Nevada. America’s 34th state, and most arid. Chock full of desert. A mere 86% of Nevada’s land is owned by the Federal Government. Not only that, but it’s home to North America’s largest continuous endorheic basin. Which means, the average 5 inches of rain it does receive each year does not drain to the Pacific, nor the Atlantic, but right back onto itself. This 10,000 square mile drainage is called the Great Basin, and makes up much of Nevada and Utah. To give you a little perspective, that is more area than the entire state of Vermont.
Salt Lake City’s Famous Internet Skiers latest mission was to go and reconnoiter the national park named after this geographical phenomenon – Great Basin National Park. A park hundreds of miles from the nearest town with any petroleum, and home to Nevada’s tallest peak: 13,063 foot Mount Wheeler. In addition to being the tallest peak completely within state bounds, it is also the second most prominent. Meaning the height of Wheeler Peak is 7,568 feet above the lowest contour line encircling it and no higher summit.
Geography lesson over, onwards with the fun.
We packed up on Friday evening for a rumble through the Great Basin. Here is what the route looks like from space:
Hundreds of miles of alkali flats and sand dunes separated us from our objective. Dwyer was so jazzed up to get out of town that he laid down his best heel clicker just two miles off of the highway.
The endless expanse had all kinds of great things in store for us, including:
Skitchable sand dunes.
And sunsets of western grandeur.
Read about the author: Porter Haney