Spring Break 2017: Great Basin National Park Lehman Cave

I don’t often visit National Parks when I’m out traveling. It’s not that I hold the No Puppy Service in low regard but Sprocket’s my adventure buddy and quite frankly, I’ll skip the crowds for BLM or Forest Service land just outside the park to hang with him.

Since he didn’t join me for this trip, I was free for National Park adventures! I spent some time in Arches but my next stop was Great Basin National Park. I’ve been wanting to go to Great Basin and visit the bristlecone pines for ages (and more recently, I’ve really wanted to climb Wheeler Peak); these high mountain adventures were on hold though since the upper slopes of the park were still pretty packed in snow. Instead, I signed up for the Grand Palace Tour in Lehman Cave.

Reservations for the tours are highly recommended so I made mine about a week and a half before I left on my trip. I’m not much for specific time points to be places but I’m really glad I made space for this! The cave tour was just the right length and our ranger was really informative.

This wasn’t my first tour in a limestone cave (I visited Shasta Caverns in 2009 and Carlsbad Caverns in 2010) but I was impressed. The cave was beautiful and the tour was really interesting.

I really liked this cave bacon:

I was having a really hard time making all of my knowledge of western geology come together while trying to fit in the formation of the cave. The final answer was: I don’t know anywhere near enough about Great Basin geology and I need to fix that before I come back to Nevada. #sciencenerdproblems

I’ll definitely be back to Great Basin in a different time of year to check out the upper part of the park!

Road Trip: Wendover, Nevada to Salem, Oregon

F and Karen’s last day of riding took them from Indian Creek to Moab via Lockhart Basin and Kane Creek. Sprocket and I headed directly for town, expecting them to move quickly. When we arrived and found we had some extra time to kill, I stopped in at Back of Beyond Books and picked up the latest issue of High Country News. We retreated to the yard of the Manti-La Sal National Forest ranger station (a great place to relax!) and enjoyed the shade.

Sprocket

When our motorcycle riders arrived, we transferred gear around and said our goodbyes to Karen and headed north. When we got to Salt Lake City we decided to head to Wendover and camp above town and watch the pretty lights.

In the morning, we woke up to a beautiful sunrise over the Salt Flats and downtown Wendover. The light on the rocks behind our campsite was pretty fantastic too.

Salt Flats from Wendover, Nevada

Desert campsite

Sprocket

Jeep in desert sunrise

After we packed up camp (and I was done taking pictures), we headed west on I-80. I’d never been on this stretch of highway which I always find exciting. In Winnemucca, we headed north across the lonely desert towards Oregon.

Nevada desert

We spent the night in Klamath Falls before heading onwards. We stopped at the Collier Logging Museum near Chiloquin, Oregon. They had lots of cool old machinery including this sweet early Caterpiller Tractor. After a brief stop at Diamond Lake, we were on our way to Salem.

Caterpiller Tractor

Caterpiller

Tree Display