The SW trip – day 4
Packed up and ready to go. Sissy looks ready, too.
We had the kayaks, but sadly the water in the preserve’s channel for kayaking was too low.
The birdlife was pretty sketchy, too. We were disappointed to learn that they allow hunting in this so-called preserve. It seemed the only restriction was that white birds were protected because apparently trumpeter swans made an occasional appearance. We never saw any white birds at all. There had been a scheduled hunt the weekend before we got there, so I suspect many of the birds had vacated or were thoroughly spooked (except for the Coots of course!)
Other than Coots and Mallards, we mostly got to see various Grebes. The couple in the above slideshow was quite cute and cooperative, so I was happy.
Leaving Ruby Valley we saw remnants of the mining activity. It seems that Nevada’s economy depends mostly on its casinos, brothels and lots of mining. This day we didn’t drive as many miles, but they were mostly on very dusty gravel roads.
The next campsite at Great Basin National Park was quite pretty with some fantastic views on the way up. Sadly I didn’t get to enjoy much of it. A pity since the Aspens were putting on quite a show. I have never seen such a variation in colors on Aspens before. They ranged from the usual bright yellow to orange and even some bright red. Amazing!
It seems that after living at or near sea level for the past twenty plus years, ascending to 10,000′ (3048 m) was not such a great idea. I had my first taste of altitude sickness. (illness caused by ascent to a high altitude and the resulting shortage of oxygen, characterized chiefly by hyperventilation, nausea, exhaustion, and cerebral edema. -per Google Definition) I could hardly take a dozen steps without feeling nauseous, feel my heart beating wildly and gasping for breath. It was too late to move to a lower campground by then, so I essentially stretched out in the back of the van and didn’t move around any more than I absolutely had to.
The next morning Eric insisted on heading straight down the mountain and forgoing the hike he had hoped to take on the Bristlecone Trail. I immediately felt better as soon as we dropped to around 6,000-7,000′, though a bit of the nausea and shortness of breath lingered for a couple of days.
Late in August the lure of the mountains becomes irresistible. Seared by the everlasting sunfire, I want to see running water again, embrace a pine tree, cut my initials in the bark of an aspen, get bit by a mosquito, see a mountain bluebird, find a big blue columbine, get lost in the firs, hike above timberline, sunbathe on snow and eat some ice, climb the rocks and stand in the wind at the top of the world on the peak of Tukuhnikivats.
― Edward Abbey,