Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Great Basin National Park

I am often ashamed by the fact that while in the last 5 years I have traveled to nearly a half dozen countries, countless beaches, and Mayan ruins, I have not explored places much closer, cheaper and just as impressive. Great Basin National Park(GPNP) is only a 3 hour drive from Hurricane. In reality one could easily arrive much quicker, but on this expedition we happened to pulling a GHETTO trailer which would not allow us to drive over 55MPH. GBNP is truly a place solitude seekers can find just that. Because it is somewhere between the middle of nowhere and BFE one does not find the masses of people as is the case in many other National Parks in the West. As I speak of this alleged solitude, anyone with me on this trip is currently snickering. Our first night camping out a small group of rambunctious, and rowdy drinkers arrived and kept us up half the night. Luckily revenge is sweet, and as they attempted to sleep off their night of drinking we began making a commotion that they wont soon forget!

Other than this group who fortunetly left once I began singing, slamming shut car doors, banging pots and pans together, yawning as loud as humanly possible and laughing so loud as to wake the dead. After breakfast, Renee and I set out to hike to the top of the second highest peak in Nevada, Wheelers Peak. The peak itself lies at over 13,000 feet but the hike starts at over 10,000 feet. The hike is beautiful. The hike starts in an high elevation forest with quaky's and pines. As you gain elevation the trees begin to shrink until all that left are the ancient bristlecone pine that grow in the harshest of conditions. As we approached the treeline, even the bristlecone disappeared and the only plant life left were lichens and some low growing flowers. At 12,000 feet Renee was finished for the day and decided to stay back while I made the final push for the summit. Even at 12,000 feet the view was amazing and one could see for miles in several directions. Directly below Renee was the campgrounds and three glacial lakes.

The final push to summit was one of the best experiences of my life. My legs burned, my lungs ached and my heart has never beated as hard. Truly it was a mind over body moment for me and gave proof that if I am strong mentally I can accomplish much. The reward for putting my body through hell was also by far worth it. At the top of the peak I had a 360 degree view for dozens if not hundred of miles. In the log book I wrote, and meant, "some of Gods holiest places are found on mountaintops, this is surely one of them."

The next morning we woke and visited Lehman Caves. GBNP is worth the trip, even if it is only a day trip, just to be able to explore the cave. The formations of stalactites, stalagmites, shields, etc was unbelievable, and even though the tour guide was a little cheesy, his explanation of the history behind Lehmans Cave was very interesting. GBNP is worth the visit for any person and worth a return visit for me!

Pictures will be added shortly

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