Saturday, June 26, 2010

2010 Road Trip, Dio Treci, Nevada

Part Three, The Silver State

Everything in Elko Nevada is closed on a Sunday.  I found out that Elko's cowboy poetry gathering is in January.  For some reason I thought it was in August.  Good to know.  
Since there was nothing we could do in town (laundry, use the internet, buy a climbing guide, get a map at the chamber of commerce...), we attempted to satiate my craving for tacos at a little Mexican restaurant (amazing ceviche!, but still craving tacos), then drove out of town a few miles to Lamoille Canyon.

The canyon was gorgeous and the mountain peaks still snow capped although it was well into the 80s on lower ground.  A small stream cut directly through the canyon, although with the warmer weather, it wasn't so small.  We camped on the hill above it, surrounded by cliffs, and waterfalls.  Cool air rose up from the stream, and a cool breeze brought more fresh air down from the mountain tops, but it was still plenty warm after the sun went down, so we stayed up late playing cribbage, reading, and listening to all the water around us.

As the sounds of the day started to die down and we settled into our nighttime routine, we laid in the tent and listened to sounds like thunder, rumbling the walls of the canyon around us.  It was more of a feeling than a sound.  So low and powerful, like the grinding of teeth.  I was reminded of being a kid, sitting under a bridge on a dirt road when a car drove over.  The rumble was so low and completely surrounded us.  The creek was so full, and moving so much water, that huge boulders were being shifted in the creek bed.  All through the night, I laid awake listening to the rushing water grind the rocks through the canyon.

In the morning we drove the twenty miles back to Elko to buy our climbing guide.  As it turned out, the only store in town that sold it had randomly decided to stay closed that Monday.  We found a limited amount of information online, but enough to allow us to climb at least a couple routes.  So we headed back to the beautiful Lamoille.  

We got our climbing gear together and drove up the canyon to find our cliffs, but something didn't want us to be there, either.  The canyon just a mile up the road from our camp had been closed.  Rangers were suggesting that people start evacuating and moving on to other locations.  Apparently landslides were starting to happen further up the road and were threatening to block the already raging creek.  If a landslide blocked the creek, then blew out, huge flash floods could come racing down the canyon from wall to wall.

There was rain in the forecast for the next couple days, and with the powerful display of the water moving the boulders, a flood warning was all we needed.  There would be no climbing in the Lamoille, then.  We packed up our camp and, greatly discouraged, drew a line straight down our map to Arizona.  

We drove through the desolate, but beautiful heart of Nevada to Eureka, an ancient historical mining town, but were disappointed to find the surrounded hillsides stripped and cratered.  Apparently mining was still happening in Eureka.  

We drove the Loneliest Highway, and found it to be pretty lonely.  We stopped at Illipah Reservoir to soak the dogs, and found it to be equally as lonely.  In Baker, on the border of Utah, we filled up our water and pitched the tent in the wind, in the dark, in the desert.  The wind was blowing so hard that we set up the tent between the car and a fence, tied two lines to the car, two lines to the fence, and another couple lines to some rocks that were near.  We went to sleep and the tent didn't budge.

Hopefully the Southwestern corner of Utah wouldn't be as lonely or as desolate as the Lonliest Highway in Nevada.

Pictures here!

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