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Trip Report Great Basin National Park--Tent Camping

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Flew Southwest Airlines using points from Tulsa to Las Vegas on a direct flight-uneventful with a slight 40 minute delay on arrival. Southwest always works out best for us and I find there reward system very easy to use.

Stopped at Whole Foods for groceries and supplies. This is very near the airport and worked out super good for us.

We ate a couple of places in Vegas upon our return. In-N-Out-Burgers because we were looking pretty rough from not having a bath for 3 days. This was only our 2nd time to eat there and found it pretty good. The next morning we ate at Hash House A Go Go in the Quad. I would rate the experience very good, however getting to it in The Quad was pretty disgusting and nasty smelling, IMOP. The Quad looks like it has seen better days. Vegas is just disgusting to me in general. I had Sage Fried Chicken Salad with mango vinegarette that was super good and my wife had some sort of hash that was nice too.

We stayed at Springhill Suites North Las Vegas and it was ok. On our return we stayed at LaQuinta Inn near the airport and it was very good. Springhill Suites did have one of the better freebie breakfasts we've had though.

The drive from Vegas to Great Basin National Park is about 4.5 hours. This is on HWY 93-- The Loneliest Road in America. It wasn't nearly as boring a ride as I thought it might be. More mountainous along the way than I was expecting.

We stopped in the town of Baker near the park for firewood. Baker is very small and the 2 motels there looked terrible. The gas station there is unstaffed and just a couple of pumps with no C-store attached. You are much better off staying in the park, IMOP.

The national park is a very pretty lush park. Very surprising. We camped at Wheeler Peak Campground, which is 10,000 feet in elevation. This zapped me a little bit, but that first day really did my wife in. We ended up not doing anything that first day, but just hang around by our campsite. We had arrived about 11:00AM, so it took a while to set up our tent, etc. Wheeler Campground is where you want to be. Upper and Lower Lehman looked nice too, but Wheeler is the Bomb. It almost looked fake. We had site #36 and it looked to us that many of the sights were similar. Ours was right by a babbling litle creek complete with deer that would get a drink and eat, especially dusk and dawn. Our tent ended up being about 5 feet from the running water. Wheeler doesn't allow trailers or RV's(unless extremely small).

The first night it got down to about 40 degrees and only about 60 during the day. Night 2 was about 50 degrees. We cooked steak, potato salad, corn on the cob, and baklava that first night. The second night we had salmon hash with grilled artichokes and smores.

We had 2 meals at the funky/quirky cafe at Lehman Caves. Both were very good. The staff there is very unusual but very friendly.
Lehman Caves tour was very good. I would certainly advise to do the 90 minute tour over the 60 minute tour. The cave is very decorated.

We had planned on hiking Wheeler Peak, but just didn't have it in us. We were fine with the altitude by the 2nd and 3rd days, but didn't figure we wanted to tackle 13,000 ft Wheeler. We did hike Alpine Lakes Loop and it was probably our favorite hike. Bristlecone Pines Grove was also very good and we had "lunch with a ranger" there. These are the oldest living things on earth and worth taking a look at. We also hiked Pole Canyon. This is a very little used trail, but was clearly marked and we never saw another soul there. This is a lower elevation of 5000 ft. near the entrance of the park. We had planned on hiking Lexington Arch, but the road and trail were both closed due to huge mudslide several months ago.

This park sees very few people and is great. While it doesn't have any "shock and awe" attractions like a huge waterfall, it is very peaceful, relaxing, and very pretty.

Camping requires a lot more preparation and doesn't allow for any mistakes. This is especially true here, because there really isn't anything for miles. The cafe does serve breakfast and good sandwiches for lunch, but closes around 4:00 each afternoon.

I doubt that we will ever return to this park, but it certainly is a gem worth exploring for 2-4 days. I would say it's best feature are the campsite. They are truly the best I've seen.

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