 Boy Scout  thumbnail
 On The Trail To The Hot Spring thumbnail
Stream Crossing thumbnail
Reward At The End Of The Trail  thumbnail

 

 

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