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Saturday, August 3, 2013

Ely Nevada and Great Basin National Park

                                                          Great Basin National Park

We arrived in Ely late Wednesday afternoon. We had wanted to stay at a casino RV park in town but they were full by the time we got there. Option two was to take a spot at a private park in town. Nothing fancy but we did have full hookups as well as cable TV and fast WIFI. We did see where 18 miles out of town was the site of the Ward Charcoal Ovens. The ovens were built about 1876 to produce charcoal for the smelter serving the gold mines in the area. The ovens were 35 feet high and would be filled with as much as 35 cords of pinon pine before they were fired. So at 7:30 pm we headed out to find the ovens.

We left Ely early Thursday morning for an easy drive to Great Basin National Park. The park has five campgrounds that are first come first serve but only one would accommodate our sized RV. We were fortunate to get in right away. We have a great spot with a running creek right outside our bedroom window. It is a very relaxing site.

One of the popular activities of Great Basin is a visit to the Lehman Cave. The cave can only be entered with a guided tour and tickets do sell out. So we went and bought tickets for the 2:00 pm tour. We have been on many cave tours and this was one of the best. 

This morning we headed out for a hike that took us to the Bristlecone Pine grove. The Bristlecone pine trees are some of the oldest living on earth. A bristlecone pine tree found here was determined to be the world’s oldest living tree at 4,950 years old. At lower elevations, where the conditions are less extreme, bristlecone pines grow faster and larger, but they die at the tender age of 300 or 400 years.   

 Wheeler Peak 13,000 feet

 Trail to Bristlecone Pine Grove
  Trail to Bristlecone Pine Grove
  Trail to Bristlecone Pine Grove

 Bristlecone Pine
  Bristlecone Pine
 Bristlecone Pine

We left Great Basin National Park this morning for Utah. We have always been drawn to Utah and were anxious to see parts of the state we have not seen before.  Although we enjoyed the California and Oregon coast and its beautiful scenery we feel Utah has the whole package, the entire state is a picture postcard.

We passed an extremely large lake, Sevier Lake, rainfall variations over time have caused this lake to fluctuate between being a dry lakebed and the state’s third largest body of water.  It wasn’t long before we were in the familiar red rock and canyons that we know as Utah. We are currently staying in Green River which is just north of Moab which is base for exploring the Arches and Canyon’s in the area. We will head into Moab in the morning.

 Sevier Lake Western Utah

Western Utah

 Scenery along interstate 70