9/26/13

Catching Up from Winnemucca, Nevada

When I wrote my last blog post, I forgot to mention that we would be camping inside the national park and would most likely be out of touch for a couple of days. Once there, I had no way to update you. Didja miss me? Well, never fear, because I have been taking careful notes (not to mention lots of pictures), so that you wouldn't miss a single exciting moment of the adventures of the Cat House on Wheels & Co. I'll just bet you're barely hanging on by your claws. So here goes.

We left Kanab and drove north to Great Basin National Park. This is essentially our trip home. As I said in an earlier post, we have visited Great Basin before, but it was in the late spring, and the road to the highest peak (Wheeler Peak) in the park was closed. We hoped we would be able to drive up there in the early fall, and we were not disappointed. Along the way, we passed by some deposits of lava, which seemed completely out of place for the rest of the landscape.


We stopped at an overlook where there was an expansive view, including this view of the back side of Zion National Park, which you can see in the distance almost dead center in the image below.


The moon followed us all day.


Eventually, we crossed over into Nevada, and that meant we were very near the park, which is located very close to the border with Utah.


We stayed in Lower Lehman Creek Campground, where we have stayed before. It is a very nice campground, able to accommodate our long rig, and very quiet. In the past, we've had the best luck getting the kitties out for a walk here because of its privacy and its isolation from other campers. While the national parks lack hook-ups and require that we "dry" camp, we still like them very much. They are often full, but Great Basin is not a well-known or very much visited park, and so there were lots of spaces available in the small campground. The other thing we love about the national parks is the price: for this trip, $3 per night.

When I went to pay at the self-pay station, I came upon a flock of about a dozen wild turkeys. They were so funny!


Smitty saw them too!


Our space was just a few steps away from Lehman Creek, which, along with the sound of the wind in the trees, covered up any sounds of other campers.


There were lots of pretty little things to photograph. I don't know what these yellow guys are, but they have been blooming everywhere we've been.


These are juniper berries, I believe. Crack them open and they smell perfumy, like gin. In fact, gin is made from juniper berries.


The aspens are all turning colors now, and they are so beautiful.


The next day, Smitty would not sit still until we got him out for a walk.


And wonder of wonders...when Gracie saw Smitty outside, she would have nothing else until she was harnessed up to join him. It's always a great day when we can get Gracie out of the trailer. This was our experience the last time we visited the park with George and Gracie. It was the one park where they both felt comfortable enough to come out of the trailer for a good walk. 


They sniffed, and sniffed, and sniffed, and ate grass, and sniffed, and sniffed some more. Smitty saw his first grasshoppers, and oh my, that was really something. They were big suckers too. Here are some other things we saw on our walk.



I'm not sure about this, but I think these red berries below are rose hips on wild roses. 


The kitties eventually got enough walking. Smitty needed to come in and use the litter box. Yes, the litter box. Only an uncivilized cat would do his business outside in a national park. C'mon!

So then we set off to drive to the top of Wheeler Peak. The road was open! As it turns out, the road only goes to 10,000 feet, and Wheeler Peak is actually 13,000 feet. If one wants to go to the top, one must hike the final 3,000 feet. We decided to wait to do that another day. (Ha! As if we could!) 

The aspens were really the stars of the show at the top of the mountain.



The weather could have been nicer. It was 37 degrees and the sun mostly stayed behind the clouds, so it was quite cold.


At one of the overlooks down a little lower, you can see the aspens mixed in with the conifers. Bristlecone pines grow on Wheeler Peak, and, at 3,000 years of age in some cases, they are among the oldest trees on earth.


In the afternoon, we took the 90-minute tour of Lehman Cave. With the exception of one, I took the images below without flash, and so they aren't as sharp as they might have been. No tripods were allowed. I just had to hold my hands real still. In any case, I think you'll get a good idea of what you would see on a visit to Lehman Cave. The ranger described it as one of the most "decorated caves" in the parks system, and it is easy to see why. It is filled with the most delicate, lacy formations.




Before the cave became a protected national monument in the 1920's, folks used to come down with candle lanterns. They had to crawl around on their bellies in the dark with just the light of a candle, and when they came into this relatively large chamber, it is easy to understand why they might have felt compelled to burn their initials and the year into the walls and roof of the chamber. Also, during prohibition, they often had parties in these chambers, hauling in bootleg whiskey and having a grand old time.


Because of that, many of the stalactites were broken off and taken home as souvenirs, but many have continued to grow. It takes 100 years for one of these little "soda straws" to grow one inch. (This image below is the one picture I took using flash.)



So that was what we saw on our one-day visit to Great Basin. It's a great park, and if you want the place to yourself, it's a perfect place to visit.

When we woke up this morning, snow had fallen which is never a welcome sight when you're towing a six-ton fifth wheel trailer. We got up and got going quickly. There was snow accumulation on the top of the catio! And look who's outside!


Remember my pretty red rose hips from above? Here they are with snow. Amazing what a difference 24 hours makes.


