Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Day Two: Reno NV to Great Basin, NV

Hwy 50 is the "Loneliest Road in America" in other words, Z's dream Hwy. The towns it took us through were fascinating mixtures of old decadence and current abandonment. We passed an Opera house in the middle of nowhere Nevada, with broken out windows and a door hanging off the hinges. I can't help but wonder at what point in time was this operating? When was this town and its people so prosperous that they needed an Opera House? It reminds me of the decadence of the Rubber Barons in Brazil during the 19th century. They built a huge grand Opera House in Manus, importing materials from France and Italy only to have the visiting Opera Troupes die of Yellow Fever. When the Industry went bust the Opera house was abandoned, it has since been rebuilt but I imagine it looking like the one we passed in Nevada, like faded glory. 

Great Basin National Park is one of the least visited National Parks in America and we were grateful for the lack of tourists.  We camped at 11,000 feet on Mt Wheeler whose peak is at 13, 065 elevation.  We were able to do a beautiful 6 mile hike that took us through a bristelcone pine forest and across a glacier.

Bristlecone Pines are the world's oldest living organism.  There are ones alive today that are over 5,000 years old.  They grow in extreme and hostile environments and are nature's original bonsai trees.  They grow in twisted, stunted ways and are some of the most beautiful trees I have ever seen. 

You can't stop this boy from doing Handstands.  It is his version of "planking'.

If you ever seen a pile of stones along an isolated trail, add a stone for good luck.  As I've heard it, it's an ancient practice, an offering to the gods that watch over lonely travellers or to the gods of the place you are visiting.  Now it seems to be a practice by which travellers communicate with one another, "yes you are on the right path" or "turn here". Either way, its good luck to add a stone and bad luck to knock one down.  You are either offending the gods or misleading fellow travellers.

We can find Mushrooms anywhere we go.  We found a wide variety of mushrooms that we had never seen before, new region, new mushrooms. Z thought he found a Morel but there was no way to tell if it was a false Morel or the true item.  Needless to say, we didn't eat it.

1 comment:

  1. Love it! Miss you guys already but your adventures are envious!