Saturday, June 23, 2012

The First of a Few

Summer is here! Which means that we get our (only) real week off this year. In typical fashion we headed out for our family's brand of adventure. Jim was able to get off work a day earlier than expected so we headed to Utah to pick up Ellie-girl before our adventures really began. On the way we stopped at Great Basin National Park.

I confess, Great Basin was not one of the destinations I was excited for. I'd like to imagine that anyone who has driven I-80 West and seen exits for Great Basin in the middle-of-nowhere Nevada has likely had the same feelings. Surprisingly, it turned out to be pretty neat. We stopped at the visitor's center to stamp our National Parks Passport and find out what we should do with our few available hours. In the parking lot I was more than a little surprised to see this on the car next to us.

Poor bird.

We tried to hike to see the Bristlecone pines but even though it was a fairly short hike (1.5 miles) it didn't go over well with the little one among us. All Aeryn wanted to do was get to Yellowstone to see Grandma, which wasn't going to be for another two days. She held back and waltzed to her own beat up the trail which meant we weren't going to get to the pines in time to make it back for our tour of Lehman Caves. At the last minute we intentionally turned the "wrong" way at a fork in the road so that we could be at a lake in 0.1 miles and make it seem like the little jaunt had an intended ending.

The hike was really quite pretty. Certainly not as green as Oregon (we've been spoiled!) or as spectacular as some of the things yet to come on our journey but nice in it's own way - and especially nice for the middle of Nevada.

The view from the top of the road through the park made the Great Basin look rather impressive.

By far the highlight was touring Lehman Caves. I love caves. They are just fascinating to the Geology nerd in me. Besides, for years the only way I could get Aeryn to hike a trail was to make sure there was a cave at the end because she likes them so much. As is usually the case with caves, pictures look far less spectacular than the actual thing.

It was a great (and surprising) first stop for our week of vacation!

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