Lamoille Canyon

NPR plays on the radio as we drive to our next destination, over two hours away. But two hours is nothing now. Mountain ranges slide in and out of view. Fields dotted with cows come into focus and then disappear behind us. Every so often a pickup truck passes our little rental car through the mountains. It is peaceful here. Time slows down. We slow down. There is no rush because why bother? You’ll get there.

There is a rugged beauty here, a sense, a feeling. It is the last wild land in the United States. It is cowboy country. It isn’t a place that time forgot, but also isn’t a place dictated by the times. In this crazy world, northern Nevada feels like the only constant.

Getting There

We are in northern Nevada looking at land for a possible house. The best way to get to northern Nevada is the fly into Salt Lake City and rent a car.

Sleeping and Eating

Casinos and truck stops announce the upcoming towns on billboards. Small motels fill every town and finding one to stay at is easy. We had no reservation; we just rolled up. Everything here is quaint in a why bother kind of way. Why bother with a new electronic key when the old-fashioned kinds work just as well? The motels still have ironing boards, but unfortunately no bathroom phones.

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Like in the movies.

I was worried about food because I’m a vegan but I was pleasantly surprised. Along with things like Rocky Mountain Oysters, which I have been told are some kind of testicles, and something called the Pork Platter, there were veggie burgers. The local Mexican restaurant even had a vegetarian section.

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Lamoille Canyon

Between looking at properties, my dad and I decided to take in the sights. Lamoille Canyon is easy to find because there are signs everywhere. Just drive south through Elko and Spring Creek and you’ll basically run into it.

Lamoille Canyon is a scenic drive. It starts at a picnic area with a little creek and some bathrooms. The bathrooms were closed because apparently everything is closed when we show up.

It reminds me of Zion National Park in how you drive into the canyon and there are scenic overlooks. We decided to get out at the second scenic overlook and hike down to the river. It was tricky going and I slid down on my butt most of the way. I lost my phone on the way back up but found it easily enough.

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On the way down to the river.

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The stones on the riverbank were gorgeous, all tumbled smooth and shining with flecks of mica. White, pink, purple, light grey, all stunning. I collected as many as I could fit in my pockets and then had to hike with them back up the hill.

Then we just drove. We got out to take pictures but we were really struggling with the altitude difference and exercise was excruciating.

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There was a campsite and what looked to be some kind of ranger station at the end of a twisty road. I could camp here.

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Formed by a glacier. See the tiny building at the bottom?

After driving for a while we thought we should just turn around since you have to go back the way you came to get out. I’m glad we went to the end. If you go, definitely go to the end.

The canyon opened up and we were treated to snow capped mountains and a river.

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There was a big parking lot at the end with a bathroom and even a station to write down how many fish you caught. We got out and used rocks to jump across the river at its narrowest point.

And we played in the dirt, threw rocks in the river, ate snow. I felt like I was Norman Rockwell as a boy.

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Lamoille Canyon doesn’t have activities or wild scenery like some other places. But I could see myself spending the zombie apocalypse here.

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