With the '55 fixed, we were off to a late start. Fortunately, Stevens Camp Road was smooth, allowing us to travel at a much higher rate of speed when compared to the previous day. Eighty miles separated us from Gerlach, along with scores of hot springs and historical sites. It is easy to lose track of time in the vast expanse of the Black Rock. We continued on to the little town of Vya, where Maloney and family bid us farewell and split off to return to Sacramento. The rest of the group continued back towards Gerlach, leaving enough room between vehicles for the dust to settle.
Shawn Waymire owns an FJ60, but he decided to leave his "wagon" at home and drive his FJ40
Double Hot Springs: That water sure is clear! Few organisms can live in its 200-degree wat
We have seen the pinnacle of absurdity. This petri-fied tree is fully enclosed in chain li
We stopped for lunch at the George W. Lund Petrified Forest, home of one of the most tragic sites we have ever witnessed: A petrified tree completely encased in a chain-link cage. While we would regret to see anyone steal the tree, surrounding it with metal certainly takes away from the splendor. Road conditions improved again after the petrified prison, allowing the group to further quicken the pace. Soon we were passing Fly Geyser on our way back in to Gerlach.
The ritual of topping off fuel tanks was once again practiced, and most of the group continued on Route 447 back to Reno. Since the author had missed out on the festivities at Smoke Creek on Friday night, he chose to take the road less traveled, heading down dirt roads past Smoke Creek and over Sand Pass along the west side of Pyramid Lake. Suddenly, time had restarted as quickly as it seemed to stop, and our adventure was over. Rising temperatures have forced us to wait until the autumn in order to return to the Black Rock Desert in comfort. Rest assured that when the aspens change color, we will be there to witness them.
Where: Black Rock Desert, Nevada
Getting There: From Reno, east on I-80 to exit 43. Head north to Gerlach on NV-447. From Gerlach, take Route 34 north to the playa.
Vehicle Requirements: High-clearance 4WD, little concern for scratching your paint.
Camping: Camping with water and toilets is available at Steven's Camp and Soldier Meadows. Unimproved camping is available in a variety of locations (without any facilities).
Seasons And Weather: Temperatures in the summer can reach 120 degrees and drop by as much as 40 degrees at night. Dressing in layers and drinking plenty of water are key. Winter temperatures are more comfortable with highs in the 70s, however, precipitation can make the playa impassible. Spring and fall are the best seasons to visit, but High Rock Canyon is closed from February until May for raptor breeding.
Supplies And Fuel: Fuel and limited supplies are available in Empire and Gerlach.
Permits: Campfire permits are free of charge, and may be obtained from the Bureau of Land Management. The nearest field office is located in Cedarville.
Information: Bureau of Land Management: www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/surprise/highrock.html
Friends of the Black Rock: www.blackrockfriends.org
Trails West: www.emigranttrailswest.com