Monday, April 13
South Ruby Campground is in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.
Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge lies at the southern end of Ruby Valley in northeast Nevada. Flanked on the west by the rugged and scenic Ruby Mountains, it is one of the most remote refuges in the lower 48 states.
The word “remote” tells me to forget about internet.
Shortly after we arrived yesterday, I turn on my Verizon jetpack anyway in the hope there’s a trace of signal that my Wilson antenna could boost into something workable. Nothing.
At our last camp near Ely, I read online that a cold front is on its way across the region and that it will bring strong winds (50-60 mph) and snow. We need to hunker down and heaven knows for how long.
As the sun rises above the mountains across the valley, Bridget, Reggie, and I explore our new camp and the campground.
It’s a lovely, sunny morning that promises to warm up nicely.
Bridget and Reggie are happy hikers!
The lane goes up to a mine. It’s too far and steep for us to walk all the way.
Bridget and Reggie are tired. While the crew waits in the PTV, I get out and take a few photos.
The wildlife officer is a friendly, personable, 30-ish woman.
“Where is the closest place I can get internet signal for Verizon,” I ask.
“Well, nowhere in Ruby Valley.”
“No, don’t do that. Take Harrison Pass. You might get a signal at the summit. If not, you could go down into Huntington Valley on the other side and drive north toward Elko. That would be shorter.”
“What about snow? Is the road clear up there?”
She assures me it’s open. “I was up there yesterday.” Then she turns to her computer screen.
“If you’re going that way, you’d better do it soon because winds are gonna’ pick up this afternoon and the storm will be here by tomorrow.”
The crew and I follow her advice.
We go back to camp and pick up the laptop and the air card. The PTV carries us up Green Mountain, through the pass, and down the other side. We turn north. Near the hamlet of Jiggs my Verizon jetpack picks up a signal!
I write a post and publish it on the blog.
Now that readers know why we’re off-line for a few days, I can relax and enjoy a break while the storm blows through.
We wind our way up and over the mountains and return to our campsite.
Tuesday, April 14 and Wednesday, April 15
I have a front row seat to watch the storm roll down Ruby Valley. As I sit in bed by the window, a white mass of falling snow moves southward across the marsh and ponds and toward our camp. Wind swirls dust in haboobs before it. Soon wind gusts jolt the Best Little Trailer and snow flies horizontally.
I have the heater on high and the crew and I are comfortable.
During two days of wind, snow, sleet, and even small hail, I read my Paperwhite, eat (of course) and watch the storm through the bedside window.
It being too cold for long walks, the crew and I run outside several times in short bursts, for exercise and potty time.
Bridget knows to do her business quickly. Reggie becomes a speed-pee-er, lifting one back leg while the other is in snow, quickly putting that leg down and then rapidly lifting the other. A clever two-sided delivery into the snow!
The three of us run to the door and the warmth of the BLT.
Late that afternoon the cold wind is gone and we enjoy a long walk on the main road.
In the evening I study my Nevada Benchmark maps because it’s time to leave.
Why don’t we stay longer and explore more of Ruby Valley?
In a word. . . gas. No, not that kind of gas. The kind that runs the PTV.
With less than half a tank, I have to conserve gas in order for us to have enough to return to civilization.
I figure we have enough to tow the BLT around the southern end of the Ruby Mountains and make our way north to Elko.
Let’s see . . . We’ll follow the Pony Express Trail through Overland Pass at 6,790 feet. That shouldn’t be too difficult. . . Oh, what’s this? Wild Horse Territory? Gee, I’d love to see wild horses . . . .
Thursday, April 16
A cloudless, calm, warm day. I hitch up the BLT and secure the interior.
“Okay, crew! We’re off to our next camp!”
A gentle, winding climb takes us to the other side of the mountains. I scan the hillsides for any sign of wild horses.
Gosh, it would’ve been so great to see them . . .
Now that we’re in Huntington Valley the dirt road swells up and down over low foothills. We cruise over a rise and . . .
There they are!
The herd continues grazing, while this one watches me intently (below).
We leave wild horse territory. A fence appears along the road. We must be coming to a ranch.
“Oh, more horses!”
I assume they’re wild — free range, at least — and are down from the mountains, finding new forage.
The only vehicle I’ve seen since breaking camp this morning approaches from behind us, grabbing the attention of the horses.
One of the horses is speckled with what appears to be caked-on, white mud.
The pronghorn in the next photo is so far away that it looks like a speck with two points on top. In fact, I’m not sure it’s an animal until I zoom in for this photo.
“What’s that all about?”
The fluid line of reddish brown in the grey-green sage becomes clearer . . .
To be continued . . .
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