Day six. The roads in Utah and Nevada are very long and very straight. To traverse these massive and arid States requires hour after hour of mindless concentration behind the wheel. Highway 6 and 50 are particularly mind and butt numbing as there isn’t even much traffic to add some slight diversion.
But our hours of gliding through these big-sky country scenes at 70 miles per hour paid off when we arrived at the Great Basin National Park. It’s Nevada’s only National Park and it is truly stupendous. Besides from the magnificent 13,000 foot Mount Wheeler peak and its surrounding high desert forests there are the caves.
The caves here are just brilliant; well in a dark and moody way. I’ve visited many a cave around the world, but this cave system is by far the most interesting and beautiful.
We bid the National Park farewell and continued our mind and butt numbing journey to Ely Nevada where; we called it a very long, but in the end enjoyable day.
Day three. Elko is a nice place, but I wouldn’t want to live there. For me this is true of all the towns we’ve visited in Nevada. Don’t get me wrong, it is a beautiful landscape, in its own rugged way, but everywhere is so isolated from everywhere else, everything so distant. I couldn’t deal with that kind of separation.
When we left Nevada and entered Utah we were presented with the awesome spectacle of the Bonneville Salt Flats. Looking out into the vast unbroken fields of white leaves you with an impression of a snow-covered landscape, but it’s not snow, it’s salt that covers everything to the distant horizon. Amazing.
After a quick stop at the side of the great salt lake we arrived at our destination: the shi shi little alpine village of Park City. Here we spend time with the sage of the city, uncle Rick.
Day two. After spending the night, at what was once Coburn Station, we left the Washoe tribe’s traditional mountain lands and the mighty Truckee River to venture into the high desert plains of Nevada.
What we hadn’t expected was rain in the Nevada desert in August! Yep, it drizzled and rained on and off all day as we traversed the vast salt flats and sagebrush covered plains of this great State.
It was eerie to hear the distant sounds of rolling thunder as we ate our cheese sandwiches in Winnemucca. To watch the rain showers blow across the enormous prairies was certainly a sight to behold.
Elko is our resting spot for tonight. And I can assure you we need to rest after speeding across this unending countryside at 75 miles per hour all the live long day. But then give a thought to how tried the first settlers must have felt as they dragged their oxen and covered wagons over the emigrant trails. No matter how bad you think something is for you; there’s always something much worse for someone else.
We have forsooth, arrived in Truckee and the amazing Sierra Nevada granite mountains. As we traveled the great highway 80 we came upon Auburn a little village once a center for precious metals. It is surely lucky for us that these days are past as we neither had gold nor silver to exchange.
We left the hamlet and were soon in the high granite mountains. Here we donned our walking boots and went on a 7 mile hike through magnificent conifer forests.
We rested for the night in the little town of Truckee where we partook of sushi for dinner.
Our way lays before us tomorrow.