Great Basin National Park… Who knew?

Somehow it’s been a month since our last post. I suppose time flies, when you’re having fun. Or whenever you’re living a bit “off the grid” for an extended period. We are now back online and staying at Grand Teton RV Park Resort just about 5 miles from the Moran, WY entrance to Grand Teton National Park. We will post more about that soon, but we don’t want to skip telling you about our adventures for the last month. 

We drove across Nevada from Lake Tahoe to near Baker in southeast Nevada right by the Utah border. We cut across the state on “the loneliest highway in America”. It lived up to its billing, with very little traffic, tiny towns, huge vistas and little to no cell service. We crossed several mountain ranges and ended up driving through snow on one and thick clouds on another.  

   

We ended up in  Great Basin National Park hoping to go from some of the biggest and oldest trees (Sequoias in California) to the real longevity holders in the Bristlecone pines. Neither of us had ever heard of this park, but we feel fortunate to have found it on the map and had the freedom to stop and explore a couple days. Unfortunately, the Bristlecone pines only live long term above 9,000 feet and given the weather in the mountains in early May, the road to the top hadn’t been opened. We settled for a tour of the other notable feature of this park – Lehman Cave. SPECTACULAR!  After visiting Carlsbad Caverns in January, we’ve been a little cave snobbish, assuming we couldn’t possibly see another as fantastic. We couldn’t have been more wrong. Lehman cave is home to a wide variety of cave formations, many found only in a couple other places in the world. The vastness of Carlsbad was replaced with the intimacy and intricacies of Lehman, which is very much a living cave. 

   
     

A couple of the most notable and special formations were the shields and helictites. The shields were basically round flat disks formed under tremendous pressure.  Helictites look like roots but are actually like stalactites that don’t grow straight down. They grow sideways defying gravity, which is pretty cool.  There were also active drops building the cave as we walked by. So cool!

Shield formations over flowstone
 
Helcitites growing from the ceiling
  
Grafitti from early tourist candle smudges is now part of the cave.
   
This drop of water is building the cave very slowly!

Great visit. Next time, we will have to go when it’s warmer so we can see the old, gnarly, Bristlecone pines, too. 

On the way to Salt Lake, our Cruiserlift actually started to rip off the back of the coach.  Thank God, Bob is a welder and brought along his welding machine.  It’s repaired, for now, but we have to find a better option. The stress each time we move is NOT worth it!

  

 Our stop in Salt Lake City allowed us to repair one of our A/C units, give the coach a good washing, trouble shoot an electric problem and visit some work friends. No touring, but a great stop, nonetheless. 

We headed North toward Idaho and stayed two nights in Victor, ID while we scouted suitable campsites for our big rig. We settled upon Hatchet Campground in Bridger-Teton National Forest only 3 miles from our current spot. This was our first long term camping with no services and it went better and longer than expected. 10 days with no water or electricity or dump, not bad. Unfortunately, the weather was cold and dreary with ongoing rain most days. We needed a getaway from the gray and cold and drove the Mini back to Iowa and Kansas for some much needed family time. More on the Tetons in our next installment. Until then, hope all is well with you and yours!

  

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