Since my last post we’ve been enjoying our free little lake paradise and the first real solo time we’ve had in a while. I absolutely love how social RVing is. In fact, it’s one of the things that surprised us most about this lifestyle. But we also love our solo-time and having spent a particularly social winter I have to to admit this little spot has been perfect for us in so many ways.
With our souls refreshed and our short hibernation coming to an end I can finally end the tease and reveal that we’ve been staying at Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge. This fabulous little stop-over lies in Pahranagat Valley, a fertile little strip of land named for the Pahranagats (“Person who sticks his feet in the water”), one of several southern Pauite groups that inhabited the Great Basin of Nevada thousands of years ago. The refuge is only ~90 miles north of Las Vegas and contains 5,380 acres of lakes, marshes, wet meadows and desert uplands creating a little Eden for birds and wildlife in the harsh desert. More interestingly for us nature-lovin’ RVers, it’s one of several Wildlife Refuges in Nevada that allow free camping. Can you say hidden little gems for boondockers?!
But the water & birdies as calming as they are, are not the only reason we came here. Besides the relaxing lake-side location one of the main reasons we came here was for the rock art. Indigenous people have inhabited this area as far back as 12,000 B.C and according to local archaeologists have been creating rock art for almost as long. These pictorial illustrations of ancient life make for super-cool rock hunting (an activity aaaalmost as fun as Geocaching) with all the added thrill of finding something historic.
Here in Lincoln Valley the County has taken the extra, super-commendable step of mapping out 6 of the most significant sites in the area creating a website plus free downloadable 30-page color brochure with GPS coordinates and individual details of each spot. Once you make your way to the sites there’s a little sign-in booth with (typically) yet another free, detailed handout that takes you around the trail and most important petroglyphs. It is the BEST organized overview of rock art I’ve seen anywhere and it’s all the more amazing for being waaay out here in boonies. You’ll still have to putter around a bit to find the sites (none of the dirt roads are marked), plus you’ll have to wander around to find the panels (trails can be weak) but that is ALL part of the fun. The panels are accessible, but not too accessible which means you get that great “I found it!” boost when you actually locate them.
We’ve dedicated several days to exploring three of these areas starting with Crystal Wash (I recommend heading to the “entrance” site and not the “main” site…much easier to find), followed by Ash Springs and leaving the larger White River Narrows (be careful, road is bumpy here) for last. We got lost several times trying to find each spot, but thanks to the free brochure plus detailed hiking info from birdandhike.com we managed to snag every one of them in the end. Plus everywhere we went we were the only people there (literally no-one else for miles) making the discovery process all the sweeter.
We’re winding down to our very last few days here at the Wildlife Refuge. I’ll have a site review coming up as well as more about that encounter I teased you with in the last post (believe me, it deserves it’s very own blog). We’ve also decided to change the route I laid down in Feb on the blog. The weather forecasts for US93 especially around Ely & Wells are still looking pretty chilly, even after our last few weeks of delay. I’m not against a few cold days, but it’s been bleedin’ snowing up there (??!!) and this flip-flop-loving-wimpy Dane is not gonna survive. So, once we hit 318 we’re gonna divert west along warmer lines and stranger roads. Coverage? shows us going into yet another area of zero internet coverage, but given how many strange things happen around here, you just never know. If you don’t hear from us for a while we’ve either gone into internet never-never land or disappeared into the weirdness of Area51. You’ll know soon enough….
- BirdandHike Rock Art -> Great, detailed info on all sites. Click HERE
- Lincoln County -> Info on everything to see and do in the area. Click HERE
- Lincoln County -> 30-page free brochure on rock art sites. Download HERE
Note/ All the archaeological sites in Lincoln County are dog-friendly and a few of them (the “main” side of Crystal Wash in particular) had several open spots perfect for boondocking for medium-sized rigs (the road would be a bit to narrow/rocky for “the beast”, but perfect for a more nimble rig). Just be careful to respect the rocks and not damage the precious historic artifacts.
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