High mountain lakes

We took a drive from our campsite in the Ruby Mountain foothills up to Angel Lake about 2000 feet above. The saturated colors of green meadows, bushes, and grass, and deep blue color of the water were stunning.

Climbing the steep grade to the lake we could look down on our campsite below.
The view on the other side of the road featured some crop circles near the town of Wells, Nevada.
View of Lake Angel from the waterfall that cascades down the Ruby mountain cliffs.
Grandkids taking in the view…

Beautiful eastern Nevada

Camping in a new spot, never visited before, in the Ruby Mountains of northeastern Nevada. Serene and peaceful, with wide expansive views of peaks, in the middle of an aspen grove, and surrounded by meadow of wildflowers — what’s not to love about this place.

The Ruby range — we will climb into the foothills of these mountains to our campsite at Angel Creek.
Setting up camp in the aspen grove
There was lots of woolly mule’s ears in the aspen meadows showing off their bright yellow flowers.
Dense stands of showy lupines dotted the rocky hillsides.
A large patch of blue iris under the aspens had just finished blooming.
Spotted Towhees were common in camp, singing continuously to us all evening and the next morning.
House Wrens were noisily advertising their territories in early morning — kind of an unwelcome alarm clock actually.

Crossing America — Nevada

From Elko to Winnemucca along I-80, we cruise up and down the mountains and valleys that run like long fingers north to south.  A blanket of snow and scattered clouds filtering the early morning light make this usually monotonous landscape very photogenic.

I-80 from Elko to Winnemucca, NV

The mountain passes are over 6000 feet, the valley floors are dominated by sagebrush in this high desert.

I-80 from Elko to Winnemucca, NV

The valleys are typically self-draining (rather than running out to the Pacific ocean) making the soil unsuitable for much plant life except those that are salt-tolerant.

I-80 from Elko to Winnemucca, NV

Mountain peaks and canyons often have more lush vegetation, even pine forests, and creeks running from them may have fish and a variety of bird and mammal life.  The valley floors are a mecca for insectivorous lizards and a few adventurous birds and small mammals.

I-80 from Elko to Winnemucca, NV

Nevada means snow-covered, as the landscape exhibits in this winter scene, but most of the Great Basin here is in the rain-shadow of the Sierra mountains of California, and thus the annual precipitation is less than 10 inches.

I-80 from Elko to Winnemucca, NV

Towns are few and far between, often located at the base of some scenic peak, rather than out on the valley floor.

I-80 from Elko to Winnemucca, NV

Broiling hot in the summer and chilling in the winter, this is a place for really hearty people to live.

West of Winnemucca, the valley basins are more expansive, merging into one gigantic bowl, the Great Basin sink. Water from rivers draining the eastern side of the Sierra mountains eventually makes its way into the Great Basin, some of it collecting in temporary or even permanent lakes.  This is the only source of water for agriculture in western Nevada.

and now we will climb the eastern side of the Sierras, hopefully in advance of the giant snowstorm headed there.