Nevada Parks

180610006Our houseless travels started out circling around North America’s Great Basin Desert. This is familiar country to us, as Trish and I have lived pretty much in the geographic centre of Nevada for the last thirteen years. All but the southernmost tip of Nevada is within the Great Basin Desert. We needed to stay close to Carson City to fulfill obligations, so, we purchased a Nevada State Park “All Access Permit” which allows the permit holder one year’s entrance, camping and boat launching at all Nevada State Park facilities. As you can imagine, we stop at Nevada State Parks frequently, even if it’s simply for a picnic or a quick shower, the permit makes everything so simple.

180506003Washoe Lake State Park is the leader of our most camped at park in Nevada, due to it’s close proximity to Reno (24 miles to the north) and Carson City (8 miles to the south). Washoe Lake is a pleasant, if not windy respite from the two cities. When we lived in Eureka, Nevada we would have business and/or a need to shop Reno and Carson about every four to six weeks. We would drive to Reno, a four and a half hour drive and accomplish the list of Reno errands, then pick up some take away and camp at Washoe Lake where we could always get a good hike in, weather permitting. The next morning after hot showers, we’d finish tasks in Carson to get on the road for our four and a half hour drive back to Eureka. Washoe Lake State Park has always been a very mellow place to spend the night, rarely ever finding but a few campers over the years. Lately, however, things have changed as we frequently find the campground full or nearly full, plus a growing community of homeless, including homeless families camping the limit. Anymore, we prefer visiting this park during the off season.

180512047On one of our journeys into the Great Basin’s “outback” we stopped at Fort Churchill State Historic Park. It had been years since we had been there and the park had always offered interesting photographic fodder. Upon arrival however we found ourselves in a mass of insects that made staying a bit uncomfortable. Before long we were packed up and driving a few miles north to Lahontan State Recreation Area. The insects may not have been any better at Lahontan, but the wind there seemed to keep them at bay. Lahontan gets busy when it’s boating season. Penis boats roaring across the reservoir at breakneck speeds and twenty-four hour drunken parties dotted along the beaches makes for an unfriendly co-exsistiance between the two kinds of wildlife that is attracted to this manmade body of water. Trish and I found Lahontan to be a delightful wildlife area with incredibly beautiful beaches to camp and hike along. Just stay away during party season!

180515025A flooded Beach #4 along Lahontan Reservoir.

180515012Lagoon at Beach #4.

180525035Walker Lake.

We decided to head east looking for less people and more landscape to explore, but didn’t want to drive US-50 (The Loneliest Road in America) since we had been driving it for so many years. So, we headed south towards Hawthorne, Nevada (Home of the world’s largest ammunition depot), then Tonopah, traversed the ET Highway and then to Caliente.

180521059Walker Lake.

Just before Hawthorne is Walker Lake, our intentions were a quick overnight camp spot, but ended up spending several days as the weather turned stormy and very interesting photographically. We had a beach front camp, few people around us and miles of beach to explore.

180308020Walker Lake.

180526001Walker Lake.

180308008Walker Lake.

Our first park on the east side of Nevada was Cathedral Gorge State Park Cathedral Gorge is near Caliente, Nevada on the eastern side of the state. We would end up back in Caliente several times over the next few weeks as we found the little market in town “Great Basin Foods” to be a well stocked grocery store with most everything one could need while camping in the area.

180601042Moon Caves.

The Juniper Draw Loop trail in Cathedral Gorge State Park is one of my favourites to hike especially at first light. The trail also connects to the Miller Point trail, another great point of interest. We spent several days here, as I like to hike with one camera, one lens, so we would hike the same trail over and over again with a different camera/lens set up.

180601052Moon Caves.

180602043Juniper Draw Loop Trail.

180602045Juniper Draw Loop Trail.

There is a cluster of Nevada State Parks around Caliente. Our intention was to stay in the area for several weeks exploring them. We want to return to a couple of the parks when we have more time, as I noticed several good photographic ideas to pursue. We ended up departing the area prematurely due to high temperatures. High elevation camping was the topic of conversation, with the air conditioner blasting, as we drove north to Great Basin National Park.

1806060013The Cirque, Great Basin National Park.

1806060022 The Cirque, Great Basin National Park.

Wheeler Peak Camp is at over 9,800 feet offering a wonderful break from the heat below. We even needed to put sweaters on in the evenings. The trails from this camp offer several amazing hiking options.

1806060063Teresa Lake, along the Alpine Lakes Loop trail in Great Basin National Park.

1806060073Stella Lake, Great Basin National Park.

After several months of van life, we still find that less is more and spending more time at locations that turn us on artistically pays off big time. As much as we like the parks, both Trish and I find “wild” camping to be the best camping of all!

All images © 2018 Deon Reynolds

 

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One thought on “Nevada Parks

  1. Loved reading about your travels and viewing your gorgeous photos. John and I have traveled and camped at many of the same places so it’s interesting to see it through your eyes. So glad you are loving the life you live. Good luck you two!

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