Elko Hills. Ruby Mountains. NV
Snow mixed with rain all night and all day. Elko Hills (7510 ft./ 2289 m.) looking very wintry. It is still summer! Night time temperatures have been below freezing all week, down to 25 F./-3.8 C. a couple of times. A real challenge to stay comfortable and find things to do.
It has been a challenge to do meaningful stargazing in the trailer park. There is a bright fluorescent light at the restroom a short distance away that illuminates this half of the park. I guess there is a good reason for that. Though better lighting could be installed. I am not the one to advocate for change. Each site also has a low watt light at the electrical hookup. Most of the residents have turned theirs off. But there are a few that do interfere with my darkness. The best that I can do under the circumstances is to find a spot that is shielded both by the truck and the trailer. The Milky Way is just barely visible. So I guess this qualifies as a dark sky site. The restroom light for some reason turns itself off at 430 am while it is still dark. It is about this time that some of my neighbors start leaving for work. Which means their porch lights go on, and of course they have their headlights on as they drive out. I could drive just a short distance away to enjoy better conditions. There is a lot of open land to the north. But is is interspersed with private homesteads. I have chosen not to get up and go out at 1200 o’clock midnight in close to freezing temperatures driving into unknown neighborhoods calling unnecessary attention to myself. So I will be looking forward to just being able to set up camp under truly dark skies and being able to enjoy them with little or no effort. This is just the beginning.
Two significant accomplishments happened on Tuesday. I got my trailer registered in Nevada. Not such a big deal. I had to hitch up and bring it into the DMV for a physical inspection of the VIN and a verification of the trailer’s dry weight. Plus hand over a significant sum of money since the trailer is is still almost brand new. So now I am altogether a Nevadan. Home means Nevada?
And it arrived a day early, but my first Social Security check showed up in my checking account. Woohoo! I now have to wait on the first check from the Utah retirement on the 30th. Then I am ready to move on. The first piece of mail arrived in General Delivery from my mail forwarding service. It took 10 days to get here and it’s only coming from outside Las Vegas! Wow.
The next morning was nice and clear. The thermometer I had brought along measured an overnight low of 47. Not bad at all. I had expected colder. I took my time breaking camp and packing up. Decided to go back up the road to to the nature trail , and then one final visit to Road’s End. The trail circles down from the road to Lamoille Creek, visiting an abandoned beaver pond, and winding back up through aspens and more aspens to the highway. There is something to be said for water falling over rocks. It speaks with a distinctive voice. I know of the water faeries at play. And there is something to be said for thick stands of quaking aspens. I know of the tree spirits. The handout for the nature trail was very informative, with detailed descriptions of the geologic history, the trees and flowers in this habitat, and of mammals and birds that are found here. Up at Road’s End I took another little walk along the trail from the parking lot that follows Lamoille Creek for a ways. Ending up talking with a couple who were heading up to Lamoille Lake. I cautioned them about my own difficulty. They seemed confident and were eyeing the weather. On my way back down the canyon I stopped to check out Right Fork Canyon which is where I originally thought the campground was located. Turns out to be a private camp for the Lions’ Club. Pretty setting. And one more stop at the Power Station picnic area, for not much at all.
I decided to visit the town of Lamoille to see if I could capture some interesting perspectives on the Rubys. They have a very old Presbyterian church there which is very photogenic. Then on towards Spring Creek where I made a turn down Pleasant Valley. Some more nice views of the Rubys, including Ruby Dome, the highest peak in the mountain range. And then regretfully my little camping trip comes to an end. It was nice to get away, and to do it simply. I missed having my convenient toilet and real bed to sleep in. But for a couple of days, simplicity wins out over comfort.
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