Great Basin National Park: June 22-25, 2016

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GBNP

 

At 8,000 feet, 90 degrees is kind of icky.  I don’t think the flora and fauna dig it much either, that could be why I saw turkeys at 10,000 feet. Thankfully our last day was cooler.  As mentioned in the previous post, GBNP is known for three things, caves, bristlecones, and dark skies.  I threw in the fourth, Wheeler Peak.  At 13,063 feet, it is the second highest point in Nevada.  A lot of folks scoff at the highest point, Boundary Peak 13,140 ft because it’s considered a sub peak of Montgomery Peak in California. The two peaks are only about a mile apart.

Great Basin is lucky to draw 100,000 annually, making it the least attended national park in the system.  I would rank Bryce and Capitol Reef above Great Basin, but it is still worthy of a visit.  The highlight of the trip was the time we spent with Denise, R’s second ex-wife and a big influence on Amelia.

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Amelia and Denise enjoying Baker Creek.

The Lehman Caves tour is a must do. The tour is led by a ranger.  When you first enter everything looks fake.  It’s very strange.  Then you start learning about all the different formations and history of the cave.  It’s really fascinating.

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Kind of creepy, right?

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Kind of gross, right?

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This is the most photographed feature in the cave, The Parachute.

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Jackasses that vandalize and leave graffiti have existed in every century. This butthead did it in 1891.  It used to be a free for all before it was declared a National Monument in 1922. Everyone would take souvenirs and trash the caves.  In 1986, Great Basin became a National Park.

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Amelia clowning around as we left the cave.

 

On our second day, Amelia and Denise did a hike together.  I tackled Wheeler Peak.  It was a little tougher than I expected.  The last mile was steep.  And of course super windy along the ridgeline.

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Beautiful shaded start on the way to Wheeler.

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Sorry for the subpar pic. These are turkeys at 10,000 ft.  They are not native to the area.  In 2004, the Nev dept of wildlife introduced a group outside of the park, hoping to establish the birds for hunting purposes.  They weren’t exactly thinking about the possible ramifications.  Well sure enough, now there are hundreds that have migrated up to the park and have began wreaking havoc.

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There was still plenty of flowers above tree line. This is Colville’s Phlox.

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Sky Pilot.

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Alpine Avens.

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Colville’s Phlox and Moss Campion.

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You can faintly see the trail at the bottom of the pic. At about 3’o clock you can see the guy that blew past me.  He’s one of those nuts that does Spartan Races.

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No sunglasses and squinting at 13,063 ft.

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Amelia at Stella Lake, 10,400 ft. Looking up at Wheeler Peak.

 

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Taken on our way home at the California Nevada border. Boundary is on the left, Montgomery right.

 

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3,000 year old Bristlecone Pine. I have to be honest, the ancient bristlecone pine forest in the White Mountains of California is much more impressive.

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Amelia and Denise trekking back from the Glacier Hike.

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Just beyond this sign I saw seven marmots one morning.  There’s no signs posted for turkeys. They aren’t saying it, but I got the feeling they’d like you to run them over.

2 thoughts on “Great Basin National Park: June 22-25, 2016

  1. Nice stuff! Been in Caves and part way to Wheeler. I know your lungs were in good shape to pedal a single speed but this climb literally takes one’s breath—oxygen away at 12k FT! 13K climb is macho man! Good job! Love the wildflowers too! We are 10 days in Sisters and Bend and got a ride hooked up tomorrow with Pat.

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