Sunday October 6: It is another chilly morning here at Great Basin National Park in eastern Nevada where Clifford and I have been camped for several days. I make coffee as I wait for the sun to rise and warm things up a bit. Then I start walking the trail to Grey Cliffs Campground, pleasant in the sunshine, but once I reach the shade from the bluff, it is too chilly and I head back to our campsite.
breakfast and cleanup, Clifford takes a break from playing dulcimer
so we can walk the Grey Cliff Trail all the way to the other
campground. It is a beautiful autumn day and the hike is a great way
to end our stay at Great Basin National Park, as tomorrow we will be
heading east to Utah.
When we return to camp, Clifford goes back to playing dulcimer and I sit out in the last sunlight to write in the journal. When the sun goes down, the temperature drops quickly and we go inside. I make potato salad, an easy snack when traveling, and do some editing of photos taken these days here at Great Basin. This has been a great place, our first time here, but hopefully not our last.
Saturday October 5: It is very chilly out this morning (27 degrees) here at Great Basin National Park, Nevada, when I walk to the restroom. I continue on up the road where I can get a photo of the creek without sun glare, a very pretty spot with boulders and little cascades.
is a great blue sky today, a perfect day for a drive to Wheeler Peak.
However, Clifford is reluctant because of the climb being a bit much
for old Suburban, which has just passed the 200,000 mile mark and is
showing its age. So, instead, we decide to drive to the end of Baker
Creek Road, only about a mile from the Baker Creek Campground where
we are camped. As we are driving and I’m looking at the map, we
realize that the climb to Wheeler Peak is not as great as he thought,
and we could go partway to one of the scenic pull-outs.
After turning around at the end of Baker Creek Road, we drive back toward the Visitors Center and take the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive.
Mather Overview is especially scenic with a view of the mountain peaks and a great valley below with autumn trees in full color.
Instead of turning around here, we go on up the road to the Wheeler Peak Overview, and then on to the Wheeler Peak parking area at the end of the road.
After finding a place to park, I get out to take photos. Clifford spies a kiosk describing the hiking trails and a decision is made to hike while we are here. This was not part of the original plan, so we don’t have snacks, but we do have warm clothes, hiking sticks, and water in the Suburban. We decide on the lake loop trail that passes by two mountain lakes. Since Clifford will want to hike faster and not stop for photos, we take the loop in opposite directions so we can meet somewhere enroute.
The elevation here is over 10,000 feet, so I take my time, rest when I need to, and sip at my water. I reach Teresa Lake and am enjoying taking photos here when Clifford joins me, having hiked twice the distance on his section of the loop. We hike back to the parking lot together.
On our way back to camp, we swing into the Grey Cliffs group site. Although the sun isn’t quite right, I get a couple of photos before we head back to our campground.
We have a very late lunch and then I walkabout for photos of the autumn foliage near the campsite.
Later I do some editing and Clifford plays his dulcimer outside. Dinner is also late, as is going to bed, but it sure was a fun day!
Friday October 4: It is super windy all night with the slide-out awning making a racket and Cougar rocking a bit. I have concerns for the awning and the solar panel, so don’t sleep well.
I get up this morning, it is still windy, but the only damage is our
chairs being blown over. In go for a walk in spite of the wind and
get a few photos of the creek and the wild turkeys, the largest I’ve
With the wind, it seems a good day for the Lehman Cave Tours. We call to find out if there are spots left on the afternoon tours. There are a few, but without having reservations, we’d have to go to the Visitors Center now to get a spot. We try to reserve online, but the cell signal is not strong enough to support a good internet connection, and it ends up being a huge hassle and a waste of time. In the end, we go to the Visitors Center, and due to many other people also wanting to do a tour, another one is added to the schedule. We still have to wait an hour and a half, so we watch the movie about Great Basin National Park and hike the Nature Trail. Then, while Clifford naps, I read Aarp magazines.
Finally it is time for the tour. Our ranger guide is pretty young woman who could be a stand-up comedian. She is quite delightful. The caves are amazing and our ranger was entertaining as well as informative.
We talk to her afterwards, as she is moving to Lolo, Montana, in the Bitterroot Valley where she will be working at Travelers Rest State Park. Since I have family in the area and we have spent a lot of time camping in the Bitterroot Valley, she is interested in learning a bit about the valley from us. It was nice to have the extra time with her.
at camp, we nap, then work on projects before dinner and early to bed
for me. Luckily the wind died down during the day and I expect the
coming night will be more peaceful.
Thursday October 3: It is 26 degrees this morning at the wayside pull-out north of Wells, Nevada, off US highway 93, where we spent the night. Clifford is still sleeping, which gives me time to take a few photos and write in my journal. We are off to a bit of a late start this morning, but only planning on going to another wayside stop near Ely, Nevada.
Heading south, still on 93, a small rest area is also the site of the Schellbourne Pony Express stop, back in the day. Several kiosks and displays recount the short but lively history of the Pony Express, most notably how very dangerous it was.
we continue, we note the impressive mountain ranges: the Ruby
Mountains, the Schell Creek Range, and the Snake Range, which
includes Great Basin National Park with Mount Wheeler being over
After getting gas in Ely, instead of stopping at the wayside pull-out, Clifford decides to push on to the park in spite of the windy conditions and the lateness of our start this morning. So, on we go, arriving in late afternoon. We stop at the Visitor Center in nearby Baker to pick up a brochure and get information on the campgrounds.
We try Lower Lehman Campground first, but every site is taken. The road is steep, very hard on our old Suburban, both up and down. Then we drive out to Baker Creek Campground on the Baker Creek Road. This late in the afternoon there are not many sites left and these are not very level, but we find a spot that will work nicely. After we get set up and leveled, I walkabout to explore while Clifford naps after a long day of driving. Dinner is late, but we are happy to be here!
Wednesday October 2: Clifford and I are leaving Craters of the Moon National Monument in southern Idaho this morning. We have been camped here for the last several days as we waited out the storm that descended on the northwest, but today looks like a good day to travel.
It is 26 degrees as I hike up the trail to the lava knoll and take a few photos at sunrise.
Then we pack up and are on the road by 11:30, traveling US highway 93 through miles and miles of lava fields, which give way to farmland. After stopping for supplies and gas in Twin Falls, Idaho, we continue south into the more rugged Nevada landscape.
Our destination is Great Basin National Park, but today we are planning on stopping in Nevada at a wayside stop that we see on the map near Jackpot, Nevada. However, when we get there, we don’t see it, so we continue on, not knowing where we are going to spend the night. Eventually snow-clad mountains make an appearance in the distance.
We watch for other wayside pull-outs and find a good one just before Wells, Nevada. We park and level Cougar, with a small stand of junipers making a buffer between us and the highway. We are pleased to find this relatively quiet and scenic place to spend the night. We even have cell service!