I’m writing this afternoon from Elko, Nevada, deep in the heart of the sparsely populated northeastern corner of the Silver State. Though this is actually gold country here, as Elko County is the source of more mined gold than any other region in the United States, and most other nations to boot. We didn’t pick it as a stop to go panning or digging or blowing up mountain sides for riches, but rather because it was a convenient mid-point between South Lake Tahoe, California (where we spent the past two days) and Logan, Utah, where we’re heading tomorrow for a four-day stop.
After my last check-in from Lee Vining, California, we rolled northward to Tahoe, with a very cool stop along the way at Bodie State Historic Park, an epic for-reals gold-mining ghost town. (We didn’t intend to have a gold theme to this leg of the trip, that was just happy happenstance). Bodie was once a thriving and prosperous town with a population pushing 10,000 (living) souls, though it went through a long, slow decline until the closure of its final mine in 1942. The remaining buildings (a lot of them!) are maintained in a state of “arrested decay,” and there are some truly creepy peeks in windows to be seen, with shredded wallpaper, rusting tin ceilings, and a variety of personal and professional detritus left in place in perpetuity, thick with dust and faded with time. I don’t know how many ghosts it houses these days, but I suspect the park rangers who live in a few of the old buildings have got some tales to tell. It’s a rugged road to get up to Bodie, much of it wash-boarded gravel, but worth a visit should you find yourself nearby, for sure.
Lake Tahoe was beautiful as expected, though we arrived just in time to hunker down for an unusual (for the town) strong thunderstorm. The next day, skies clear, we did a stupendous hike from town up to the Tahoe Ridge Trail and back, exactly the sort of ramble we used to love so much when we lived in Idaho all those years ago, with shady pine and fir groves, well-trod and firmly-packed paths, lots and lots of rocks, and vistas to make the heart go pitty-pat. It was about 7.5 miles out and back with about 1,800 feet of elevation change, so the calves and quads are aware today that we used them well yesterday.
We also had another great lodging experience at a small independent hotel called 7 Seas Inn. A comfy room, staffed by a pleasant and helpful team, with a nice (and safely spaced) communal garden to sit and read and eat, all centrally located with easy walks to a private beach (which we enjoyed) and the main commercial drag (not quite so enjoyable during a pandemic, as way too many people on the street were acting as though all was well and normal, masks and social distancing be damned). 7 Seas was also literally right across the street from the Nevada state line, meaning that the obligatory casinos are handy, if that’s your thing. We didn’t visit. They also had a super approach for COVID-time meals, offering a picnic basket breakfast with all the trimmings, to be picked up and carried where the spirit moved you. Evenings featured socially distanced wine and snacks in the garden to boot. As a birder, I enjoyed the raucous Steller’s Jays that came to ogle our various tasty treats, though I know not everyone would share my enthusiasm for their company. At bottom line, another highly recommended home away from home, should your travels bring you Tahoe-ward.
Some shots of our past few days provided below. We’re still enjoying the adventure.