You know how in the theater world some shows start with an overture? It kicks things off, acting as a transition from real world to the story… prepping us for what’s to come. It dawned on me as we drove into Great Basin National Park from Hwy 50, the ‘loneliest highway in America’, that this road is a bit of an overture itself.
It’s a bit disconcerting actually, especially once it hits that you’ve been driving a very long time without seeing any sort of structure, car, or any other sign of civilization. Though if you had any confusion why Great Basin National Park is one of the lesser traveled parks in the US, the long remote drive will clear that up for you.
It’s also pretty exciting, driving through the middle of nowhere. It sets the mood, making it feel like an actual ‘legit’ sort of adventure, the type we wanderlusters seek and crave yet have a hard time truly finding. Until moments like this when we do.
If the road doesn’t give it away, you’ll know you’re in a ‘different’ sort of national park as you roll in and notice what’s not there. No welcome gate. No rangers in a tiny guard station in the middle of the road there to hand you a map. No entrance fees. This park, in all its remote glory, is free.
In the video above we give you a look at a few of the things we did during our incredible visit to Great Basin National Park, so I hope you’ll go take a look. There are loads of things to do in this expansive and diverse setting.
Although the cave tour seems to be the most popular thing to do, it isn’t the cave that makes a journey to Great Basin an epic trip of a lifetime.
It isn’t even the 4,000-year-and-older bristlecone pines, in all their gnarled and weathered magnificence— and the wondrous moment when you realize you’re touching one of the oldest living things in the world.
Nor is it the opportunity to get up close and personal with Nevada’s one and only glacier, while it still exists.
What makes the journey to Great Basin special is the experience of going somewhere so enchantingly isolated. The park sneaks under the ‘tourist radar’, leaving it unspoiled in a way we’ve not felt in other parks we’ve visited. We talk about Great Basin being “lonely” in the video a lot, but don’t misinterpret that. It’s a welcome sort of lonely. A sort of lonely we all crave and need sometimes.
For James and me, with our very social, chaotic, and event-filled lives, there was something rejuvenating about our time in Great Basin National Park; a rare and wonderful experience that only comes from being in a place so empty of other souls.
So, next time you really need to “get away from it all”, remember Great Basin. And since I’m already longing for our return visit myself, who knows… perhaps we’ll see you there.
xo, Stef (and James and Mel!)