©Bert Gildart: Highways from Winnemucca, Nevada, north to Bend, Oregon, pass through the nation’s loneliest lands. Highway 50 through Nevada used to hold that distinction, and Janie and I have covered that story for several magazines — and, OK – we did find it to be lonely. But we now contend that once you turn north onto Nevada’s Highway 95, see a sign or two that says next gas 100 miles, that you are now entering the nation’s loneliest country.
At Orovada, Nevada, population perhaps 20, we did find a post office, and mailed a package. After that the road passes a sign that says Paiute and Shoshone Tribes and then Highway 95 enters Oregon. Perhaps every 15 minutes we saw a single car, then, we begin negotiating high mountain passes: Blue Mountain Pass, 5293; Riddle Mountain, 6352 elevation; and, Sagehen Summit, 4,699. And for a long period of time we did not see a single vehicle or any sign of human life.
Somewhere along the drive we passed the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, where we saw various species of birds, but still little evidence of people. Finally, as we approached Burns, Oregon, we saw a few cows, and then, finally, several small ranch houses.
We concluded that in winter this must be an intensely hostile environment, and perhaps that is the reason it was so lonely.
L to R: Lake Powell and our Airstream at a grey- and black-water dump. Could this be the most beautiful dump site in the NPS? Don, Nancy, Janie and me, departing Lake Powell. For us, a most delightful series of winter travel are winding down.
Whatever, after almost 2-1/2 days of driving from Lake Powell we began seeing mountains comprising portions of the Cascades and the incredible Three Peaks Wilderness Area, which backdrops Bend, Oregon, host town this year for the Northwest Outdoor Writer’s Association of America.
We’ll be here for almost a week and expect we’ll learn much from the various seminars. As well, I’ll be attending business meetings and will discover whether I enjoy the partial limelight as a member of the organization’s Board of Directors. Usually, I shy away from such positions and suspect the organization must have been desperate.
THREE YEARS AGO:
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