Travel Update : Great Basin National Park

I will always remember Great Basin National Park fondly, because it was the first night that I actually slept well in my little tent! Earplugs are the answer, my friends.

While visiting the park, I also summited Wheeler Peak, a hike that begins at about 10,00 feet and climbs to above 13,000 feet over the course of four miles. It’s not the most challenging hike I’ve ever done, but definitely the highest in altitude. I had the voice of my good friend and hiking buddy P—— in my head reminding me to slow down, not to rush and risk injuring or sickening myself all alone in the wilderness. This is a lesson that has taken me a long time to learn. I’m competitive, with others and with myself, and I definitely have a selfish side that wants an excuse to feel superior.  It’s gotten me into trouble on hikes before, when I’ve worn myself out to the point of illness.  On this hike I think I did well at maintaining a healthy pace up the mountain, stopping frequently to rest and acclimate to the altitude.

Looking down the trail - note the two hikers in the lower left

Looking north along the Wheeler summit trail – note the two hikers in the lower left for scale

Panorama from the top of the mountain

Panorama from the top of the mountain

The summit was great – not as windy as Mount Rose, where I’ve sometimes been so uncomfortable I couldn’t enjoy the top of the hike for long.  In the photo above you can see Mount Moriah and a large wildfire burning on the north side.  The center of the photo faces due south toward the wilderness encompassed by Great Basin park, which includes some spectacular valleys and forested areas.

My contribution to the summit record

My contribution to the summit record book

The record book at the summit was the funniest I’ve seen! A few people logged just their names and the date, but more wrote a story or shared information about themselves (“Age 11” “This is our anniversary and it’s the highest we’ve ever been together!” “On our way to Yellowstone” etc).  A lot of it was clearly made up, which made it even funnier.

Excerpt from the summit record book

Excerpt from the summit record book

Looking over a dangerous ledge

Looking over a dangerous ledge

Of all the dangerous ledges I have unwisely dangled my feet over, this one was definitely the scariest.  That’s about 1,000 feet of empty space under my chucks.

Looking south

Looking south

A full night’s rest and a sizeable mountain to climb were a nice welcome back to Nevada.