Heading west out of Las Vegas on Charleston Blvd.
It's a desert out here. Heading toward Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.
Entering the park that features rocks, and not all of them are red.
What's it about?
Hiking in the Calico Hills area
It's not all rocks. The desert supports some tough vegetation.
An interesting tree
Looks like these stubby bushes were burnt.
Nature in balance.
A nice shot from the Calico Hills parking lot by the trail.
Keystone Fault. Tectonic forces had upended rock layers putting older rocks on top.
Sandstone quarry operated 1905-1912 by Excelsior Stone Quarry in the Red Rock Canyon.
The miners used a very large machine to haul the blocks to the city (Las Vegas) but its operation was uneconomical.
Foliage near the quarry
At the highest point on the loop road
View from High Point Overlook
Picnic area at Willow Springs
This bird was hanging around the picnic area looking for handouts
Near Willow Springs
A tiny rivulet in the desert
The Tonopah Historic Mining Park. A number of gold and silver mines operated in Tonopah, NV from 1900 to the late 1940's
Some old appliances
Where miners went for refreshment
A gasoline powered mine hoist
A bridge over a "stope" (area from which ore had been extracted)
Tunnel to a mine opened in 1900
Looking down some 500 feet
The Mizpah Mine, the most productive on the site
Hoist house at Mizpah Mine
This is a classic mine site photo
Covered-over shaft entrance to the North Star Mine - high on Mount Oddie
Overlooking Tonopah from Mt. Oddie
The Mizpah Hotel in Tonopah was Nevada's tallest building from 1914 to 1929. It's renovated but not open - it's for sale!
Another formerly grand hotel in Tonopah that fell on hard times and is being renovated- the Belvada.
Belvada Hotel entryway
On the road again, heading for Yosemite. A view of Boundary Peak, highest point in Nevada (summit elevation is 13,140 ft / 4005 m.)
A view of Mono Lake, a salt lake in California east of Yosemite National Park
The lake is known for tufa formations
The Tufa Trail on the lake's south shore
A wall of tufa
Tufa formed as fresh water springs bubbled into the salt lake and salts were precipitated out of the water.
Paoha and Negrit islands
Top of a tufa tube
Some wildflowers by the lake
Entering Yosemite National Park via the Tioga Pass on August 6, 2009.
Tuolumne Meadows area
A hike between the Lembert Dome and Soda Springs
Approaching the soda springs.
Parson's Lodge - built in 1915 and used by the Sierra Club for many years; now houses exhibits.
The Tuolumne River
Something about rocks... these in the Tuolumne River
Further west on the Tioga Pass Road... west end of Tenaya Lake
A bird by the lake shore
Looking across Tenaya Lake
Seen while hiking the lake's south shore
East end of Tenaya Lake
Pothole Dome, a granite rock close to the road
A trail leads around trees to the dome's base.
Climbing up the dome
Nice views from up here.
Another Pothole Panorama
Is this the guru on the mountain top?
Rocks arranged ... by nature
A clump of trees atop the dome
Another piece of natural artistry
A little lake called Siesta Lake
Siesta Lake shore
Back in Tuolumne Meadows ... view of Cathedral Peak
Moving on to Olmsted Point
The "back" view of famous Half Dome. (I last saw Half Dome the usual way, from the Yosemite Valley, back in 1977, on my first and only previous visit to Yosemite Park.)
Up around Olmsted Point
Trail running below the viewpoint
Viewpoint and parking area. Some people only see the National Park scenes from sites like this.
At the west end of Yosemite Park is the Hetch Hetchy Valley and the O'Shaughnessy Dam.
Looking down to the west from the dam's south end.
Walking atop the dam
The Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, impounded by the dam, is the main source of municipal water for San Francisco.
Dam dedication plaques. It was completed in 1923 and enlarged in 1938.
The Tuolumne River as it flows westward from the dam
Dam face (west side)
Along the overlook trail
A telephoto shot from the overlook. The dam and reservoir remained in shadow while I waited to take a picture from the overlook ... while I baked in full sunlight.
Along overlook trail
Dog Lake, near Lembert Dome (Back in the meadows area again). It's a hike up to here.
