Musings on eastern Nevada Wild Country - alpine lakes, mule deer and cougars.


This past weekend saw me driving over to Elko to meet up with Trent and the rest of the hunting party as they emerged from their high backcountry camps due to the threat of rain. On Friday night we grabbed some takeout and rested for an evening at Jim and Carrie's, then Saturday headed up to Lamoille Canyon. The guys had some good stalks, but weren't able to snag some dinner, and I lashed the dogs into dragging me up to Lamoille Lake.

Lamoille Canyon showcases the classic U-shaped morphology of a true glacial valley, the likes of which I haven't seen since Beartooth Pass in Montana. The hike was gorgeous on the way up - the Ruby Mountains really are one of eastern NV's best kept secrets....and let's keep it that way, ok? Unfortunately, the descent was a bit crowded for my taste; a Green Tortoise tour bus brought a gaggle of tourists to the trailhead around lunchtime. There's just nothing "green" about dropping off a giant pack of ill-equipped folks in an unspoiled and un-Yellowstoned canyon, but at least we can applaud their efforts at vegetarian meals and biodiesel. Yeah that's right, I just morphed into a wilderness snob.

Saturday night we visited with friends, ate and drank our way through downtown for the monthly Wine Walk, and helped Jim fend off a crazed bachelorette party participant. Wow, she was really persistent; for a while we thought she had fallen into the bushes, but then there she was again, embarrassing herself in public for our entertainment. I thought our weekend wildlife sightings would be limited to mule deer, birds and small mammals, but amazingly, we could add cougars to that list. She needs one of those warning signs that Mike found...(I'd put a link here, but don't want to offend anyone's delicate sensibilities; you can find it on Flickr).

Anyways....Sunday was relaxing by comparison: brunch at Muley's under the watchful plastic eye of irregular mule deer shoulder mounts, some high angle target practice from the roof (I can't believe I was a party to this!), and an uneventful drive home. I took Hwy 50, the self-proclaimed "Loneliest Highway in America", cutting across the strike of the basin and range to Fernley from Austin. It wasn't lonely though....rather, it seemed like all of California decided to keep Hwy 50 company that day. Carson and I snapped some photos in Austin, a tiny silver mining town etched out of the western slope of the Toiyabe Range. All fascinating history aside - the Pony Express used to come through there - the town is barely hanging on, and I am disappointed to report, this is NOT a place to pick up a good cup of coffee.

All in all, a great Nevada mini-vacation. The scenery and the intoxicating strength of sagebrush scent made me miss Idaho in a very tangible and olfactory way, but I'll save my reminiscences for another time....
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