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June 8, 2012 / mws

2012 Great Basin National Park May

May 19 2012  We left Jacob Lake, Arizona this morning and headed northeast thru southern Utah and into Nevada. A sightseeing stop was made at Cedar Breaks National Monument.  

Located near Cedar City, Cedar Breaks National Monument contains steep cliffs eroded into the side of a plateau with colorful strata and many strange rock shapes. The access road (UT 148) circles the cliff edge from which the spectacular limestone formations can be seen, extending 2,000 feet downwards and 3 miles across. Some areas of the cliffs are even more brightly colored than at Bryce Canyon, and present an enchanting mixture of delicate shades of red, yellow, white, pink and orange.

We arrived in the Great Basin area in Mid-afternoon.  This area is new to us, so we drove 5 miles south of Baker, Nevada to the Visitors Center to get information. From the Visitors Center, there are tours of Lehman Cave, a highlight of the Park.  We also found out that there is a paved scenic drive up to about 10,000 feet on Mt. Wheeler. The hiking trails begin here.  Of of the most unusual apsects of this area is the Bristlecone Pines along the lakes. We drove west to Ely, Nevada to spend the night.

May 20 2012   Now that we had sorted out the info from the Visitors Center, we had developed a plan.  Our main goal was to get scenic pictures and maybe do a little hiking if the trails were open.  We started out with the scenic drive, stopping along the way to take photos. 

We were so fortunate to even be able to do this drive so early in the season.  Most years, the road is not open until about June 1st.  But on this day we had perfectly blue skies and 70 degree weather. The view from thepulloffs along the drive was wonderful! At theBristlecone Parking area, we decided to try the Alpine Lakes Loop Trail. The trail passes two beautiful alpine lakes, Stella and Teresa Lakes, with great views of Wheeler Peak.

On the way back down the trail we encounted a ranger and his five junior rangers hiking, singing and having a great time.  It’s always good to see kids enjoying nature.  We also saw a couple with three very young children.  The oldest (4?) was trying to hike with a walking stick that was bigger than he was.  The baby was strapped to the front of Dad, just kinda hanging around.  The 2 year old crying daughter was riding in a carrier on Dad’s back…he must be hardy!  The Mom was just shaking her head as her daughter kept getting louder and louder.  They will have stories to tell in years to come.Great Basin is definitely in a very remote area.  If you are lucky like we were and get a glorious day, it is well worth the time and effort.

May 21 2012  Today is a driving day as we leave Nevada, and start our journey to Wyoming and Montana.  We took scenic Highway 93 thru eastern Nevada and then Utah 30 East to Logan, Utah to spend the night.

To see more photos of our 2012 Great Basin trip, click here

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