Another hike scene. Middle Gaylor Lake, near the Tioga Pass. This is the highest elevation I hiked to within Yosemite: 10,550 ft / 3180 m.
Coming down the Gaylor Lakes Trail
View down into the meadows. Just before leaving Yosemite Park.
Next stop: in a desolate area of Nevada called the Railroad Valley, along US Highway 6.
Over 6 miles in and out on a dirt road. No one else around for over an hour, either on the way or while there.
One of a series of volcanic craters that formed some 2 to 5 million years ago
Looking down into the crater
"Easy Chair Crater" can be seen on the right. Looking north from Lunar Crater.
Easy Chair Crater
The Historic Hotel Nevada and Gambling Hall in Ely. (Pronounced EE-lee) Opened in 1929 and displaced the Mizpah in Tonopah as Nevada's tallest building.
Hotel Nevada features usual Nevada hospitality: rooms, meals, drinks, gambling
St. Bartholemew's Episcopal Church, Ely. Opened on Christmas Day in 1907.
Garden at St. Bartholemew's was finished just one week before my visit.
Statue of the saint. (Is he rolling dice? I mean, this IS Nevada, after all.)
East Ely depot of the Nevada Northern Railway. Built as an ore carrier and now run as an operating museum.
Engine 204 and the excursion train on August 9, 2009. Engine is a type SD9 diesel built in 1956 for the Southern Pacific.
Cab of no. 204
Railway office exhibit
Not exactly "dinner" in the diner
Interesting advertisements for local industries
Riding the observation car
Watching engine run around at the turnaround point
Rural view from train - farm country
Old no. 93. A 2-8-0 coal-powered steamer built for this very railroad. Still here and still running.
Passing no. 93
Ticket includes train ride and shop tour. Shops maintain the operating equipment and also restore old equipment not yet in running condition.
Engine no. 40, a 4-6-0 built by Baldwin in Philadelphia in 1910.
No. 93 home after a day's work
At the depot
On my way to the goal of the trip. (No, not Vegas! That's just where the airplane happens to go)
Overnight stay at the Border Inn. Offices, gift shop, bar, restaurant ... and casino ... on the Nevada side.
Rooms on the Utah side. ("Sleep in Utah ... play in Nevada!")
America's "Loneliest Road" - US 50 across Nevada
Destination: my 50th US National Park. (Out of 58 all together as of 2009)
Along the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive
Jeff Davis Peak on left - Wheeler Peak on right
Two nights' accommodations at Wheeler Peak Campground
Trail leads to bristlecone pine grove. Some of these trees have been known to have lived for almost 5,000 years.
Trees in view have lived over 3,000 years
Cones really are bristly
Adverse conditions actually seem to encourage longevity in these trees.
Although this tree died around the year 1400, its trunk still stands.
Sitting on a snowbank at about 11,000 ft / 3350 m elevation
The only glacier in Nevada
Glacier Trail viewpoint
Note hikers skipping stones across lake
Wheeler Summit Trail. It eventually became not only steep but rocks were large and loose. My feet were not happy. I stopped at about 12,000 ft / 3650 m.
Nice view of summit, though. The summit stands at 13,065 ft / 3982 m - second-highest point in Nevada.
Along Summit Trail
Sweeping vista from trail
A visitor to the campground around dusk
Barn swallow nesting at the Lehman Caves Visitor Center.
Lehman Caves in Great Basin National Park
Rhodes Cabin. Originally a visitor accommodation for the caves and later, staff lodging. Now an exhibit.
The current entrance to the cave was constructed to be relatively level with the cave floor.
Natural entrance was vertical. Now covered by a "bat ladder".
About an interesting plant...
... because of its feathery flower.
(Reminded me of a marine creature called the "feather star")
Back in the Las Vegas area. A visit with a "local" who is related to friends back in Maryland.
A ski resort? In Vegas? Well, about an hour west of the city.
They say it can be ski-able as early as November, up until early March.
A lot cooler here than in the city.
Not a bristlecone (I don't think) but interesting
Trip over. Ready to leave from Vegas. This is the Stratosphere Tower on the "Strip." It is now the tallest free-standing tower, not only in Nevada, but in the whole US. (But technically not the tallest "building" because most of its height does not contain floor space.)