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Ruby Crest Trail

The Ruby Mountains—one of Nevada’s most precious gems—evoke a sense of discovering some elegant treasure. It’s like walking though a field of sagebrush and stumbling upon a shimmer of color peeking up from the dull dirt—a glimpse of something that begs to be studied. Just as someone might study a gem’s unique characteristics, the Ruby Mountains provide countless opportunities to get a closer look and a deeper understanding.
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High-Flying Wayfinding

Imagine that you are the pilot of an open-cockpit biplane, flying from Reno to Elko with 300 pounds of mail. It is night in 1926 and you are relying on a recently installed innovation on the ground to keep on course over Nevada’s deserts and mountains. You have a strip map and compass and a railroad to follow in daylight. But at night these are useless. Instead of having the navigation equipment and air traffic control that keeps planes on course today, you follow a newly constructed route marked by orange concrete arrows embedded in the ground, each about 50 feet long and lit by beacons powered by acetylene gas or electricity.
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Rocks and Minerals in the Silver State

Almost three-quarters of the Earth is covered by water, some 71 percent. For anyone who has looked upon the vistas and mountain ranges of the Nevada landscape, that can be a mind-boggling thought. Our arid nature comes at a cost sometimes, but boy, that land provides wealth that goes way past bank accounts. Getting down—and maybe dirty—in the hills of our state is one of the easiest, least expensive, and most rewarding pastimes you’ll ever find.
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Ghostly Social Distancing, Nevada Style

I decided 2020 would be my year of travel with multiple, domestic and international trips. My first planned trip was the week of the shutdown but instead of having my plans derailed, I decided it was time to renew my interest in Nevada history. It was still the year of travel, but 2020 was not as I had planned. Instead, every week I visited ghost towns, mining camps, emigrant trails, and Pony Express stations. I met wonderful friends, became an off-road Jeeper, and learned about history and myself. My third-generation Nevada husband is amazed by the locations I discover, many unknown to him. I feel like a teenager without the curfew and have had an amazing time exploring our beautiful state.
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Getting Away from It All

Traffic jams, smog, lines, crowds, the DMV, cellphones, deadlines, alarm clocks…when will it all stop?  It stops when you say it stops. Through the chaos of everyday life that many of us experience, serenity never ceases to whisper in our ear. In fact, when dealing with life’s sometimes-less-than-ideal aspects mentioned above, nature’s constant calling may increase in volume to a violent roar, signaling the time to retreat to the state’s rural recesses for some rest, relaxation, recreation, and recuperation.
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Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge

East of the crest of Nevada’s Ruby Mountains lies the immense Ruby Valley, a pastoral expanse of quiet and prosperous ranch land. The dirt Ruby Valley Road follows the western edge of this high desert valley for 35 miles, before finally arriving at an oasis: A huge wetland of marshes, shallow lakes, and drainage ponds that encompasses the Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge, the most remote wildlife refuge in the continental U.S.   
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Soaking in the Scenery

What do majestic natural hot springs, vast desert regions, and endless skies unencumbered by buildings have in common? They can all be found in the breathtaking state of Nevada, for one. This magical territory offers countless experiences unlike anywhere else in the world and can lead adventurers to places they never expected.
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Singing Sands

Screaming. Roaring. Whistling. Squeaking. Singing. All can be used to describe the sounds of Sand Mountain’s sands. I travel to experience this puzzling, impressive, natural phenomenon, some 30 miles east of Fallon, along Highway 50, where the expansive mountain is located.
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Take the Road Less Traveled

“I go down every road there is, just to see what’s around the bend.” –From “Around the Bend”  by blues guitarist Joe Bonamassa “Take the road less traveled” is a familiar slogan, but I doubt that it fits anywhere better than the state of Nevada. It could easily be said that “real Nevada starts where the pavement ends.” With thousands of backcountry roads to explore, Nevada travelers could easily never stop searching to find out what spectacular sight is waiting around the bend.
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Cycle Nevada

My friend Adam Stone and I finished the 13-mile, 2,500-foot climb to Virginia City just after 7 p.m. It was the biggest hill I had ever ridden, and my bike was loaded with camping gear, food, and supplies for a six-day trip. I had feared not making it up Geiger Grade at all, but now, heading for our campsite outside the former boomtown, I was cautiously optimistic I could ride all the way across Nevada.
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Need to Get Away?

Nevada’s parks ebb and flow with the seasons and the water they receive, and it means they grow and change so one visit is never enough. There is no better reason to explore than just because the parks offer a chance to get outside, get away from it all, and discover your wildest dreams.
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Michael Branch: For the love of the Great Basin

Most of Nevada is part of the Great Basin Desert—a massive, dry expanse of parallel mountain ranges and deep valleys covered in sagebrush, where you can drive miles without seeing much in the way of humanity. While some look at the vast desert as mileage that needs to be covered before reaching a destination, author and University of Nevada, Reno English Professor Michael Branch looks at what others consider nothingness as a place of complicated beauty that is waiting to be explored on foot. Branch has penned three books that chronicle the joys—and hilarious challenges—of his life living on the edge of the dry Nevada wilderness.
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Alien Outback

On my frequent trips between northern and southern Nevada, I have a lot of time to look at the landscape. As I pass close to Area 51, I keep a keen eye out for alien or unusual phenomena. 
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Nevada Cowboys Ride Onto the Big Screen

New movie takes an authentic, in-depth look at the working-ranch lifestyle. BY JOLYN YOUNG A cowboy trots briskly across an expansive meadow, riding toward an unknown destination. He is a solitary figure in a black hat and brown chaps, accompanied only by his horse. The meadow they quickly cover provides feed for the ranch’s cattle […]
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Odyssey of a Ghost Town Explorer part 12

I’ve spent nearly 300 hours in the car and used 700 gallons of gas to seek out more than 70 ghost towns. I’ve drank 36 cups of coffee, eaten 36 breakfast burritos, and spent 36 days on the road. I’ve encountered at least 3 flat tires, and many more migraines as a result. I’ve explored ghost towns in weather that fell well below 32 degrees, and well above 105. I’ve written roughly 26,500 words about these places in 12 different issues of Nevada Magazine, equating to about 2.2 words per mile. I’ve seen thousands of deer, hundreds of antelope, dozens of elk, and a couple trout. I’ve seen billions of sagebrush and stars. I’ve gazed across infinite miles of this great state; God’s own country.
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Three Hikes in Red Rock

The Red Rock National Conservation Area sits on the west side of Las Vegas, just 14 miles from The Strip. A combination of wind and water over millions of years have shaped unique sandstone and limestone formations that provide recreation and memories. With 26 trails to choose from, Red Rock Canyon gives Vegas hikers of all ages a place to get outside. While not yet familiar with all of the trails, there are three that make me forget I live in the middle of Sin City.