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 Post subject: Great Basin National Park
 Post Posted: July 11th, 2017, 3:29 pm 
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Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
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Location: The Dalles, OR
Great Basin National Park is in a remote place in eastern Nevada, an 800 mile drive from home. The specific appeal is alpine terrain with snow already melted, when such terrain at home is still weeks away from normal hiking. So when I found I had a number of days off in early July, off I went. I stayed at a cheap hotel each way. It was sunny and hot when I arrived, though moderated by the altitude. The valleys around the park are between 5000 and 7000 feet - that's the low altitude. The lower campgrounds are 8000 feet in altitude, and everything is up from there. It's also famous for Lehman Cave, but I did not see that this trip. I was there to hike and most tours were booked up in advance. And as the days went by, thunderstorms gradually developed. The second day just got cloudy and on the day I left there was a biblical downpour as I was driving out of the park. So my timing was pretty good.

My full trip report is at http://www.deanmyerson.org/great-basin-national-park

Here is Wheeler Peak, just over 13,000 feet. 2900 feet EG in 4.3 miles. And you go a lot slower at 12000 than around here. The trail follows the righthand skyline.
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Making progress
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From the summit
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There are ancient bristlecome pines in the area
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Then I did a three day backpack to some alpine lakes, which started in the desert at 8000 feet
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To Baker Lake at 10,600
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The next day it was over an 11,400 pass
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To Johnson Lake at 10,800
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Then, alas, 800 miles drive home.

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 Post subject: Re: Great Basin National Park
 Post Posted: July 11th, 2017, 3:33 pm 
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Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
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Interesting. I'm always looking for places in the shoulder season. I'll have to look at this further. Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Great Basin National Park
 Post Posted: July 11th, 2017, 8:02 pm 
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Joined: June 26th, 2010, 4:28 am
Posts: 128
Location: Portland
This one has been on my list too. I do quite a few trips to the Utah canyons and this is a natural stopping point on the drive from Oregon but I've never checked it out. Thanks for posting.


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 Post subject: Re: Great Basin National Park
 Post Posted: July 12th, 2017, 4:31 am 
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Joined: March 3rd, 2012, 10:06 am
Posts: 26
Nice shots. Took my kids down there many moons ago (2005). There was a lot more snow then. I expected to see the same since it has been such a big snow year in the Sierra, but looks like it is really cleared out. I believe it was a record year that year though. They had a ton of water coming into the caves from seepage Hope you were able to check those out. It was pretty cool as well.
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 Post subject: Re: Great Basin National Park
 Post Posted: July 12th, 2017, 6:14 am 
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Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
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Location: The Dalles, OR
There is a snotel on Wheeler Mtn that you can look up each year to see how melting is going. Rangers told me the typical time at which the high country is open is early June and that's about when that snotel zeroed out this year. But since I still ran into a couple really minimal patches of snow, I'm not sure what open means exactly.

And the drive is, to me, really boring. You need a good collection of music or audio books or whatever you like. You go out I84 100 miles past Boise (which is about the half way point!) and then turn south. At that point there are some mountain ranges, including the Ruby Mountains, which apparently have lots of hiking. But some of those ranges still have a decent amount of snow.

I usually do one early season long distance out-of-area (in-area long distance would be North Cascades or Crater Lake).

Oh, I saw Lehman Caves many years ago. I was traveling US50 between home in Boulder, CO and near Tahoe, where family lived, and made a brief stop.

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Last edited by drm on July 12th, 2017, 8:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Great Basin National Park
 Post Posted: July 12th, 2017, 8:10 am 
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Joined: July 23rd, 2010, 1:43 pm
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Nice report. Sounds like a great trip. You're right about thunderstorms at Great Basin NP--I recall getting chased off the mountain by some fearsome storms ten years ago or so.

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And the drive is, to me, really boring. You need a good collection of music or audio books or whatever you like. You go out I84 100 miles past Boise (which is about the half way point!) and then turn south. At that point there are some mountain ranges, including the Ruby Mountains, which apparently have lots of hiking. But some of those ranges still have a decent amount of snow.

When I head down that way I go through Burns and Winnemucca and then head further south at Battle Mountain to Highway 50 at Austin NV. You won't see many people going that way but I enjoy the high desert scenery and its a lot less boring than the interstate. Also great Basque food in Winnemucca.

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 Post subject: Re: Great Basin National Park
 Post Posted: July 12th, 2017, 9:26 am 
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Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
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Location: State of Jefferson
Nice TR! The one time we tried to hike Wheeler - in July! - the trail was still closed (per the rangers) by snow. So no go then and we haven't been able to get back since, as it always seems to be 800 miles from wherever we are! I've hiked in the Ruby Mountains once and they are pretty spectacular too.

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 Post subject: Re: Great Basin National Park
 Post Posted: July 12th, 2017, 4:04 pm 
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Joined: March 3rd, 2012, 10:06 am
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drm wrote:
There is a snotel on Wheeler Mtn that you can look up each year to see how melting is going. Rangers told me the typical time at which the high country is open is early June and that's about when that snotel zeroed out this year. But since I still ran into a couple really minimal patches of snow, I'm not sure what open means exactly.

And the drive is, to me, really boring. You need a good collection of music or audio books or whatever you like. You go out I84 100 miles past Boise (which is about the half way point!) and then turn south. At that point there are some mountain ranges, including the Ruby Mountains, which apparently have lots of hiking. But some of those ranges still have a decent amount of snow.

I usually do one early season long distance out-of-area (in-area long distance would be North Cascades or Crater Lake).

Oh, I saw Lehman Caves many years ago. I was traveling US50 between home in Boulder, CO and near Tahoe, where family lived, and made a brief stop.


We ended up heading down 225 to Elko (pretty interesting off of 84) and stayed at Ruby Mtns (yes good hiking and amazing to see large scale glacial features that far south) for a couple days before heading to the GBNP. We then went south and took the extraterrestrial highway up through Rachel near Area 51. We took the highway to get to Tahoe for some camping and weren't aware that it was called the ET highway or that it passed Rachel and Area 51. Rachel has a very strange vibe, and it was a nice unexpected road trip find. We keep talking about returning to eastern Nevada. As a geologist there is a lot near and dear to my heart down there. Anyway, you have inspired me to think about a return to Wheeler at some point.


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 Post subject: Re: Great Basin National Park
 Post Posted: July 12th, 2017, 4:25 pm 
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Joined: July 26th, 2008, 8:16 pm
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Location: Tri-Cities, WA
Looks like an interesting place that's never (before) been on my radar.


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 Post subject: Re: Great Basin National Park
 Post Posted: July 13th, 2017, 8:09 am 
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Joined: May 21st, 2014, 9:18 am
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Location: Portland, Oregon
Ooh I love this trip report! Thank you for posting!

Great Basin has been on my list for awhile! My goal is to visit/hike all 59 national parks and I'm only at 5 :lol: :lol: :lol:

This year my husband and I went down to the Trinity Alps, but we were thinking of checking out Great Basin...maybe next year! (and I will maybe post a trip report of the Trinities, but I need to edit photos first!)

This post is making me think of moving Great Basin up higher on the list...

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