Colorado Plateau Photo Odyssey 22: Across the Great Basin 1

Cathedral Gorge SP13-147

As I explained on my last post, on the penultimate day of my Colorado Plateau Odyssey I set off from Cedar City toward Nevada. Although I stopped off to spend an hour or so at Cathedral Gorge State Park in Nevada, that was not the primary goal of the trip. I was hoping make it all the way across Nevada to Mono Lake, in California. The first jog of the trip looks like this:

It’s 137 miles from Cedar City to the intersection of Highway 93 and Highway 375. The stop-off at Cathedral Gorge would add another hour and half or so. Best get off at an early hour in the morning. At 4:30 in the morning, I ventured forth from Cedar City. As I neared the Nevada border, the dawn spread forth its light across the Great Basin desert:

The sun rose and spread out its soft light on the highway. Ahead, very close now, is the Nevada border:

From Panaca, I turned north and drove the five miles or so to Cathedral Gorge State Park. On returning, I headed south on HWY 93, starting from Panaca, a small town that borders a bit of an oasis. This section of Nevada is actually not part of the Great Basin drainage. What little rain (and occasional snow in winter) that is not absorbed in the ground makes it’s way to the Colorado River, south of here. A few lush farms greeted the eye as one drove west of Panaca:

But soon we’re back to familiar high desert, rising out of the Colorado River drainage and heading, presumably, to the Great Basin drainage:

You descend from the pass and quickly find oneself in the town of Caliente, which, as far as Great Basin towns go, is actually not bad; certainly it’s not the dump one might expect:

From here you drive into a flatter area of desert, decorated, per usual, with strands of high, rugged hills and jagged mountains. Note the presence of Joshua trees in the first image, which don’t grow further north. The elevation’s a bit lower here:

There was quite a bit of traffic out and about that morning, which rather surprised me. Soon I discovered why: some sort of off-road shindig was going on:

Driving passed that, the traffic thinned out. This is a wild sparse landscape, interspersed by large cattle ranches, but little else:

Finally, after an hour or so of driving on HWY 93, I came to the next part of the trip. Here things got a little bit strange. The following pic tells the story:

I was about to enter another dimension of reality. The relating of this particular adventure I will save for my next post.