Great Basin Redux

Great Basin SP12-10

Last fall I drove across the Great Basin twice: once on Interstate 80 on the way to Colorado, the second time on Highway 50 on the way back to Colorado. I shared a few images and thoughts of my experiences on an earlier blog. I was back in the Great Basin on my latest photo tour, this time returning from Wyoming. On my last return trip through the Great Basin, I was confronted with the first winter storm of the 2011-2012 season. This time, returning in June, I was confronted with what will probably be the last winter storm of the season, with fierce winds and a good snow dusting of the higher mountains in northeastern Nevada. (See my Angel Lake post for extent of snow in high elevations.) Although I can’t say I’m always being impressed with scenery of the Great Basin, the place becomes positively magical during the clearing of a storm:

Great Basin SP12-13

Great Basin SP12-6

I stopped in Wells overnight and the next morning it was bitter cold. But the sun was out, the clouds were thin or absent, and things warmed up nicely. The scenery was no where, however, as beautiful as during the storm clearing, with the glare of the sun bringing out the monotonous aridity of the landscape:

Angel Lake SP12-147

Angel Lake SP12-148

When passing the small towns that occur at various points along Interstate 80, one wonders what the people who live there do for a living in such a dry, uninviting place, with its brutally hot summers and cold, windy winters. These towns — Lovelock, Winnemucca, Battle Mountain, Wells — all seem to be out in the middle of no where, as if on another, inhospitable planet. Only Elko and Reno, which border lush mountain ranges, seem more inviting places to live.