Great Basin National Park lies about an hour east of Ely, NV. I wasn’t sure exactly what this basin was before we found the visitor’s center, but it now know it describes the depression between the Sierra Nevada and Wastach mountains (amongst other geographical things) and looks like this (thanks Wikipedia!):
(and thanks Great Basin visitor’s center!). This national park not only preserves important landmarks, it also celebrates the unique culture of this desolately beautiful place.
If anyone wonders how we get photos of the two of us – I have a remote for my Nikon D3300. Sometimes it works great. Sometimes you get silly outtakes like this one.
National Park #3! Never mind the previous outtake – that was the visitor’s center. This is the real sign at the entrance to the park. Wheeler Peak is in the background.
I wasn’t planning on hiking in this park, but the main thing I came to see required a short, out-and-back jaunt.
Bristlecone pines are the longest living non-clonal organisms on Earth and this park is home to several rare groves of them. They can live up to 5,000 years!! You have to specify non-clonal because there is a group of quaking aspens in Utah that is believed to be over 80,000 years old – though the individual trees are only 130 years or so.
Even when they die, the trees are so hardy that they can last another 1,000 years in the same spot without rotting.
Hiking up to the grove – we wore plenty of sunscreen since the sun was out and we were above 10,000 feet!
At 1.6 miles past the trailhead there was a lovely exhibit teaching you about different trees in the grove.
Many had great informative plaques like this one. Hard to believe that some of these trees are contemporaries of the pyramids of Egypt.
Jeff pointing out the living part of this tree.
View of Wheeler peak (highest summit in the Snake Range: 13,065 ft) from the grove.
I know they look dead – but I promise they are not. Many had green needles sprouting from their branches that just get lost in these photos.
Beautiful patterns in the smooth bark
Thankful that someone will indulge my not-so-inner biology nerd.
On the way down we made a small detour to Teresa Lake (in honor of you, Aunt T!):
Beautiful little alpine lake.
It was an unplanned, but lovely 3.2 mile hike. I would definitely love to come back and do more glacier hikes and explore the Lehman Caves. After this we headed down Wheeler Peak, on to Utah:
View of Wheeler Peak
This stretch of road began a long series of beautiful views. I’m convinced there isn’t a bad site in Utah.
Great Salt Flat in the distance – you can follow this all the way to the Great Salt Lake
More Utah through the front windshield
Look at the scenery behind Jeff – it’s just breathtaking.
Better view of that exact spot. This road trip is mostly about seeing national parks, but it has the lovely residual side effect of taking us through some of the prettiest, most remote places in the US.
Our first glimpse of Rim Rock, right outside Capitol Reef National Park and our home for the night.
It looks like we’re driving into a painting. Just amazing!
I wasn’t sure what Capitol Reef was going to be like and with this preview I can’t wait to see it tomorrow. We’re settled in for the night in Torrey with Mexican food in our bellies and wi-fi for our devices.
Short driving day: 301 miles