August 19th, 2014
As I come down from Johnsville, on the eastern flank of the Sierra Nevada, I’m already in the Great Basin. I leave behind the thick pine forests and the mountain meadows:
I encounter some plants that will be my faithful companions all across the desert:
The particularity of the Great Basin is this: all water that comes into the Great Basin stays in the Great Basin. All the rivers–the Truckee, the Humboldt, the Reese, the Sevier, the Jordan (yes, there is a Jordan River in the US, in Utah, of course), the Bear and others all flow into inland lakes such as Pyramid Lake, the Great Salt Lake, etc. No water flows to the sea.
To the east of the city of Reno the state of Nevada shows its true terrain…
…including its oases in the river valleys.
The open road shows its true face too:
On the other side of the town of Fallon (which calls itself the “oasis of Nevada”) the notion of distance becomes very clear:
(In miles, of course.)
The fabled US Highway 50…
…also known as “The Lonliest Road”:
It’s just you and me, Van…
…and the Nevada landscape:
The skyscapes can be as beautiful as the landscapes:
Nevada! Need I say anything more?
The road goes on, straight and narrow…
…into the town of Austin.
Austin, with 350 inhabitants, has 3 churches:
I believe that this last church is, in fact, closed, like half the stores along the main street.
Austin has a courthouse too, presented as a “historic” building :
Three churches and a courthouse, but no grocery store. That’s Austin. No problem, I shopped in Reno before venturing out here.
On I go, to the Bob Scott Campground in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest:
After the giant redwoods and the stately pines of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, this forest demands yet another definition of the word “forest”.
The campground in the evening light:
I make a quick dinner of sautéed summer squash and bulgur wheat:
The campground in the morning light:
We’re in the Toiyabe Range here. Since Fallon we have gone over several ranges and crossed through several valleys. Nevada is like that, up and down, up and down.
My neighbors are from Holland:
Desert sage is rampant here, but I also notice this clump of desert grass:
And this little fella too:
And now we’re off. And you’ll soon see why I stopped in Austin.