Wide Open

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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.
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Odyssey of a Ghost Town Explorer Part 11

Oily indigo smoke billowed from a circular opening in the top of a strange beehive shrine, marking the near completion of a process as foreign as the 1800s Nevada frontier had ever seen. Weeks prior, cords of juniper and pinyon were lain into the rocky tomb, set ablaze, and cooked in the oxygen-starved environment, as observant eyes kept watch of the smoke, and attentive hands operated a series of flues. At first, the smoke burned white, then yellow for a couple days, then dark blue, marking the completion of the process. An uninformed Nevada frontiersman who witnessed these makeshift mausoleums may have attributed the colossal bulbous structures to the occult, maybe even gone as far as to believe they were a portal to the underworld.
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Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge

In a remote corner of southern Nevada, groves of ash and mesquite trees shelter spring-fed pools of warm, crystal-clear water that are a boon for native wildlife, some of which are rare and found nowhere else on Earth. This unexpected fertile patch—Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge—is where the desert springs to life.
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Embrace the Darkness

As the sun sets and light slowly fades from the sky, stars begin to appear and the dark side of Nevada shows itself. Long known for remote and beautiful landscapes, Nevada is now being recognized for its exceptionally dark skies. In March, the International Dark Sky Association designated the Massacre Rim Wilderness Study Area (WSA) in northern Washoe County as an International Dark Sky Sanctuary, only the fourth location in the country to achieve this status and the seventh in the entire world.
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Odyssey of a Ghost Town Explorer: Part 10

It’s May 21 when I start my ghost town adventure, which means its springtime in Nevada. The birds should be chirping, flowers should be in full bloom, and the sun should be smiling down upon the Silver State. Hotel Nevada in Ely is my ghost town base camp for the trip, and as I open my eyes and peer outside…it’s absolutely dumping snow. I feel like a kid on Christmas morning…only the opposite. I asked Santa for a mountain of presents and a trove of dry roads and easily accessible ghost towns, and I’m greeted with a mountain of coal that I know means soupy mud roads and malicious mountain passes. But, considering I don’t have a choice, I set off into the great and mysterious unknown.
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Odyssey of a Ghost Town Explorer: Part 9

Just around suppertime on July 11, 1912, housewives prepared meals, miners clocked in and out, and children played in the streets of the northwest Nevada mining camp of Mazuma. The town rested at the mouth of Seven Troughs Canyon, just below the mining camp of the same name, and on that day, everything seemed normal in this little slab of sagebrush, save for an unusually colossal gathering of somber thunderclouds that hovered just up the canyon. Then, amid thunderous roars and cloudburst, a biblical tsunami rained down upon the canyon as if Heaven’s bathtub had swiftly cracked in two.
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Springtime in Nevada is for the Birds

Nevada’s vast and diverse landscape holds many secrets, not the least of which is its popularity with birds. Our feathered friends are not only populous in numbers, they are increasingly popular as evidenced by the rising use of “birding” and “birders,” two words that do not appear in the dictionary, but are proof of this ever-growing hobby.
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Odyssey of a Ghost Town Explorer: Part 8

More than 100 years ago, southern Nevada pioneers and prospectors spent every day surviving on the razor-edge of death. Mucking, sweating, and blasting in sweltering summers and stinging winters. They moved earth as they dug their dwellings into the sides of mountains, sleeping in ramshackle huts made of rock and wood. They tossed fire and brimstone over their shoulders with shovels and pickaxes as they sought to manifest their destiny. They took up arms against Mother Nature, who tried her hardest each and every day to convince them that living there wasn’t worth it, but they only thumbed their noses and kept digging.
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Odyssey of a Ghost Town Explorer: Part 7

Ghost towns by their very nature are plagued by hardships. They exist because something didn’t work out the way people had hoped. They exist because obsessions of riches and grandeur faded to sometimes sickening realizations that precious time may have been wasted; wrong choices were made. They exist because of broken dreams.
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Cowboy Fast Draw

SHOOTING FROM THE HIP Cowboy Fast Draw Association brings back the romance of the Wild West. BY ANNIE FLANZRAICH In a wooden barn on the outskirts of Fernley, a red-haired woman stands patiently, sizing up her target. She leans back, and settles her weight into her lower body. Her right hand rests lightly on the […]
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Take a Walk on the Wild Side

Camel Safari offers a truly exotic adventure. STORY BY MEGG MUELLER In a corner of the harsh desert landscape some 75 miles northeast of Las Vegas, a camel, armadillo, porcupine, and llama walk into a yard. If you’re waiting for the punch line, you might want to go hang out with the sloth, because there […]