After spending 10 days camped in the Dixie National Forest in Utah, I packed up and headed for Great Basin National Park, located just inside the eastern border of Nevada. The Park was not far from the circular route of my summer plans this year so I decided to check it out and spend a couple days exploring the area. The weather this summer has been especially hot, and my travels landed me at Great Basin National Park in the middle of steamy July. Fortunately, there are mountains in Nevada where one can camp at such an altitude as to get some relief from the heat of summer.
Almost the entire state of Nevada lies within a land mass known as the Great Basin. It is bounded in the east by the Wasatch Mountains in Utah and on the west by the Sierra Nevada range. What little moisture that falls from summer storms or melts from snow that accumulates in the mountain ranges, never reaches any ocean. The rivers run to the dry desert interior where it evaporates or sinks into the ground. A small portion of the Great Basin was set aside as a National Park by Congress in 1986.
There are two cool things to do in Great Basin National Park. The first is Lehman Cave, a cute underground cavern where visitors can sign up for an hour-long guided tour. The Ranger was very knowledgeable and I enjoyed looking at all the formations and learning of the history of early explorers to the cave.
There is also a scenic 12 mile highway up Wheeler Peak to 10,000 feet. Honda liked climbing that steep, curvy road very much. It was 50 degrees in the cave and pretty comfortable up on the mountain, so the cave tour and the mountain ride were welcome diversion from the heat.
There is a campground near the top of the mountain called Wheeler Peak. The day I rode up there – not even a weekend – every site was occupied. Many visitors were seeking the cooler temperature of the high mountain.
I stayed two nights in the lower park campground called Baker Creek. Even though the Baker Creek campground was at 7700′, it was still hot during the day. When it would become uncomfortable in camp I would jump on Honda and explore the area. I found a few boondocking sites along Rt. 50 but nothing had any cell service. It is such a remote National Park – 70 miles from the nearest decent town and nowhere even close to an Interstate – that cell towers are few and far between.
On Friday I moved to a campground in the Humboldt National Forest, twenty miles north of Ely, NV. It is a nice campground but the road in was very rough and there is no cell signal. I will stay here until Monday and then head back into Utah. As I cross Utah on my way to Colorado, I hope to find a couple cool places to camp.