Camping in Nevada’s New State Park – Walker River State Recreation Area

Duke and I just got back from a two night camping trip in Nevada’s newest State Park, the Walker River State Recreation Area. The park just opened this summer. It is made up of four units along the east fork of the Walker River. The units are not contiguous. The first night we camped in the Pitchfork unit in the Riverbend Campground. The campground is less than two hours south of Reno. It has nice bathrooms with flush toilets and showers. I loved the setting, especially with the fall colors.

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We had yummy Guiness stew for dinner.  Once it got really dark we enjoyed the amazing number of stars and the view of the Milky Way that you can only see when you are away from city lights.

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The park includes a 5.6 mile stretch of the Walker river that is open for floating or kayaking. I think it would be fun to rent a kayak and make the trip some time.

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During the days we had beautiful fall weather. The only problem was that the nights were cold. The first night it got down to 27 degrees!

The next morning we packed up and moved about 45 miles down dirt roads to the Bighorn Campground in the Nine Mile Ranch unit of the park. It is a rustic campground with brand new pit toilets. Each camp site is well separated and right along the river. We were the only ones camping there and overnight it got very cold – down to 18 degrees! Other than the cold it was a wonderful place to camp.

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We had good sleeping bags and lots of blankets but it was hard to get up in the morning. Even the water in our five gallon container was frozen! The temperature warmed up pretty fast once the sun came up.

When we warmed up we packed up and headed home. Along the way we stopped for lunch at Rosie’s Place a great Mexican restaurant in Wellington.

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Back Country Day trip from Reno

A couple of weeks ago Duke, Vicky and I spent a day checking out some of the backroads east of Reno. We had such a wet winter we wanted to see the water  in Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge, The Carson River and Lahontan Reservoir. We started out the day with a great breakfast at Cafe Adele’s in Carson City.  You can see the Google Map of our route here.

The major highlights of the trip were the birds and wildlife we saw. Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of the pronghorn antelope. In a few places in the wild life refuge there were swarms of mosquitos. You can see a couple of them on the window glass in the big picture below.

It was a beautiful day and a fun drive that I think we will do again.

Camping and Nevada Back Road exploring – Taquima Cave and Dianas Punchbowl

Duke and I love exploring the back roads and outback of Nevada. We just got back from a one night exploring camping trip. We had planned to be out two nights but the weather didn’t cooperate. We still managed to see a lot in just two days. We were pretty much in the geographical center of Nevada. Here is a map of our route.

We stopped for a picnic lunch at the shoe tree on highway 50. Highway 50 is so empty that  people have created their own roadside attraction.

A little east of Austin we left the pavement and then just before we got to our campground we had a flat tire! Luckily we carry two spares otherwise it would have been foolhardy to continue on roads where we rarely see another car.

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The Taquima Caves campground is just a quarter mile walk from the camp ground. The cave has rock art created more than 1500 year ago.

We were the only ones in the campground.

Monday morning we drove down into the Monitor Valley and went looking for Dianas Punch Bowl. We followed our map and seemed to be in the right place but there were no signs. We decided to drive to the top of this hill to look around.

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At the top we saw this.

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And then this!

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Down about 30 feet is a hot spring inside a tufa hill.

From Dianas Punch Bowl we headed west back over the mountains to check out the campground near Kingston where we had planned to camp. But it was rainy and cold so we decided to head home. It was a fun trip and inspired me to do another Nevada Outback camping trip again soon.