In Pursuit of Wildness: Great Basin National Park

In Pursuit of Wildness: Great Basin National Park
“On the path that leads to Nowhere I have sometimes found my soul.”  

Rarely do I ride 1,800 miles just because a stranger suggests an awesome ride, but I had just met a fellow rider, Scott, in Springerville, AZ, and he was already persuading me to take a ride near his home in Utah. He called it the Nebo Loop, but it’s also known as the Mount Nebo Scenic Byway. It’s near Spanish Fork, UT. I had never heard of it.

Honestly, I thought I’d never see him again, but fate has its own ways of correcting our misjudgments. So, 900 miles later, I was looking for Scott’s Fly Shoppe, where we had agreed to meet. Scott is a professional fly fisherman and is known for his quality, hand-tied flies. It was a treat to follow him as our motorcycles climbed higher into the surrounding mountains.

Toward the end of our mountain ride, we stopped for our final pictures and farewells. He pulled out a map and led me west. “On your way back to California, travel on US 50 along America’s loneliest highway and camp at Great Basin National Park [in Nevada],” he said. And with his fading words, this story begins.

Miles From Nowhere

I stop for fuel early, not knowing how far the next gas station is along this sparsely traveled road between Lynndyl and Delta, UT. I’m sleepy, so I buy a cup of coffee at the gas station. “I’m heading for Great Basin National Park,” I tell the woman behind the counter. “Can you tell me how many more miles?” She replies instantly: “I don’t know. There is nothing out that way anyway.” What she describes as “nothing” is low-level desert along sage-covered foothills that touch the mountains with patches of snow. I don’t see many cars on this road, but I feel so connected to nature.