Family Flashbacks (5): Big Sky, Basin, and Beef

Today’s date six years ago found us on the sixth day of our road trip. We logged only 152 miles (245 km) but took our time and savored the wide-open spaces. We left our totally-forgettable (we wish!) lodging in Delta, Utah, and continued our way westward toward Nevada. We’d settled on Great Basin National Park for the likely highlight of this portion of our journey, and we drove through some very iconic, big-sky western landscapes. In my journal I wrote: Though the landscape may have looked rather bleak to many visitors, we found it refreshing, relaxing, and gently lovely, with vast stretches of open range between strings of hills and the low mountains of the Confusion Range. One can’t help imagining the challenges this journey must have presented for the early explorers trying to find greener pastures. We reached the Park shortly after we crossed into Nevada and had several hours to explore the area. I wanted to get a good view of the Basin from an elevated point and found one on the road to Lehman’s Cave. My knee was finally feeling good enough that I was able to undertake a modest hike on a handy, easy trail nearby. We were now at an elevation where the temperature dropped enough at night for ice crystals to form and stay on the vegetation that graced parts of little Baker Creek that were in deep-enough shadow. As the daylight began to wane, we finished the day’s drive in Ely and stayed at the Prospector Hotel, where I feasted on a beautiful slab of prime rib of beef, not only perfectly medium-rare, but served on a real gold-prospector’s pan—super yum!

About krikitarts

Welcome to Krikit Arts! I'm a veterinarian; photographer; finger-style guitarist, composer, instructor, and singer/songwriter; fisherman; and fly-tyer. Please enjoy--and please respect my full rights to all photos on this Website!
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14 Responses to Family Flashbacks (5): Big Sky, Basin, and Beef

  1. Do you happen to know what the fluffy plants in the third picture are?
    I was thinking that November is a good time of year to avoid oppressive heat in that region. I didn’t realize it gets cold enough for ice by this date.

    • krikitarts says:

      Sorry I don’t know what they are–I was rather hoping you could tell me. As for the ice, this was pretty high up, where it does drop below freezing at night, and the deep shade surely helped to preserve it.

      • So many composites turn fuzzy like that when they go to seed. I recognize some of the ones in Austin but in Utah and Nevada I’m a stranger in a strange land. I wonder if it could’ve been the same species I found still flowering at Zion:

      • krikitarts says:

        Definitely possible but hard to tell for sure without closer examination.

      • shoreacres says:

        I’ll tuck this here so Steve sees it, too. Great Basin Seeds has nice photos of what appears to be your fuzzy plant on their website: rubber rabbitbush. It seems there are two species in the area. The other is yellow rabbitbush, a somewhat more compact plant which also is shown on the website. If you click on the Great Basin logo at the top of the page, there’s a header photo of the rubber rabbitbush in bloom.

        As for the common name, the Forest Service says:

        “The common name refers to the rubber content in the sap, which varies by subspecies. Rabbitbrush was first tested as a source of high quality rubber during World War II. In recent decades, there has been renewed interest in its potential for production of rubber, resins, and other chemicals. Compounds in rubber rabbitbrush are being evaluated for nematocides, anti-malarial properties, and insect repellents. Rubber rabbitbrush has also been identified as a potential source of biomass and biocrude fuels.”

  2. Ms. Liz says:

    The meal served on a real gold-prospector’s pan looks super yum alright.. cool presentation!

  3. Adrian Lewis says:

    Good pictures and very interesting account >>> and I particularly like the plate (pan!) of food – rather a snack by FATman standards, and you will probably be horrified to know that I like my steaks well done!!! :)

    • krikitarts says:

      I had a strong feeling you would react positively to the (rare, for me) food photo, and almost dedicated its inclusion to you, but I’ve come to take differences in preference in stride, as you’re not the only friend of mine who likes to eat dry leather and cut it with a hatchet. I hasten to add, however, that there are also limits in the other direction. I remember a fine restaurant in France, in which a colleague wanted to impress me with a steak that was so rare that I could hear the steer from whence it came moo when I put my fork into it. They pretended to be appalled when I asked them to cook it a little more, but again, there are limits. However you like it best, bon apetit.

      • Adrian Lewis says:

        Well, after all is said and done, it is a very stylish hatchet … :) :) :) And yes, its all down to individual differences and preferences, you and I are tolerant, which seems to be an increasingly rare thing these days.

  4. Meanderer says:

    I was going to ask what the fluffy plants were too; they look so wonderfully tactile. Although I like the soft rolling countryside of England and Wales, I have to say I find the wide sky and open space in your first image very appealing.

    • krikitarts says:

      One of the things we loved about Kansas was how we could watch large storms build many dozens of miles away. A part of me had a secret hope to see a tornado (from a safe distance, of course), but that never quite came to pass. There were a few almosts, and they were unforgettable.

  5. bluebrightly says:

    Wonderful memories, beautiful country – and fine conversations in the comments section. ;-)

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