Celebrating another national park

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.

 

July 2018

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
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7 Responses to Celebrating another national park

  1. Like you, I’ve never heard of Great Basin but I enjoyed your introduction to it and spectacular photos. The nighthawk’s camouflage is amazing and I had to kind of take a guess where it might be. Over the years we’ve visited many state and national parks and I agree with you – we’ve never been disappointed either! Anita

    • We first saw a nighthawk in flight and the white stripe on each wing was a quick way to ID the bird. We would not have seen the bird camofloughed on the branch if someone hadn’t pointed it out to us.

  2. How lovely to have the park all to yourself.

  3. plaidcamper says:

    What a great choice – quiet when other places are crowded! Beautiful photographs of the wild flowers.

  4. I agree with Wallace Stegner that National Parks are “America’s best idea”. So many to see, so little time!

  5. With a lack of visitors it is indeed a very rare place. That alone would make it worth visiting.

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