Monday, July 8, 2013

And Now For Something Completely Different...

I started this blog as a way to give insight into my past and teach a few things that I have learned over the past 60+ years...

It then morphed into political comment for which I will not apologize...

Now I'd like to show you where I live and what I've been doing the past few weeks.

This past Saturday, July 6th, I decided to take my Jeep out into the Nevada Outback and take a few pictures. The area that I show is approximately 40 miles from home and located at the very South end of the Ruby Mountain Range.


Pony Express Territory!
On the way to my destination I passed this sign. (right) This area of Nevada is called "Pony Express Territory" by the State's Public Relations people. It attracts tourists away from Las Vegas and Reno (in theory). The Pony Express trail roughly follows US-50, East to West across the central part of the State of Nevada.

Many people who have never been here believe that Nevada is bone dry - it may seem like it at times but there IS water to be found... if you know where to look. 

Huntington Springs
This is Huntington Springs. It's a year-round spring and a great source of water for the animals as well as a source of Watercress. Great on sandwiches and in salads.

My main destination is an area called Quarry Canyon. It's where limestone was quarried for many buildings in my town (Eureka, NV) back in the late 1800s. The quarried stone was hauled to town by mule-drawn freight wagons.


My Jeep - Waaay Down Below

One of the reasons that I enjoy  coming here are the dozens of fantastic rock formations ... as well as a cave. 

Actually, it's not a real cave but a natural lean-to. Several thousands of years ago a huge boulder calved from the cliff face uphill from it's present location, then came to rest against another boulder forming a larger sheltered area that resembles a cave. It's roomy and is nice and cool in the 90 degree (f.) temps that were present this day.

You can see my Jeep parked next to the road below the 'cave' entrance It's about 1/4 mile down slope. I'll tell you that for this fat old man, it was quite a
Cave Rock (upper right)
challenge to hike to the cave. My legs were aching and cramping. I had to sit and rest for a bit. With my arthritis and being very much out of shape, I expected that the next morning I would be stiff and sore. Gladly it wasn't as bad as I expected.


The huge rock at the center-left is the cave lean-to. There is another picture below showing the East entrance with a zoomed perspective.

I entered through the East entrance
Cave Rock (close-up)
and found myself inside the sheltered area. I don't usually post photos of myself, but I took one with me in the West opening to show the size of the room. It was tough pushing the shutter button then running to the entrance before the timer went off. Especially after my climb. The things I do for my readers!


While in the West side of the cave area, I took a picture of the vista that was before me. For this area of
Me - Worn Out and Tired!
Nevada, this is a typical scene.


There are many awesome rock formations in this one area. The photos don't show the true scale of the rocks themselves. The rock that forms the roof of this cave area is easily 50 feet from the bottom to the top. It would be roughly equal in weight to 738 million hamsters! Nothing to sneeze at unless you're allergic to hamsters!

There are some photos of the interior of the cave area as well as other
View From the Cave's West Opening
rocks and formations in the immediate area. As I post the photos, I'll include a description as best as I can. 


Some of these defy description. They look primeval or from another planet. They just beg to be crawled over and explored (by someone younger than me!).

Someone asked me if there were a lot of Rattlesnakes in this area. I'm sure there are but my wheezing, groaning and farting as I climbed the hill (for you, I might add!) probably scared them all away. 


Inside View of the Cave - East Entry in Back
I've lived in this area for over 26 years and during that time I have never seen a Rattlesnake while out hiking in the hills like this. I have seen a few while driving - they slither onto the roadway in the morning to start their day in order to get heat from the road itself. Sort of like having your morning cup of coffee.

The roads going into this area are dirt tracks and while a four-wheel drive vehicle is not really necessary, it's very advisable to be in one. 

You should carry the usual equipment in case you get stuck or broke down,
Another Look at the West Entry
such as a good jack, a good spare tire (or two), water and food, a cell phone and a means of making a shelter from the sun since it really gets hot inside the vehicle. I carry a silver-sided emergency blanket. It's always wise to tell someone where you are going exactly and when you expect to return. That way if you are late coming home, they'll know where to start looking for your body.


As for wildlife in this area, there are quite a few different little critters that Mr. Disney would love for you believe were your friends. Whenever
See the Natural Arch at Top Left?
you go out into the wilderness, remember that the animals you see are wild. they do not take kindly to being petted or even approached. Keep your distance and take pictures.


Animals here include Mule Deer, Big Horn Sheep, Mountain Goats (introduced 20 years ago), Mountain Lions, Badgers, Coyotes, Ground Squirrels, Chucker Partridge, Quail, Cottontail Rabbits, Jack Rabbits (actually a hare), Bobcats, Rattlesnakes and other various non-poisonous serpents. I'm sure I'm

This Rock is About 50' Tall!
missing some animals but come here and feel free to take an inventory! Sorry, there are no Bears in this part of Nevada. You have to go to the Western part of the State near the Sierra-Nevada mountains to see them.


Almost all of the wilderness lands in Nevada are administered by the Bureau of Land Management, and as such, is public land. You can hunt almost everywhere here as well as camp in almost every venue. That includes wilderness camping where
This Butte is About 1/3 Mile Left to Right!
you go out, pick a spot and call it home. They require that you move your camp once every couple of weeks but rarely check on you. If checked just move 10 feet to the left and you're good to go. If you're a Republican, move it to the far right.


Since natural water is rare in Nevada, you are required to camp at least 500 feet from springs to allow wild animals access to the water. Apparently they like to drink too. Who knew?

While this area is dry and dusty, there are places where camping is very shady and cool. With trees and everything. You just have to know where to find them! (ask me. I know where they are!)
This is What Most People Expect to See in Nevada!

I have a favorite place that I like to camp just to get out of the house for a few days. This is in a secluded grove of Aspen trees with a seasonal creek running through the campsite. There's grass, shade and plenty of firewood. If I told you where it is, I wouldn't be able to go there anymore! And I really like this campsite! However, if you really want to know and you come here, I'll show you where to go.

I'm such a pushover!

Huntington Springs Choked With Watercress

I include this photo of the watercress in Huntington Springs because I really like the stuff. If you have never tasted it, it tastes fairly sharp like pepper and really gives a tang to sandwiches. To harvest it you just grab a bunch and pull it up. It has to be washed and cleaned because freshwater snails like to hide on the undersides of the leaves. They're a good source of protein but a lot of people (females) draw the line at eating snails (unless they're French). 

These little buggers are only about the size of a match head so if one gets by you, you'll probably never even notice the extra crunch!

I hope you enjoy this little tour. I very much enjoyed getting out there in order to show you. If you want to come for a visit, contact me and I'll see that you get to see these sights, up close and personal.

Be safe!  The Geezer....