Days of Nights

in search of dark skies

Category: landscapes (Page 1 of 4)

Gold Butte National Monument. Clark County NV.

Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge. Lincoln County NV.

Valley of Fire State Park. Clark County NV.

Desert National Wildlife Refuge. Clark County NV.

Lee Canyon. Spring Mountains National Recreation Area.

Back into the pinyon forest. This time at 7300 ft./ 2220 m. Lee Canyon Road in the northern part of the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area. The first night the temperature fell to 16 F./ -9 C. High temperatures in the 40’s/ 7 C. Two thing to do here. Check out Mary Jane Falls by Mt. Charleston and to see if the Desert Wildlife Refuge on the other side of Hwy 95 has suitable sites for truck and trailer. It’s all good. Aspen and Ponderosa pine on the other side of the mountain. No trees on the desert floor. The area to the west of the NWR is the Nevada Test Site where atomic bombs were tested from 1952 to 1964.

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Lovell Canyon

Less than hour east of Pahrump is Lovell Canyon in the Spring Mountains Recreation Area in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. Camping in the canyon is dispersed only so it’s up to you to find a good spot. I did. The Lovell Canyon Road is paved. Nice. The campsite is on a side road.  I had to take the truck and trailer down and up the creek crossing. Fairly rough dirt road a mile or so in, but a relatively clean site with a decent amount of vegetation throughout. Pinyon, juniper, sage, manzanita, and some plants I have never seen before. Time to get educated. The campsite across the road had very little left growing and much broken glass and shotgun shells. Humans are really messy creatures. Thanksgiving Day getting acquainted with my immediate surroundings and a pre-prepared dinner. Star gazing is seriously compromised by the light pollution from Las Vegas. It’s like the first light of dawn all night long. Friday what was to be a light hike up the northern end of the canyon turned into a 6-mile hike. Easy well-maintained trail. I love the pinyon forests. They are peaceful places with a lot of biological diversity. Saturday a bit of housekeeping. Sunday a leisurely day as I decided to stay a night longer than I had planned. Too nice to leave. Monday morning came in really windy with storm clouds racing above. It cleared up by 1000 am and I set to work packing up the trailer and hitching up. No phone signal for 5 whole days. Saturday was the only day there was any traffic on the road. A shooter up the road off and on all day long. Even though it is prohibited and there are signs posted all around. All in all I had an enjoyable stay here.

Death Valley National Park

Walker Lake NV

Virginia City NV

From Reno the approach to Virginia is up a steep, windy road into the mountains. The highway hugs the western side with dramatic drop-offs and panoramic views. A bit scary for this novice truck and trailer driver. Plenty of turn-outs which I used frequently. Even got a toot of appreciation from one passer-by. The city owes its existence to productive silver mines. It is now a tourist attraction. It reminds me of Park City, without the ski areas. I continued on the route I missed on my way to Reno by coasting down Six Mile Canyon. Much easier to take, with a lot of color in the cottonwoods. Hwy 50 towards Silver Springs, then Hwy 95 to Walker Lake. I didn’t have to go back to Fallon after all. Passed by the Buckland Pony Express Station on the Carson River, but did not take the time to stop. I clearly have sites to revisit on a more leisurely journey.

Walker Lake NV

There are some pretty desolate stretches of Hwy 95 that rival Hwy 50 for loneliness. Just north of Walker Lake I pass through the Walker River Paiute-Shoshone Tribal Lands. The southern end of Walker Lake is US Army Ammunition Depot. The largest in the country. And the town of Hawthorne. The rest of the land around the lake is BLM. There are three established camping areas right off Hwy 95. Two are dispersed areas and are free, the third has designated sites with canopies shielding the picnic tables from the sun and wind. There is also a boat ramp there. A nightly fee is charged. I chose the first campground because it had come with acceptable reviews on the Internet. These reviews also came with strong warnings about the sand. And what did I do but got stuck in the sand almost as soon as I had pulled into the campground. Second time in two weeks. Duh. I thought I had learned my lesson at Sand Mountain. My only neighbor at the time witnessed the whole event. After I had talked with him as I evaluated the approach. And this time the trailer was attached to the truck. Sand to the level of the hitch and the rear axle of the truck. I did the only thing I could do and managed to jack up the hitch and uncouple the truck. The truck came out easily by itself. The trailer itself was not stuck in the stand. But in order to move it to firmer ground, reconnect it to the truck, and move it to a suitable camping site I would have to pull it away from the soft sand backwards. And I had nothing to tow it with. Hawthorne is 20 miles away and has an Ace Hardware. I got what I thought I needed fortunately. Tying the towing strap to the rear bumper of the trailer and hooking it onto to the chain hooks on the rear of the truck I was able to drag the trailer about 100 feet up the road. Re-attaching the trailer and backing into a nice firm gravelly site was very straight forward. The only casualty was the Tongue-Twister and that could have been avoided. Also easily replaced. My neighbor was as helpful as he could be, assisting me in digging sand with his shovel. Offering words of encouragement, and recommending the store in Hawthorne. After that it was like nothing had happened. A perfectly normal camping experience. Sort of.


Sand Mountain NV

Salt Wells

Sand Springs Pony Express Station

Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge



Lahontan shoreline

another day at Beach Lahontan

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