There was accumulated snow on the truck and it was snowing as we left.


Mike and I were laughing that the only bad weather we hadn't seen on this trip was a big wind storm. Then as we were driving across the Nevada desert, we spied this funnel cloud out the window. Oy. Fortunately, we drove on past, and no tornadoes touched down. Not while we were there anyway. Sheesh. Sometimes we wonder if we should travel at all.


So tonight we're stopping over in Winnemucca, Nevada, for no reason other than its distance from Great Basin. Tomorrow night, we will be in Bend, Oregon, and then the next night, home. 

So there you are...all caught up. If I have anything to tell you along the way, I'll keep writing. Otherwise, I'll see you when I get home. Don't worry though, the September NewFO Linky Party will go on as scheduled.


This month, we're playing for my personal favorite needle nanny, the cat.


If you don't hear from me before then, we'll party on right back here on Monday, September 30th.

22 comments from clever and witty friends:

Junebug613 said...

Lovely lovely pictures! Awww, so glad to see the kids out and about. Wow snow already! Safe travels as you work your way home!

Diane Wild said...

I wonder if the kittys like to get out because there aren't any woofie smells about. Seems pretty deserted but so beautiful. Didn't it feel good to drive away from snow?

Sooli said...

So lovely to follow your journey. Very different scenery to what we have here in Australia, I've enjoyed reading about it all.

Marla said...

What an awesome trip!

Lee said...

You've had some interesting, fun(?) adventures on this trip. Oh dear, I MUST get started on a NewFO for Sept, lol, better late than never :)

WoolenSails said...

The scenery is amazing, I really am enjoying traveling with you. I am glad you got out of the bad weather, don't think I would like being in snow, in a camper.

Debbie

Quilting Babcia said...

The last time I was in Winnemucca was over 40 years ago! I remember kinda liking it back then, a cowboy/old West kind of town. Great pics as always!

Cinder Gal said...

Thank you for the wonderful travel log. I've enjoyed every post. You have shown me many places I want to visit when the hubby retires late in 2014.

Brown Family said...

WE have enjoyed your vacation. You had every kind of weather except a hurricane! Have a safe trip home!

Tami C said...

It has been a wonderful time going along on vacation with you. You take some really wonderful pictures and almost all of them are of things I've never seen. The flock of turkeys was a surprise! It's nice seeing Gracie and Smitty being able to get out and walk around. Thanks for sharing!

Vroomans' Quilts said...

As you progressed with your photos - and the area - I was thinking SNOW. Your fur babes knew that smell.

Dana Gaffney said...

I was wondering where you were, then saw the funnel cloud on FB. This has been a heck of a trip, home should look better than ever.

Jeanie said...

You have had quite the smorgasbord of weather on your trip.... a bit of everything! Lovely pictures and glad to see Gracie out an about too.

gpc said...

What a beautiful trip. And such brave kitties! :)

Little Quilt Shop said...

Bless your traveling hearts!! America is such a wonderful country! Blessed by God...we spent the fall in Vermont 3 years ago....my hub did Travel ER nursing and we got to roam Vermont, NH, Conn, Mass, and a bit of Maine....OH! we will treasure it as long as we live, as you will this trip together! So many quilt ideas for pictorial ones with those Aspen Trees!!....Be safe!!...Bend Oregon is another beautiful area!!....love the Apples there, as I remember!!....

Dar said...

Great pictures as usual. Brrr, it's going to be low 80's today here in MO, but looking at your pics of snow, I felt a chill. BTW, how did you teach Smitty and Gracie to walk with a harness. That is so cool.

Deb@asimplelifequilts said...

Another great post... go Gracie! I am going to try a harness/leash with our next cat... we have to many wild critters about not to mention our German Shepard neighbors down the road for outside play.

The snow sent a chill up my spine! It will be here all too soon.

Jacque said...

Yes! Yes! You were missed! :)
Those pix from Wheeler Peak are spectacular...glad you avoided too much snow and the funnel cloud.

quiltzyx said...

Way to go Gracie! I'm so proud of you for taking a walk outside once on this vacation.
That was quite a bit of snow on top of the catio! I'm at work right now - it's about 90* outside, but quite cool here in the basement. I felt like that snow could be outside my office door! lol

I loved all the pictures this trip. So many beautiful places. The aspen were just stunning! And the rose hips with the snow - looks like a Christmas card to me.

Saw on f'book that you're home safe & sound now - hooray!

Thanks for taking us along - and you didn't even have to feed us!

Scrapatches said...

More fabulous photos! I love your kitty pictures and the his and hers harnesses. Thanks for the virtual vacation ... :) Pat

c said...

FANTASTIC photos, WONDERFUL Subjects, you all are having a memory making trip that just is the ultimate catastic event! How about a Smitty needle nanny, I would adore it!
Love reading these blog posts!!!!

Kate said...

It's hard to believe it's snowing there when it's been in the 90s here. Gorgeous pictures! I love the one of the aspen looking up the trunk through the leaves to the sky.