Have you ever thought to yourself, "I bet the middle of Nevada is a great place to visit"?
No? Neither had I. But I found myself there over the long weekend and saw some stuff that was pretty cool. Here are a few things to do if you find yourself north of Vegas and South of Reno.
While in Ely, we attended the 4th of July parade, which was nice. If you need Wifi in Ely, go to Love's gas station. That is the only place Sprint would work, but if you have a better carrier, you can probably get service all over the place. The only thing in Ely that I would say is worth stopping for would be the Nevada Northern Railway Museum. Although I don't really care about trains very much, it was cool to be able to walk around an old station and go into the buildings in which engineers still work on these trains every day. It was an interesting place.
There is also a boarding kennel in Ely that charges $28 per night, which really came in handy when we realized that we couldn't take our dogs on the hike we were planning. Cedar Grove Pets.
Ward Charcoal Ovens State Park
There is a lot of history in this area, including the preserved ovens in the desert that the Mormons put there over 100 years ago. These are really amazing structures and great places to see stars at night. A trip to this site could be a quick 5 minute visit or an all-day excursion depending on what kind of mood you're in.
Great Basin National Park
Ok... do you want the good news or the bad news?
Bad news first... there is not too much to do or see at this park. You can pretty much do it in one day.
Good news... the stuff that is there is really cool.
Camping: While at Great Basin, we were able to get a nice little camping spot in the bordering town of Baker, which was great because the sites everywhere else were completely booked. Plenty of RV and tent spots. There are a couple little stores and bars in this town as well, which can make your stay a little more comfortable. FYI: I have never seen so many stars in my life, and the big dipper was HUGE.
Hiking: The hike we spent 5 hours on was the Summit Trail. This hike is 4.1 miles each way. We got pretty much to the top, but skipped out on the last mile because, quite frankly, it was a rather strenuous hike. It would have been easier without a 3, 7, and 12 year old, but those are the cards I've been dealt. The hike is at 10,000 feet, which may or may not be a problem for you, but the view from the top is crazy. You can see... really far.
About a mile into this hike, there is a really nice little lake. Great for swimming and kind of on the private side, surrounded by trees, and there just weren't that many people on this trail, while we were there at least.
OTHER: The Lehman Caves are located in the park, and the tour isn't that expensive. We got 5 people in for $24. The tours tend to book quickly, so if you want to do this, get over to the center in advance to purchase tickets. I won't tell you about the cave because if you are that interested, you can a. look it up or b. go to it. But here are some pictures: Some of the pictures have a hamster in them... because I'm working on a project that involves a hamster. www.nps.gov/grba/index.htm
Remember when I asked you if you had ever really felt the urge to visit the middle of Nevada and we all agreed that it was not on our bucket list? This helps, because you can find camping spots for $17 at Cave Lake State Park pretty much at the drop of a hat. How can I be so sure? We were there on the 4-day 4th of July weekend, and about half the spots were still available. I'm not making you any promises, but I think you are safe to go there pretty much any time.
There are several cool hiking trails at this park and a beautiful lake where you can swim, fish, and use small boats... not sure about motor boats... check out their site: parks.nv.gov/parks/cave-lake
I hope I changed your mind about Middle of Nowhere, Nevada. It's better than bad, it's good. You're gonna love it. Know any other places I missed? Tell us about it!
Ashley and Cecilia work hard, play hard, write stuff, read stuff... because they don't know what else to do with their lives.
I- We should buy something superficial
II- Buy odd clothing
I- An Unusual Social Event
I- We should go somewhere with dangerous animals
I- Somewhere with strange food
When we get ten total votes, the item with the highest number of votes will be our next expedition.
(One vote per reader, per category).