Expedition Team: Dave Miller, Rosie Miller
Date: July 14, 2022
Prior to arriving at Great Basin NP, we had camped 66 miles away in Ely. The rain in the distance created a beautiful rainbow which I photographed with an Indian teepee in the foreground. After breakfast at the Hotel Nevada, a prohibition era gambling hall where they had a great Roy Rogers display, we walked the town viewing the many artistic murals.
Great Basin is in eastern Nevada near the Utah border. It is one of the newest national parks founded in 1986. The park rises from a sea of sagebrush to treeless rocky summits along Snake Range. The difference in the parks highest and lowest trails is more than a mile – 6, 235 feet. The highest part of the park is Wheeler Peak at 13,060 feet and the lowest trail is at 6,825 feet. The park is known for its groves of ancient bristlecone pine trees, the oldest known living non-clonal organisms. We saw hawks and eagles, deer, chipmunks and heard the whistling of marmots. Sadly, we did not see any ermine or ringtail cats.
The visitor center was in the metropolis of Baker, Nevada, population 68. Baker was down in the great basin, a flatland called a high desert, but still that was at 5,300 feet elevation. Our campground was on the state line about thirteen miles away. Our travel trailer was in Nevada, but the restroom/showers butted up to the Utah. One step farther and we were in a different time zone. Four miles from the visitor center we started the drive up the mountain on Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive, a scary road with lots of turns and switchbacks but with an incredible view across the thirty-mile basin. We passed Lehman Caves and then enjoyed drove up the winding mountain road to our hiking trail in search of the world’s oldest trees.