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Tag: great basin

Back to the Mojave: The Pahranagat Valley

Rock Art of the Basin and Range National Monument II
Thursday – Monday, January 15-18, 2021

Even though my heart belongs to the Colorado Plateau, I do occasionally like to get out to the Mojave Desert at least once each year, especially during the colder months at home! Back at the beginning of last year I had started making plans to return to Death Valley National Park this holiday weekend, but since COVID is hitting California hard right now and they are asking for out-of-state visitors to stay away, I honored their request and decided to visit the Pahranagat Valley in Nevada instead. I got my first taste of the Pahranagat Valley on my way home from the White Mountains in September, but it was much too hot out for me at the time, so I vowed to return in cooler temperatures. I didn’t think I would be coming back so soon, but I was looking forward to returning again so I could explore this large valley where the northern Mojave Desert and the Great Basin intersect!

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White River Narrows & Mount Irish Petroglyphs

Across the Great Basin and Back | The Loneliest Road (Trip) in America
Rock Art of the Basin and Range National Monument
Friday & Saturday, September 4-5, 2020

Once I left the White Mountains behind, it was time to visit a few rock art sites in the Basin and Range National Monument as I drove back home across the Great Basin. After stopping in Tonopah for gas and food I continued east on US Route 6 for a little while until I reached Warm Springs and then turned off onto the Extraterrestrial Highway. If you want to drive a lonely highway, then this is probably the one for you! I didn’t even have cell phone signal for almost the entire stretch! I made my way south past the Nellis Air Force Range and through through the tiny town of Rachel on my way to Crystal Springs in the Pahranagat Valley. By the time I drove up the Logan Canyon Road into the Irish Mountain Range it was already getting pretty dark out and I found a spot to spend the night just below Logan Pass. The temperature was heating up in the desert again with another heat wave spreading across the southwest, so it didn’t cool off very quickly, even at 7,000 feet at night.

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The Highest Point in Nevada: Boundary Peak

Across the Great Basin and Back | The Loneliest Road (Trip) in America
Thursday & Friday, September 3-4, 2020

After hiking to the top of White Mountain Peak in the morning and then stopping in Bishop for food and gas in the afternoon, it was time for me to head back into Nevada on US Route 6 so I could climb Boundary Peak located at the very northern end of the White Mountains. Since I had hiked Wheeler Peak on Wednesday which is considered the ‘highest peak’ in Nevada, I figured that I might as well climb the ‘highest point’ in Nevada too since I was going to be driving right near it. This would be my third peak in as many days and I was hoping that my legs would be up for it!

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The White Mountains: White Mountain Peak

Across the Great Basin and Back | The Loneliest Road (Trip) in America
Wednesday & Thursday, September 2-3, 2020

After hiking to the summit of Wheeler Peak in Great Basin National Park on Wednesday morning, I continued my ‘Loneliest Road Trip in America‘ across the Great Basin as I drove to the west end of Nevada. My next destination would be in the White Mountains located along the eastern edge of California so that I could hike to the summit of White Mountain Peak on Thursday morning, which is the third highest mountain in California at 14,252 feet. Since it doesn’t look like I am going to be climbing any 14ers in Colorado this summer, which will be the first time in over ten years for me, I figured that I could at least hike one new 14er in California this year instead! I haven’t hiked in the mountains of California since I did Mount Whitney in 2014, so I was looking forward to returning!

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Great Basin National Park: Wheeler Peak

Across the Great Basin and Back | The Loneliest Road (Trip) in America
Tuesday & Wednesday, September 1-2, 2020

Last summer I got the idea in my head that I wanted to hike a couple of high peaks in Nevada and California over the Labor Day weekend and started putting together rough plans for a road trip that would take me Across the Great Basin and Back. Although many of my spring trips got cancelled because of COVID-19, I decided I was still going to go on this one since I would be alone and visiting more remote places during the week where I would not come into contact with a lot of other people. I mean, what better place is there to go for social distancing than by taking a road trip along one of the Loneliest Roads in America! For years I’ve wanted to visit Great Basin National Park to climb Wheeler Peak, so that’s where I decided to start this trip. Although many Nevadans consider Wheeler Peak to be the spiritual and symbolic highpoint of the state, the actual highest point in Nevada is Boundary Peak located near the western edge of the state. Whatever the status of the peak, all I knew is that I wanted to visit Great Basin National Park and hike to the summit for the view!

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