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Observations from Eastern Nevada

Just returned from a week on US Route 50, the "Loneliest Road in America."  Time was spent in old mining towns like Austin, Eureka, and Ely.  The gold mining towns are prosperous and shiny clean with landscaping and restored old buildings, while the copper mining towns look to be in bad shape.

The eastern NV landscape of pinyon-juniper covered valleys and high mountains is still green and in bloom.  Above about 8000 feet the mosaic of aspen, willows, mountain mahogancy, sub-alpine fir and sage communities are lush and green providing for some wonderful deer and elk habitat.  The elk rut is in full swing.  Deer won't rut until November, but are common in small groups everywhere.  It was great to hear the elk bugle mat night. 

The people in thosse rural areas are sturdy and very friendly.  It is a pleasure to travel in a place where everyone is a polite and a potential new friend.  We met a couple in a campground that we will be fishing with soon.  The guy is an Ojibwa/Prussian from the UP of Michigan that grew up in the wilds of the Northwoods.  His wife is a Nevada girl that can outfish him and loves to hunt elk. 

US 50 is the type of road where I wave to all the on coming traffic and many of them wave back.  It was good to get away from recreating urbanites and connect with so many great people.  Living near the border of CA/NV, the character of a trip in the outdoors is much different depending on if we head east of west.  I think we will be heading east more often.


I've made that drive several times and I really like the eastern part of NV.  I wouldn't mind living in Ely.  We usually camped in Great Basin NP (a real gem that gets far less attention than it deserves), and did hikes there as well as some hikes and fossil hunting across the state line in UT (House Range especially).  For a spectacular desert hike, climb Notch Peak in the House range.  It's an easy approach from the east, and the west face is a tremendous 5000' cliff of striped limestone.  Google Notch Peak, it's really something.

It's been a long time since I lived in Ely.  If you are not into outdoor activites, that part of the state may be boring.  Last I heard, Elk were only in the Ely area after being introduced there, not scattered across the state.  Many good fishing spots around the state, just need to know where to go.  Our family moved to the Eureka area in the mid '60's, I went to school there five years, graduating from HS in a class of 10. 



Glad to hear of your time in Eureka.  Ruby Hill is running full speed and the town never looked better.  We saw names of lots of friends in the basement of the Opera House, because of my gal's poetry and western music career.  Met some old-timers at the Owl Club.  Often the coldest spot in the state.

The elk population is growing about 8 percent a year in Nevada, partly due to the climate, and recent fires which have converted a lot of shrubland into grassland.  They are thick in the Eagan Range, Schell Creeks, etc.  Now they are as far west as the Toiyabes, and continuing to fill up the habitat.


Great name.  We forester's love stuff like that.  Thanks for the kind words.  I have been to GB, but much prefer the nameless secret places in Nevada that most people never visit.  We got caught up on our sleep out by Cave Lake because it was so quiet.  Only a few elk bugles and the occasonal coyote. yip.

I hear you there.  I wish I had more time to explore the ranges in NV and UT - Toiyabe, Schell Creek, Deep Creek, Northern Snake, Ruby, etc.  There is a lot of solitude to be found there along with great scenery.  Even in Great Basin NP, there are areas far from trails that probably rarely see human presence.

Even the lower ranges, like the Confusion and House ranges just over the state line in UT, have a lot of scenery to offer and you will have it all to yourself.


When we lived in Diamond Valley, we kept records for the US Government.  Often in the winter while watching the news from SLC, we were colder than the stated low in the US.  Other small places could have been in the same boat as we were.


January 17, 2021
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