#22 Great Basin National Park, NV
The trip to Great Basin from Death Valley was a very lonely sojourn. I camped north of Panaca, Nevada in Cathedral Gorge State Park. Only 3 other people were camped there. It was 2 hours the next morning to reach Great Basin National Park. In that 2 hours I only saw a dead coyote and 3 eagles and in the 2 hours past Great Basin I saw 2 trucks...2! Good thing I grew up in South Dakota and was used to that.
Great Basin is beautiful and vast! It also had a great deal of snow, so much of the park was inaccessible. The visitor center was open and so I started there.
There are over 40 caves at Great Basin! The ranger seemed disappointed that I wasn't there for the guided tour of Lehman Cave. But, if you have been reading the blogs, you know I'm claustrophobic and that is NOT on my list of things to do.
After making coffee and oatmeal at the picnic area, it was time to explore. I was really hoping to see the Bristlecone Pine Tree groves that are up around tree level; unfortunately, the road up there was closed due to snow. Some of the Bristlecones in GB are among the oldest trees in our nation.
Then it was off to Baker Creek Road. I hiked/jogged over 4 miles to the Grey Cliffs and Pole Canyon and back to the car. The cliffs, canyon and Baker Creek are very pretty. It would be a really great place to camp in nicer weather.
I'm sure it is just the timing of my visit, but the only living things I saw in my entire visit to Great Basin was the ranger in the visitor center and a chipmunk on Baker Creek Road...that's it! I was completely alone. That isn't an experience that is common in a National Park! It's a park I will definitely try to get back to explore more.