Continued from Best Outdoor Adventures in America: Part 4
|The Loneliest Highway in America|
Central Nevada... no-man's land and the home of "America's Loneliest Highway". Before the creation of the Interstate Highway System, Highway 50 was one of the main corridors that allowed for cross-country traffic. A full tour of the country can be done on Route 50 and you will see very few major cities. The route starts in the uninspiring capital of Maryland and ends in my humble hometown of Sacramento, California. By far the highlight of this highway is its route through Nevada! Traveling from Lake Tahoe to Baker, Nevada will give you new appreciation for the Great Basin.
First of all, you will see an endless number of mountain ranges. One moment you'll be driving at nearly 10,000ft through snowy slopes and the next you'll be at the bottom of a desert basin. The few towns that exist on the route also have a distinctive and legitimate "western" feel to them- its still a frontier of America. If you're daring enough, you can even wander through Great Basin National Park which is the most wild and isolated park in the lower 48 (other than the North Cascades). Last of all, if you get a Highway 50 Passport and get it stamped at every town, the Governor of Nevada will send you a signed "I survived Highway 50" Certificate! Hokey? Maybe. Awesome? Absolutely!
Getting My Kicks on Route 50
Local Website on Route 50 Roadtripping
|Summit of Elbert|
Its no small task or accomplishment to climb the highest mountain in the second longest mountain range in the World. Yet, its not as hard as you would think! Although this picture above might say differently, on a pleasant summer day, one can hike to the roof of the Rockies in 11.2 miles from the South Elbert Trail. It is a nice hike too- you can wander though alpine fields which abound with flowers in the spring. Of course climbing Mt Elbert has become a mountaineering pursuit as well- winter ascents are common and somewhat dangerous. However if you are just looking to bag a 14er, this is a relatively easy one compared to some of Colorado's more difficult mountains!
|Unfortunately I have no photos of a nice day on Elbert!|
Spring/Winter-ish Ascent of Mt Elbert
|Another Sierra Nevada Mountain Biking Destination|
Downieville California is quickly becoming the Moab of California. Its a mountain biking destination for hard-core single-track searchers with hundreds of miles of trails. For the competitive mountain biker, the Downieville Downhill Race has become perhaps the Kentucky Derby of the sport. No joke, this is a World Wide destination for mountain bikers. Yet, Downieville remains a town of less than 300 people and retains its great history of being a gold rush town. Of course, adrenaline is the new rush of this place! Local residents are very kind to the mountain biking crowd so preserve our reputation by being cordial and clean!
|Single Tracks through the Pine Forests|
|Mt Lafayette, New Hampshire|
#24 Bag New England’s 50 Finest
Here's another great peak list to try and accomplish. You may have heard about New England's 4,000 Footers and this list has many similar mountains. The difference is, you can't bag many of these in the same day- this list involves more topographically isolated mountains which are less accessible (therefore more adventurous!). Other than simply another list to keep you occupied, it is one that will really get you exploring the parts of New England that are more wild and less touristed.
|Mt Baldpate in Western Maine|
Trip Reports Covering New England's 50 Finest
Unofficial Website of the 50 Finest
|Lava Tubes in Northern California|
#25 Go Spelunking in the Lava Beds, California
Northern California's Lava Beds National Monument has been a topic of discussion many times on this blog. I still believe it is one of the best and most unknown adventure destinations in America. There are perhaps 20 marked caves in the park of all sorts of technicality. Everything from easy, well-lit caves to real spelunking adventures exist in this park. The park is a great place to visit even for non-cavers. In the winter it is easy to spot bald eagles, golden eagles and all sorts of birds-of-prey in addition to other desert wildlife. The park is also stepped in Native American History as it was a major battlefield in the Modoc Indian Wars. Whatever your preferences are in a National Park, this one will suit all.
|Lava Beds National Monument|
Well I'm sure that's enough to keep you busy for a while!
Read. Plan. Get Out There!