Wide Open

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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 […]
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Tonopah Historic Mining Park

Tonopah BY ERIC CACHINERO In the days of old, miners seldom just stumbled upon massive silver strikes. That’s because silver ore doesn’t exactly look like the shimmering, polished metal found in wedding bands and werewolf bullets. Silver ore is oftentimes an amalgamation of many different types of minerals, and usually requires an assay to determine […]
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Ely Air Races

The World’s Fastest Motorsport Comes Ely Eastern Nevada town launches first new air races in the West in 34 years. BY MEGG MUELLER When you have around 4,000 people in your town and you consider putting on a show, you might not endeavor to be the biggest. But there needs to be that special something […]
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Gold Butte National Monument

There’s a spot in Gold Butte National Monument where if you stretch your arms out wide, reaching your fingertips to their furthest extent, it seems as if you can almost touch Lake Mead and the Grand Canyon at the same time. It’s the southern apex of a landscape that encompasses the wealth of southern Nevada’s beauty and its arid, teeming desert.
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Infinity Highway Opens

Infinity Highway Opens USA Parkway links two major highways and opens a chapter of Nevada history. BY DALE BEESMER In 1928, some $9,000 in cash, $8,000 in gold, and $20,000 in bonds and traveler checks were robbed from a bank in Virginia City. The two thieves fled east and down the Clark Road toward the […]
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Carson City Daytrip

Day Trippin’ in the Carson Valley One day in a place where a year isn’t enough. BY MEGG MUELLER Winter vacations in northern Nevada often consist of 1) go to Lake Tahoe to ski, and 2) take in a show and toss some dice in Reno. That’s fun, but now what? Just south of Nevada’s […]
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A Rugged Sense of Open Space

Picture a uniquely diverse landscape spread out across 1.6 million acres. There’s little water, few defined trails, and even fewer roads, but so much to explore. It’s as close as 25 miles from Downtown Las Vegas, yet seemingly far away from the city lights and crowds. If you want to experience “a rugged sense of open space,” the Desert National Wildlife Refuge may be for you.