Sunday, July 16, 2017

Exploring Central Nevada-Part 3: The Mountains

This is Part 3 of 3 of the Exploring Central Nevada blog post series.
If you missed them, check out

 We had left Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park and had a few hundred miles to drive home. We could take Highway 50, but why not explore a little bit more? I had researched that there was a really great drive through the Toiyabe Mountains, along Big Creek and over a pass and along Kingston Creek. We were driving a tough 4WD pickup truck, so I knew this would be a good time to do it. As soon as we entered the canyon, we were impressed, tall mountains surrounded us. How would this road turn out?

The wildflowers were spectacular. Here are some shooting stars near a spring on the side of the road.

 The road got steeper and narrower, and we had ATVs coming from the other direction. We were hoping the road wouldn't get really gnarly. Fortunately, it was nothing that a little 4 Low couldn't handle, and we went up and over some amazing high country. On the other side, we stopped by beautiful Kingston Creek to play in the water and enjoy the scenery.

Desert Girl was delighted to catch a butterfly.

I could have stayed there overnight, but we had other plans, so we kept going.

Further on we passed the start of the  Toiyabe Crest Trail, marked as TCT on a sign. This trail is 75-miles long, built by the CCC in the 1930s, and according to some, doesn't look like it's been maintained much since then. It starts on this road and extends south to the South Twin River Trail. It skirts the tall peaks and follows along the high country. It sounds like it would be a fun adventure...someday! Apparently finding water along the way is part of the challenge, with up to 20-mile long stretches dry.

Not much farther down the road we found a large reservoir with lots of campers and anglers. At one end, though, we had it all to ourselves.

We enjoyed dinner in Eureka at the Urban Cowboy Bar and Grill, and then continued on our way. The evening light on Ely made me want to stop and take a photo.

We didn't stay, but instead headed to nearby Cave Lake State Park, where we luckily nabbed the last campsite at the Lakeview Campground. After claiming our campsite, we quickly went back to the lake to check it out.

The kids had fun showing their babysitter the fish and crawdads.

It's such a scenic lake! The surrounding mountains cradle the lake.

We ate some food and then Desert Girl went with me for a walk along the shoreline to enjoy the sunset.

 It was one of the longest sunsets I've ever seen, with the clouds continually changing colors and being reflected in the lake.

The kids wanted to pose for a photo. Then it was time for showers (hurray!) and enjoying the campfire. We were all too lazy to set up the tent, so we just put our sleeping pads and bags down on the ground and in the back of the truck. It looked like it would be a perfect night for sleeping under the stars.

I still wanted to get more photos, so I headed back to the lake to get some long exposures. The moon was rising fast enough that I wasn't going to get a good Milky Way photo, so I hoped for some star shots. What I wasn't expecting was to get so much color in the cloud.

Crawdad hunters were out, roaming the shores, so I had some interesting flashlight flares in some photos I took. Then the moon rose and lit up the other shore.

When I got back to camp, I took one more photo. Then it was time to snooze.
The next morning we got groceries and headed home. Overall, it was a great trip, and we all enjoyed exploring more of Nevada that most people don't have an opportunity to see.

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