When choosing a travel destination – we’ve never been disappointed by visiting a national park. The scenery is spectacular, and we always take advantage of the good interpretive programs to understand its many wonders.
Our first visit to a national park on this trip was Great Basin, one of the least well known of the parks. We had never heard of Great Basin before, and that might be because it has so few visitors. Compared to Yosemite, to its west, which gets 4,340,000 visitors annually, Great Basin gets about 90,000 visitors each year.
We assembled a few photos from our 4-day visit, camping at the Baker Creek campground and taking modest hikes each day to explore the park.
We hiked from our campsite along the creek and were quite surprised that the terrain by the water was so lush and green. Great Basin is one of four major desert areas in the US, and the desert extends well beyond the park.
We saw an extensive expanse of dry sagebrush at the base of the mountains. As we climbed in the mountains, the flora changed to include many tree species.
We heard that years ago wild turkeys were purchased and released at a lower elevation outside the national park for hunting purposes. The turkeys preferred higher elevations, and all moved up into the mountains in the national park, putting them out of the hunters’ range. They have flourished in their new home.
On a stroll through the campsite, we found a large bird’s feather. Someone suggested it was a wild turkey’s, but we’re not sure. We tucked it into Joe’s hatband to preserve it until we got back to the campsite.
We saw hundreds of the appropriately named Great Basin Wood Nymphs flitting around these flowers.
We’re sure this was our first sighting of the very small flower of the thorn skeletonweed (Pleiacanthus spinosus).
After a ranger talk on bird songs, we all walked over to a tree behind the visitor center to see 3 common nighthawks resting on branches a few feet apart in one the trees. How’s that for camouflage?
On one of our hikes up to mountain meadows we never saw another person – an unusual experience for a day hiking trail in a national park.
We like to photograph wildflowers and then identify them (if we can) from the photo. Bugs help in remembering the size of the flower. This image was ID’d using the app, PlantSnap, as spineless horsebrush (Tetradymia canescens).
Maybe one reason Great Basin National Park is so little known and visited is its remote location and hot summer temperatures. Still, we enjoyed getting to know the park and were grateful for its many treasures.